West Orange Chamber of Commerce Facilitating Opportunity
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Tue, February 23, 2016

Common Marketing Mistakes of the Independent Agent

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Guest Column by Marc Jablon, Imagine That Promo

You are a proud independent agent. Perhaps you bought a franchise, or you were hired to work for one of the major brokerage firms, real estate agencies, or premier insurance companies. There are major benefits of being an independent agent for a big name firm such as Century 21 or State Farm. Regardless of your actual experience, you get to immediately tout the reputation of your firm; you receive tried and true training with the very best agents in the country, and you have immediate brand recognition courtesy of a multi-million dollar marketing budget.

That sounds great; but don’t forget that as an independent agent you pay for those benefits, so make sure you use them. You need to leverage the considerable resources that a large corporation has developed and avoid making the marketing mistakes below:

Marketing Mistake # 1 – Failure to use your company’s marketing resources.

Perhaps you think, I’m an independent agent, I’m responsible for marketing myself. Well, your company has already spent considerable resources on marketing. They have hired the top advertising agencies and produced great spots. USE THEM! If I was an independent Nationwide Agent, Peyton Manning would be all over my social media pages, mail outs, and other “company approved” advertisements. I would think, "Nationwide already spent the money to hire Peyton Manning, and now I’m going to take advantage of their resources to market my services".

Marketing Mistake # 2 – Using your few thousand dollar marketing budget to benefit other agents.

As mentioned above, the benefits of working for a major agency is that you get the backing of a multi-million dollar advertising campaign designed to increase the value of the corporate brand. However, the big mistake that many local agents make is that they supplement the corporate advertising budget with their own hard earned money. No big deal, right? Wrong! Let’s say you decided to sponsor a local golf tournament and hand out Century 21 promotional products. What are the chances your potential clients go home after a day of drinking on the course and visit Century21.com? What are the chances that they remember your name? Try this little exercise; Let's say you met Michael, the Century 21 Agent at a local golf tournament. Now enter your zip code on the corporate website. I entered mine and I came up with 311 agents, and 5 of them were named Michael. Do you want your marketing dollars to go to a 1 in 311 chance of receiving business? How about a 1 in 5?

Marketing Mistake # 3 – Failure to showcase your personal assets.

As an independent agent, I’m sure you were taught during training that ultimately it’s up to you to sell the company’s product or services and the client will ultimately buy because he or she likes or trusts you. Well considering personal like-ability and trust are major factors in your success, than you need to make sure your marketing budget goes towards showcasing your personal assets. This might mean spending more money on entertainment, social media exposure, and personal promotional products. I would recommend that you allow the company to spend its dollars on larger campaigns that promote corporate brand awareness, while you spend your resources on building your personal brand.

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