Mix Master

You may have been following Ian Grace on eliteagent.com, and in ‘the brief’ for the past few months. We continue his great series on real estate advertising with this next instalment about how to create the right mix across all mediums.

All too often, I see agents with totally different ads for the same property in different media and they don’t even look like each other. Either that or they are so ordinary, showing yet another front of a house, with nothing special about it for prospects to remember. In each case, it means that each ad has to start from scratch with the prospective audience or buyers, rather than having an accumulative effect to get the best results.

Once you understand how campaign advertising taps into your prospects’ conscious and subconscious minds to give your properties ‘top of mind awareness’, you will see how obvious and simple it is – and how amazingly powerful!

Reach, Frequency and OTS

Advertising experts talk about ‘reach and frequency’ aimed at as many ‘OTS’ (Opportunities to See) as possible, for the best possible outcome. Agents mostly just talk about ‘writing their ad’, usually in a rush to meet an advertising deadline or just to get the property on the Internet.

In other words, they would rather have a rushed, bad ad out there quickly than devote the time necessary to put together a powerful advertising campaign. If they did that, they would harvest the synergistic effect of getting all the media employed to work with and complement each other, rather than having them working in isolation.


Very simply, with any advertising campaign the media planner in an advertising agency – in this case, the agent – selects their media by establishing how many potential prospects the particular media they are using will reach.
The more specific the media the better, so an advertising agency looking to reach and influence doctors, for example, might advertise in the Medical Journal, knowing that this medium will reach the specific audience they are after.

For real estate, while the Internet is available to all, there are luxury property sites designed to attract those who have the buying power for those types of property.

Certain magazines are designed to reach only affluent readers or areas, so these are a good media choice for a high priced property. Agents are actually very fortunate, because there have always been specific real estate categories, for example in newspapers and magazines, or standalone media, unlike those available to most other products or services.

Frequency and OTS

A media planner will now gauge how many times (i.e. the frequency), the prospective buyer can see the same ad, the same message. A good campaign will reach as many of the right kind of prospects as many times as possible to give them the most ‘Opportunities To See’ (or OTS).

Why is this important? Research over the years shows us that people need to see the same ad, the same message, at least three times on average before they will react to it. That’s why a carefully planned campaign will give prospects the opportunity to see the same ad (and react to the same message) as many times as possible, even 10 times or more — to catch those at the top end of the average.

Media mix advertising campaign

This expression just means a mix of different media, working with each other to give people as many opportunities as possible to see a memorable, positive message that will remain in their minds.
When that message is identical across different media, each time the buyer sees it the brain remembers and immediately ties them together, giving a powerful accumulative effect to the advertising.accumulative effect to the advertising.

Example: you are sitting at home watching television and on comes a TV ad about a four-wheel drive vehicle or SUV. Now, if you can see the driver, you can pretty well guarantee it won’t be an 80-year-old! This is pretty straightforward: if the car manufacturer and their advertising agency have determined that their prime market is in the 38-year age group for example (that’s the who part of the advertising term ‘hoodoo’ explained earlier in the series), then they will go to the model agency and book a 38-year- old model, put them behind the wheel of a vehicle and away they go, driving on the beach, or rough terrain, enjoying themselves (that’s the do part of hoodoo).
Then the ad will be repeated time and time again. There’s your frequency.

Now, the next day when you are out driving your car, on comes a radio commercial which is the audio part of the TV commercial you’ve seen the night before. What will your brain do immediately? It will do an instant match and will immediately recall the TV ad from the night before, showing the 38-year-old model driving and enjoying the vehicle.
Then once again the ad will be repeated time and time again: more frequency.

Next, you pick up a newspaper, magazine or perhaps a flyer or direct mail. Guess what the main photograph will be? Yes, the main visual from the TV commercial which is already filed in the prospect’s brain. The minute you see the ad, your brain will bring up the TV commercial you have already seen. See how the media work together?

Can you identify with this example I’ve just related? I’m sure you can, as we see these media mix campaigns every day of our lives, selling us every imaginable product and service, whether it be cars, carpets or cornflakes.

Now think about this. If the ad in the newspaper or magazine showed the same vehicle with a front-on shot displaying the engine, instead of showing the visual from the TV special the night before, would that have worked? I’m sure your answer will be no; it just doesn’t make sense because there is no match for the brain to recognise.

Some might argue that the ad and photograph are still aimed at selling the same vehicle, although they may now be talking to a different audience that is more technically minded and interested in specifications. Sadly, however, this means that all the money invested in the TV and radio commercials has now gone straight down the drain because there is no match, and therefore no recall.
Agents have the greatest opportunity — the biggest media mix campaigns of all. Most professional campaigns selling us products or services on a day-to-day basis will normally have a mix of around three to four media maximum. But how many media do agents have at their disposal? Depending on which state or country you are in, let’s have a look at a potential list:
• As many as four different Internet sites
• Facebook Real Estate
• video
• 1 database e-mail
• 1 flyer
• 1 newspaper ad
• 1 real estate magazine
• 1 window display
• 1 photo signboard
• 1 SMS
• plus, maybe, TV and/or radio
• social media
The list goes on – how many is that? Ten, 12, 15 or more!
Imagine the power if you can harness all those media to work with and complement each other, giving a huge amount of OTS with your campaign – with a memorable message that shows a clear picture of what living there, in that property, will do for the buyer. Every time the prospective buyer sees the message again, it will be matched with what is already in their brain. They will become more familiar with it and it immediately gives them top of mind awareness of the property you are advertising.
So now you can harness the power of a media mix advertising campaign with every property you list from now on – and win every listing when sellers see you as the advertising expert in their area.

Show More

Ian Grace

Known internationally as “Mr Real Estate Advertising”, Australian born Ian Grace is acknowledged as the world’s leading authority on real estate advertising and customer service. For more information visit iangrace.com