August 30 2009

In Your Face Ads - When Is It Too Much?

I was watching the re-air of the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Seattle Seahawks on August 29th on the NFL Network.  The original broadcast was aired by the Chiefs Television Network on @KCTV5.  I can't remember at what point I had turned on the game but what I do remember is how offended I was during a couple minute period when the Chiefs were driving on the Seahawks.  I took the following images from my TV set with my iPhone to illustrate the reason behind my disturbed feelings.

This image is of the Chiefs driving just inside the Seahawks 20 yard line.  Notice Sonic the ad. Small but still on the football field.

Kansas City Chiefs on the Seattle Seahawks 20 yard line

This image is when the Chiefs had driven into the Red Zone.  See the Price Chopper ad?  Does it get any more obnoxious?  Oh it gets better.

Kansas City Chiefs in the Red Zone vs Seattle Seahawks

This image is after the Chiefs scored and are kicking the extra point.  Throwing Garmin right in my face! What's next?  Am I going to have Pizza Hut rammed down my throat by having to view the logo on team helmets and jerseys? I'll gain 5 pounds a game for goodness sake.

Kansas City Chiefs kick extra point vs. Seattle Seahawks

I know ads are essential for the television business, but these ads are so interruptive, and so distracting, it seemed to me the Chiefs Television Network had absolutely no respect for me as a viewer.  I'm there to watch football and the Chiefs Network is shoving Price Chopper and Garmin in my face.  I don't like anything shoved in my face.

Television ads, by nature, are one way, interruption marketing.  We accept these commercials as part of TV and they provide short breaks for us to use the restroom and get a snack.

Traditional commercial spots have morphed into these little sneaky ads that are now slowly creeping into the shows we watch, while we're watching them.   Have you seen the small ads at the bottom right or bottom left corner of the show we are actually watching? Even those are tolerable.  They're small, they're short, and then they're gone.

So when are ads too much? When ads are shoved in our faces.  That's too much.  No one likes to be strong armed into doing anything.

I enjoy watching the Chiefs ( @KC_Chiefs1 ) on the NFL Sunday Ticket.  If I'm subject to this type of advertising, I WILL NOT be watching.

Go Chiefs!

Please let me know if you agree, disagree, or you think I'm overreacting.

Jim Adams - CEO
New Homes Directory .com   

August 28 2009

How Important Is Twitter For New Home Sales Professionals?

Where does Twitter fall on the priority list of social media for home builders?  A close look at the trends tells the story. Yes we know Twitter's impressive growth rate (1,382 % from Feb 2008 - Feb 2009) and 32 million recorded visitors in April, 2009, makes Twitter the big social media buzz of today.  

But the question remains the same for any industry and any business.  Why is it important to me as a home builder?  Take a look at the Twitter consumer demographics. 

This informative graphic from eMarketer shows that 35% of Twitter users are between 20 and 24 years old.  Combined with the 31% of Twitter users ranging from 15-19 years of age, you're talking about 67% of Twitter users ranging in age from 15-24 years old.

While that is not typically the home buying age, it will be the home buying age in 5-10 years.  That gives the average home builder another 5 years to get up to speed with the whole Twitter thing.  If you want to be on the leading edge as a home builder, you'll be experimenting with Twitter today.

I think Twitter is the most powerful of all social media - because of its potential.  Everyone has a mobile phone.  You don't need a smart phone to receive information on Twitter.  Any new home sales professional can user Twitter.  With a 140 character limit, sending out a new home community tweet will take all of 2 minutes, whereas blogging or Facebooking can take an hour or more.

My vision is that each new home community has its own Twitter account.  When a consumer has a strong interest in purchasing, they are going to follow that account because no one wants to be left out of the 'Information Loop'.

Training a sales person on Twitter will take 20 minutes as compared with blogging and Facebook, which can take days or weeks or months to be proficient.

And because every person has a cell phone, pushing information and having that information received ensures success. No more worrying about whether your email blast got hung up in the spam box. No more waiting for corporate to create that email blast that is really for 30 communities in the same division. You tailor that short message to your community followers.

We're always talking about new home sales professionals being responsible for their own traffic. Using a Twitter account is by far the easiest way to get and stay connected with their new home community consumers.

This may not be the most effective means today, but look at the trends.  Younger people doing it today means our home buyers of tomorrow will be doing it.

Jim Adams - CEO
New Homes

August 27 2009

What Video Means To Home Builders – More Opportunity

Video streaming and viewing continues to rise.  The Nielsen Co reported that video streams have risen to 11.2 billion and that video views have ascended to just under 136 million for July 2009!  This is a 31.4% and 14.2% increase respectively over July 2008.

YouTube continues to dominate the video space with over 7 billion streams and over 104 million unique viewers for July 2009.  Distant challengers include Hulu with over 383 million streams, and Yahoo! with over 265 million streams. A side note: my kids contribute daily to the YouTube and Yahoo! stream usage:)

The trend is clear.  Consumers continue to eagerly engage video online. Video is quickly becoming a consumer expectation online.

What this means for home builders: Builders have an opportunity to connect more powerfully with consumers if they have video content that will help consumers shop and make home buying decisions. Video livens and enriches the consumer’s online experience and creates more opportunity for the builder to connect, build trust, and sell to that consumer.  While video does provide increased sales opportunity, it also enriches the builder's brand.  Most videos are viral friendly.  This means it's easy for one person to share that video with friends; typically through email and embedding capabilities.

The more a builder takes advantage of the video / consumer opportunity, the greater chance that builder has at reaching, connecting, and creating viral opportunities with multiple home buyers. One of the biggest opportunities for home builders to use video is the development of a builder TV channel.

Epcon Communities, a Columbus based franchise home builder has embraced video and their consumers by developing Epcon TV.  This builder TV channel provides high quality videos of their communites.  While still in it's infancy, there are just under 100 new home community videos to further engage their consumers.  I personally know of no other home builder that has committed resources to develop an entire TV channel on a .TV domain.  Hats off to Epcon Communities for their progressive mindset and taking consumer engagement to the next level of video.

Jim Adams - CEO
New Homes


August 20 2009

Women, Social Networking, and Homebuying

The notion that women tend to have the final say in homebuying decisions has become common knowledge in the real estate and home construction fields; if the findings of a new survey are any indication, this appears to have transcended into the social networking realm as well.

The poll, conducted by the social network ShesConnected, revealed that 59%  of its participants reported visiting their favorite social sites multiple times per day. Another group, totaling 14%, reported logging on to social networks on a daily basis. 

According to the research, the most popular sites included Facebook (83% of users are members), LinkedIn (73% have an account), and Twitter (55% have jumped on the bandwagon). MySpace, who once relied on the powerful female demographic popular, is only used by 41% of the survey respondents. Nearly half of the women polled (48%) reported belonging to four or more social networks.

How can this benefit women as homebuyers – or, as sellers? It seems that professional networking and staying up-to-date with friends were the most compelling reasons to visit social networks, according to the respondents. Also, many (79%) mentioned products and services, followed by finding deals and discounts (64%) important. Because all of these play into real estate transactions, it is possible for buyers and sellers alike to use social networking to their advantage.

Of course, the marketing side of social media is not without concern. While the vast majority of respondents were fine with social networks displaying advertising, more than four in 10 respondents said they would not be comfortable with the idea of their data being sold. So, those looking to use these networks for promoting homes for sale, etc. should do so with caution. Tech-savvy women can easily identify the fine line between keeping in touch and taking an unfair advantage; so, it’s important to know your limits and abide by them.


August 11 2009

Are Smartphone Sales A Sign Of Social Media Addiction?

When second quarter stats revealed that mobile handset shipments were down 8% since last year, it raised a slight concern among the telecom crowd. As it turns out, though, this wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

It seems that shipments went down for a time in response to low consumer excitement with mobile products in the post-iPhone era. Now, with new smartphones arriving on the scene and public confidence in the global market on the rise, the numbers are reflecting improvement.

Strategy Analytics’ Q2 2009 Global Handset Market Share Update reported that 273 million handset units shipped in the second quarter. After year-over-year declines of 10.7% in Q4 of 2008 and 13.7% in Q1 of 2009, it seems shipments are slowly on the climb.

Another intelligence firm, the International Data Corp. (IDC), released similar figures for Q2 handset shipments, for a 10.8% year-over-year drop. To reiterate, this was an improvement over Q1 2009, which experienced a 17.2% decline from the prior year. An IDC senior research analyst stated that Apple, in addition to Nokia, Samsung, and Research in Motion, “all beat expectations” for smartphones in the second quarter.

Which products are the most compelling? Two years after its initial debut, the iPhone clearly remains one of them. In Q2, Apple shipped 5.2 million units, for a 1.9% market share.

And, it seems that the high demand for GPS only enhances the trend. Strategy Analytics reported that GPS-enabled smartphone shipments are expected to increase by 34% this year, to 77 million units.


It seems that smartphones have not only permanently changed the way we communicate; they have also left their indelible seal on the global communications market.

Mobile phone sales are down.  Smartphone sales are rising.  Is this due to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and blogging addiction?

With 250 million users on Facebook, Twitter users growing almost exponentially, and 1 million blog posts added to the Internet daily, it begs the question: How much does connecting on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media mean to us?  Does it mean that now we need a smartphone so we can access our favorites through apps?  I believe the answer is yes.  I know it already has for me; and now other signs are appearing that support the same notion.

Jim Adams - CEO
New Homes Directory .com




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