A Conversation with Lucinda Brasington Chief Operating Officer, ERA Wilder Realty, Columbia and Charleston, S.C.
Lucinda Brasington has worn many hats during her real estate management career, including that of Marketing Director. In her current role as Chief Operating Officer for ERA Wilder Realty, a 300-agent strong brokerage in Columbia and Charleston, S.C., she oversees, among many things, the company’s marketing efforts. She recently shared her insights about how to get the best out of your marketing director.
Realty Biz News: Is there any one thing that really stands out for you when thinking about how to maximize your marketing director’s efforts?
Lucinda Brasington: Provided that all stakeholders are clearly aligned on goals and plans with measurement, I think the best thing you can do is to give your marketing director the freedom to be creative, explore new ways of thinking and take calculated risks. We know traditional methods and what works, but being ahead of the curve on new innovations is a major point of differentiation for your firm, especially to reinforce your brokerage’s value and how agents can use it to benefit their business.
RBN: You talked about measurement. How important is that?
LB: Measurement has always been critical for marketing professionals. It tells us what’s working and what isn’t and allows us to make adjustments that boost our ROI. But the biggest “ah-ha moment” for us was when we started sharing marketing results with the entire company. Additionally, we provide our marketing content calendar each week, which includes future topics as well as metrics on the previous week’s content. In addition to promoting it via email, we also develop presentation slides for brokers to share at weekly sales meetings. Adopting this level of transparency and demonstrating exactly what we were doing to support our 300 agents significantly raises awareness about our work and appreciation for its results. It also drives higher agent engagement with our marketing efforts around agent recognition and promotion, which serves to enhance agent retention. Now, we can very easily answer the question, “What have you done for me lately?”
RBN: That’s a great tip: Don’t be afraid of transparency.
LB: Exactly. Market your marketing efforts. Similarly, your marketing director should not be afraid of failure. We learn from our mistakes, and we can adapt quickly. Nor should they be afraid to shift gears. For example, we just finished a mid-year review and identified what was working well and what wasn’t, and made decisions about how to reallocate efforts and dollars to improve our results.
RBN: What other qualities have you found in highly effective marketing directors?
LB: Today’s marketing landscape is very interconnected and many marketing professionals have multiple skills in a variety of disciplines. But apart from specific skill sets, an excellent marketing director will be able to handle the creative elements as well as the administrative and analysis components like follow-up, managing production schedules, calendarizing activities, and budgeting. Also important is the ability to handle input and not view it as criticism. In my experience, this combination of characteristics is ideal for a highly successful marketing director. When it comes to specific skill sets, it’s easy enough to sub out to freelancers or consultants for areas your core marketing team isn’t proficient in, for instance, design, search engine optimization, or videography. What’s important is that your marketing director can create connectivity with agents and the brokerage’s marketing support for the agents.
RBN: So it sounds like it’s important for a marketing director to be the face of the marketing effort.
LB: Absolutely. We’re a full-service brokerage, but our focus is not necessarily doing all the marketing for our agents but teaching them how to do it themselves. We take the time to sit down face to face with our agents to understand how they like to work, where they want to take their business, and identify the tools we have that will take them there. Then, we personally show them how to use those tools. It’s a significant differentiator, especially from discount brokerages who may offer marketing support, but it comes at an additional cost and is delivered through static how-to video tutorials.
RBN: That seems to be a growing trend among brokerages – dialing back marketing support.
LB: Yes, marketing is a significant commitment, but we firmly believe in a business model that includes comprehensive, cutting-edge marketing support for our agents. It has worked for us for many years, and we will ensure it continues to work for us and our agents for years to come.