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You're Selling Experiences, Not Houses

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Marketing You: You’re Selling Experiences, Not Houses

By Rachel B. Levin


Success used to be defined by your ability to acquire a home, a car and other material trappings. But today, research shows that nearly 75 percent of Americans prefer having meaningful experiences over accumulating stuff. It’s a phenomenon called the “Experience Revolution” — and brand innovator Dustin Garis believes it’s the next frontier of real estate marketing.

At his talk at REimagine! 2019, Garis, who’s worked with major corporations like Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble, explained that the increasing monotony of daily life is driving the profound yearning people have for memorable experiences. He noted that the average person can remember only about three days out of every month. Our days often blur together because “over time, we develop a more ingrained routine with fewer novel experiences,” allowing little room for truly unforgettable moments.

The monotony of daily life leaves people feeling impoverished — not in terms of dollars and cents, but in terms of what Garis calls “life profit.” And some of the most successful companies today are finding ways to turn people’s hunger for life profit into real profit.

Retail, wellness, lifestyle, travel and hospitality businesses are now going beyond merely advertising their products; they are pivoting to promote unique experiences that enrich people’s lives. Garis pointed to diverse examples such as Capital One Bank, which converted its branch offices into cafes; Wyndham, which offers blanket-fort-building kits to families staying at its hotels; and The North Face, an outdoor apparel company that puts climbing walls in its stores.

Garis argued that REALTORS® need to be cognizant of this shift because, at the end of the day, we are essentially “just selling really big stuff.” He encouraged audience members to consider how the Experience Revolution might “change our actions, our role not just as marketers, but as heroes rescuing people from having an otherwise boring day.”

To begin applying these concepts to your business, Garis recommends asking yourself three important questions: “What is your client aspiration? What is your unique brand purpose? And what are those key business drivers?” Your answers will help you determine what kind of experiences you should offer and to whom.

For example, “Let’s say you want your brand to stand for happy families,” he said. “Perhaps the client aspires to more unplugged moments together with their family, and a key business driver for you is referrals. Then perhaps what you might do is host a kite-flying festival. Or maybe you want to be the go-to REALTOR® for socially conscious Millennials. Then perhaps you might offer some urban farming classes to those buying condos.”

The aim is to create unforgettable moments that not only help clients lead richer lives, but also prompt them to sing your praises. “This is how we get people to become passionate loyalists,” said Garis. “This is even how we get an army of people to do our marketing for us. This is powerful.”


Rachel B. Levin is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and editor.


At REimagine! Conference & Expo, business solutions take center stage. Learn from and be inspired by over 125 industry-leading speakers. Meet with hundreds of unique exhibitors showcasing their latest innovative tools, products and services to help you grow your business. Make connections with other industry pros — the networking opportunities are endless. Experience the must-attend REimagine! 2020 in Long Beach, October 12-14.


More from the January 2020 Issue:

Pro Tip: Sharran Srivatsaa on Sustainable Business Growth

Marketing You: "You're Selling Experiences, Not Houses"

Tech Hub: 3 Video Trends You Should Be Implementing in 2020

Getting Clients: New Year, New Lead Gen

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