How much does or should NAR know about you? That’s the question being considered, as NAR seeks to embrace the same type of customer intelligence used by companies today to serve consumers. Think of the entertainment-streaming company Netflix, for example, which uses subscribers’ past rental purchases to market similar movies they might like to watch.
“NAR should know more about the actions of its members,” said Todd Carpenter, NAR’s managing director of data analytics. “It has access to a mountain of data, and we need to figure out how to [use] that data to know our members better.” Carpenter was part of a panel speaking at the Emerging Business Technology Forum at the 2013 REALTORS® Conference & Expo on Saturday.
Ted Loring, chairman of the Data Strategies Committee, proposed several ways NAR could use member data to create individualized marketing campaigns aimed directly at their needs and interests. For instance, the association could track:
- License expiration data that it could use to target members needing continuing education hours
- Responses to RPAC and other political initiatives to predict best times to offer donation opportunities
- Volume and type of transactions that might suggest needed training products
- Individual closing activity to help facilitate a broader lifetime relationship between the member and client
“This is about knowing the member on an individual basis,” Loring said.
But there were some concerns among attendees that this approach to marketing could be seen as NAR putting a sales pitch ahead of member benefits. “There has to be a benefit to the member rather than a money-making [idea],” one attendee told the panel.
Others were concerned about the idea of NAR reaching out to members’ clients, saying that brokers could perceive that as NAR encroaching on their territory. “I don’t want NAR approaching [my client] in a way that’s very different from how I would do it,” another attendee said.
Audience concerns will help Loring and his committee refine their strategy, he said, as NAR moves toward the goal of making smarter use of data.
—Graham Wood, REALTOR® Magazine