Friday, September 26, 2008

Do You List or Advertise

On a number of occasions I have had discussions with my peers, vendors, and colleagues in regards to what is considered an advertisement. In my industry a majority of marketing dollars are spent on "listings". "Listings," by my definition, are marketing dollars spent to post your product or company on a website, guide, or book that puts you right along side your competition. A "listing" also provides essentially the same information and format to display your information as your competitors. I do not consider "listings" advertising or advertisements. They are a necessary evil that unfortunately eat up a majority of my marketing budget in the apartment industry. Advertisements in my opinion are a marketing choice that allows your company or product to be creative, develop a brand, or have unique placement.

I feel in my industry we have allowed the "listing" companies to disguise themselves as advertisements and we pay too high of premiums to utilize these glorified yellowpage ads. And it doesn't seem to stop. A new online "listing" service comes on board all the time. As an industry why do we accept this? How do these listings help to separate you from your competition? All these listing services do is treat our communities and apartments as a commodity. We're not commodities, and we need to stop marketing like we are.

Develop great websites for your properties/companies, blog about them, provide outstanding customer service, build unique and distinctive communities/products/services, find your branding niche and exploit it, don't settle for listings as your main form of marketing. Everyone's in the yellowpages, but your company message needs to be more than just a phone number as that's what everyone else is doing. Dare to be different! Listing are a necessary evil while advertisements are a marketing choice.
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