Seth Godin is a best-selling author of business books, and very smart guy. I subscribe to his daily blog (I have no idea how someone can churn out a piece of smartness every single day … it feels superhuman to me) and look forward to reading his bon mots each morning with my coffee.
Today, he wrote about how to think about buying a home, and he made some very interesting observations about marketing and branding. Observations that, if tackled seriously by the real estate development world, could go a long way towards correcting the financial difficulties of the people we serve.
He points out that the marketing forces encouraging us to buy a home, and to buy the most fabulous home we can possibly afford, are all around us, and are all-pervasive.
Our parents, friends, co-workers, employees all are part of the marketing machine.
So are the banks, the furniture stores, the real estate agents and the guys you play golf with once a week in the summer.
There is a perceptual bias ingrained in society that you are your home.
Your home is a very powerful self-branding tool. And it’s a kind of self-administered psychotherapy that makes you feel good or bad about who you are as a person, and your lot in life.
All told, that’s a lot of marketing influence pushing you toward buying the biggest and best place you can possibly afford.
In fact it pushes many of us toward buying more than we can afford.
Seth Godin’s blog urges caution. He points out that we, as consumers, shouldn’t let ourselves be influenced by this 360-degree marketing. Or that at least we should realize the forces at play, and make a decision accordingly.
Now if you’ve read my column before, you know that my philosophy regarding real estate marketing is very much the antidote to the problem Seth Godin is referring to.
My book, Sell The Truth, is about Marketing Journalism. I preach (yes, preach) that it’s the responsibility of good real estate developers to provide people with all the facts and rationale they require to make an informed and logical decision. A little magic is OK too (you can be smart and pretty) but a fact-based campaign is the only way to responsibly help people make the most important financial decision of their lives.
Society at large is doing a great job of pushing people towards irrationality. We, as real estate developers and marketers don’t need to encourage inappropriate purchases any further.
Let’s be the voice of reason, and help consumers choose our product for the right reasons. It will help people trust and respect our industry.
If we are successful in helping people make a smart move it will mean people are living in homes they love and that they can afford.
What an amazing thing we can do for society, and for ourselves.
Let’s sell fact, not fancy.
Read Seth Godin’s blog post about real estate here.
Download my book, Sell The Truth, about real estate development marketing here.