According to the new Thought Leader Survey of the real estate industry's top executives conducted by Imprev, Marketing Automation is emerging as the hottest technology trend for real estate firms in 2016.
While nearly two-thirds of real estate brokerage and franchise leaders say their firms do not currently use Marketing Automation, nearly one in three (29%) plan to implement Marketing Automation in 2016. Explaining the momentum behind the trend, among firms that currently use Marketing Automation, more than half (56%) plan to increase their use of Marketing Automation next year.
As one survey respondent commented, "It is the future of the industry. The best use of an agent's time is being in front of the client. They can't do that if they are bogged down with marketing."
The new Thought Leader Survey, conducted by Imprev in June 2015, polled top executives at more than 200 leading real estate franchises and independent brokerages that as a group were responsible for more than one-third of all U.S. residential real estate transactions last year.
"The benefits of Marketing Automation are multi-tiered. The immediate and most obvious benefit is to agents, who can now spend more of their time focusing on their clients," said Renwick Congdon, CEO of Imprev, a leading real estate technology firm that specializes in Marketing Automation. "In addition, marketing professionals at brokerages and franchises can build powerful marketing campaigns to promote every listing the company represents - usually with much higher quality than the agent is capable of building by themselves." Congdon added, "Extending the company's reach through each individual agent's personal network multiplies the value for everyone."
The new Thought Leader Survey shows that the vast majority of real estate leaders (70%) define "Marketing Automation for real estate" primarily as a service to promote listings.
"Marketing Automation also solves one of the most vexing problems for broker-owners and franchise executives: Spending money on technology their agents don't use," Congdon adds. "By creating, deploying and updating marketing for every listing, independent of the agent, Marketing Automation makes that a moot point."
One surprising finding: Real estate leaders view Marketing Automation as a potentially important tool for recruiting new agents. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of top real estate executives ranked Marketing Automation as "valuable" to "extremely valuable," as an offering to recruit new agents.
Why isn't everyone already on the Marketing Automation bandwagon? The Imprev Thought Leader Survey found "Budgetary constraints" the number one reason top real estate executives have not implemented Marketing Automation (44%). Only 6% cited insufficient value to their businesses.
Other key Marketing Automation findings:
Top three benefits: Real estate executives expect Marketing Automation to help them in three ways: 1) Know their agents are staying in touch with past clients; 2) Know every listing is being fully marketed; and 3) Know which marketing efforts work and which do not.
Who should pay for Marketing Automation? Three-quarters (75%) of real estate executives said that the brokerage should make the investment in Marketing Automation. Most believe agents should also share the cost, with 58% of the respondents indicating that agents should invest in Marketing Automation.
Agents should still be able to tweak materials created by Marketing Automation: Top executives overwhelming still want their agents to be able to modify marketing content created by Marketing Automation: 95% said it was "important" to allow modifications by their agents.
Ages of top executives surveyed: 57% were 51 years of age or older; more than one in four were 61 years of age or older; fewer than 2% were 30 years old or younger.
Sex of top executives surveyed: 69% were male, 31% were female.
Number of agents managed by top executives surveyed: 75% manage offices with 500 agents or fewer; 25% manage an office with more than 500 agents.