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Driving digital differentiation in real estate

November 10, 2021
  • Insights

Today we live in a world that is more digital than ever before, everything we need is seamlessly available right at our fingertips. Industries are now leveraging various technologies to increase their efficiency and with that comes a wide array of buzzwords floating around. We constantly are hearing or reading things such as: automation, AI, data-driven, and machine learning. The question is, what do these terms really mean and how can the real estate industry be revolutionised by such technologies?

Essentially the term automation refers to machines doing things humans would typically do, only more efficiently, and is conceptually separate from Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is an encompassing term that covers the enablement of machines to perform tasks commonly associated with human or human-like intelligence; while machine learning refers to a particular type of AI that is capable of inference without being explicitly told how to do so by finding a signal in data. These can all play important roles in changing the real estate industry. Arguably, these tools have the power to improve two things we constantly crave more of: time and money.

Utilizing Automation & AI

Time is one of the most valuable resources we have, at the end of the day there is no bank of time we can go to for more. We are all given the same amount of time daily, and how we use that time is crucial- especially in real estate. The real estate world operates so heavily on timelines: deal timelines, closing timelines, project timelines, etc. We all have heard the expression “time kills all deals”, so it makes sense that the real estate industry needs to begin leveraging technology to identify buyers before they are buyers; essentially manipulating time to increase ROIs.

Property portals today are widely used, which are useful for reaching buyers that are actively looking. How do we reach buyers not actively looking though? The simple answer is to implement data-driven marketing technology. When utilizing automation and AI tech in marketing, we are able to reach the buyers before they even know they are buyers. Though it may seem more complex than the simple answer provided, Marketer has a platform that has shown to do exactly this. By using automation and AI, we are able to create relevant messages for specific target audiences, leading to a higher selling price. Our scientific study, the Marketer Effect, based on more than 53.000 second-hand home transactions over 3 years, shows that the ROI can be between 3X and 13X. Modern technology allows us to reach more buyers than ever before and in a more efficient way.

Furthermore, with automation and AI, there is the potential to create a model that enables the buyers to truly envision themselves in the property. There is an emphasis on internal factors of a property such as number of rooms, layout, size, and price. Though these are important factors to take into account, these aren't the only attributes that trigger potential buyers. AI techniques give us the ability to automate the attractiveness scoring and determine expected value, using key attributes such as the amount of sunlight, noise levels, views, and privacy. Using automation we are able to create 3D-modeling of the environment surrounding a property; allowing the buyer to envision how the kitchen will be lit by the sun on a Saturday morning. Since the buying process is emotional, marketing should create an emotional response from the buyers.

Competitive advantages of technology in marketing

The real estate industry is one of the most competitive industries, as records continue to be broken and standards are raised. Due to the competitive nature of the industry, it’s crucial in a digitally-driven world that companies have a competitive edge; if not they risk their competitor taking business. So how will tech enable companies within the real estate industry to gain a competitive advantage?

Since the pandemic, the real estate industry has seen an increase in online customer journeys. This increase suggests there will be a substantial need for e-commerce type end-to-end solutions. These solutions will power deeper insights to improve how machine learning and AI algorithms make informed decisions, thus tailoring the customer experience more.

An increase in online customer journeys also means the demand for greater customer experiences. Today traditional digital marketing is not adequate alone; the messages must also be stirring, captivating, and meaningful. As mentioned, the buying process is emotional, therefore to be competitive you have to strike a chord with viewers. Using natural language processing and image AI, we are able to extract and regenerate information, which can be used in targeting viewers with an extremely precise and relevant message. These techniques could allow us to select the relevant images and text for a specific audience. For example: choosing an image of the beautiful garden, rather than the home gym, and matching it with text for the aspiring botanist or gardener.

When these techniques are used we gain the ability to ensure the buying experience feels personalized from start to finish. Using technology not only enables companies to gain a competitive edge, but also can potentially increase recurring buyers. Of course, not every buyer cares that there is a golf course nearby or that the property comes with a unique feature such as a sauna, but there are in fact buyers that do care about these attributes. Utilizing technology enables us to reach those buyers with relevant and specific messages, making the process feel so incredibly personal for each potential buyer and their interests.

Why implement data-driven marketing technology?

Until relatively recently, machine learning and AI were reserved for the elite within science and engineering. However, today these technologies are being used across multiple industries and applications to achieve a variety of objectives. Within the real estate industry, this technology has the ability to enable more intelligent and relevant connections between potential buyers and the seller. Utilizing technology, we are able to not only gain better control while saving time and money but also create a personalized customer journey.

By enabling automation and AI to take the guesswork out of marketing, companies allow themselves to have a better reach to potential buyers. Not only can automation and AI take the guesswork out of what works and what doesn’t, it can empower us to drive meaningful business and personalize the customer experience. Though technology isn’t going to actually increase the number of hours we have in a day, the intelligence of these systems can enable us to work more efficiently than we thought possible, and that is the power of technology.

Everyone at some point has probably thought to themselves “I wish I had more time and money”. As a society, we are constantly trying to “hack” life in order to have our daily lives be more productive. One can assume that the real estate industry is no exception to this, and technology can enable this industry to work more efficiently than ever before. It is no secret that the industry itself is slightly behind in terms of technology and digitalization, and there is no better time to change that than now.

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