What’s a Beme?

An interesting higher-level editorial piece in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, while not written with the real estate industry in mind, has some clear parallels –

Marketing 3.0 is now the science of devising and managing directed business memes: call them bemes. Bemes are sent by members of social communities to each other and typically contain a reward or exclusive offer, which, when redeemed, also results in a reward coupon for the sender.

Here’s the thing – more now than ever before, the brand that matters most to the real estate consumer is the value added by the individual Realtor, not the brand. (and I’ll bet I could back this up with statistics if I had the resources to pull off a survey)

Of particular note regarding the current fragmentation of the real estate listings universe – (bolding mine)

From silos to simultaneity. Too many retailers today persist in believing that online shopping is merely a virtual extension of real world shopping. That is a big mistake.

Rather, online and offline need to coexist, and we need to rethink how they relate. For example, to their surprise, companies like BestBuy (which even encourages customers to shop the aisles but buy online from in-store kiosks) and Macy’s are discovering that physical retailing is a perfect way to move units online. That is, the physical world has become the showroom for the virtual realm.

Retailers now must reimagine a world where consumers experience products in stores but ultimately buy them on the Web: Stores are for experiences, the network is for inventories. And what in turn prepares potential customers for what to look for in stores? Online communities.

All of this suggests that Marketing 3.0 is not only different from its predecessors, but actively undermines them. If your marketing program fails to adapt to this new world, it won’t just become irrelevant — it will actually work against you.

There are very few big brokerages* in the real estate world who are embracing this “new” media (hint: it’s not new anymore).

The way forward is relatively clear – but will/can the big box brokerages adapt before they become dinosaurs, much like the Big Three automakers hopefully will?

If you’re a broker, big or small, read this at Chris Brogan’s site

Today, we wonder how newspapers survive. Today, we wonder how the music industry will survive. Today, we wonder how GM and Ford and the rest of the US auto industry will survive. We worry about a lot of larger scale creations.

Tomorrow (and I mean the day after you read this), we already are equipped with the most robust and least expensive toolset for communications that the world has ever seen. We possess massive distribution networks for free. We are all Gutenberg. We are all Murdock. We are all available and ready.

Read more about silos and how the concept relates to MLS’ at Michael Wurzer’s FlexMLS blog, where he says, “NAR could create a non-profit that could be the ICANN for property IDs, and that would be valuable for tying together the efforts of those publishing real estate info on the web. Trying to cram everything into one silo is never going to happen.” (bolding mine)

*Better Homes and Gardens excepted

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