Does Your Agency Have a Serious Case of Mixed Message Madness?

Whenever I take on a new retained client I do a review of their local competition as a starting point.

Part of that process is the agents I’m working with send me as much marketing materials as possible from their rivals.

If you are not keeping an eye on what your local rivals are doing, you should start now. Because if they are smart they’ll sure as hell be watching what you are up to.

Remember it’s often the person who executes the idea best who benefits from it most rather than the idea’s inventor / creator.

I’d spent an hour wading through the usual newspaper stock adverts, half hearted blog attempts and ‘We’ve hundreds of people waiting to buy homes like yours’ (really? I mean seriously?) fliers.

Then I saw something which struck me as madness.

A corporate agency had produced a double sided mail shot (at least they used both sides, some agencies don’t). They included photos of the local office team, with brief bios. So far so good.

PR is all about image building and profile raising and this kind of approach using team photos and brief biographies plays a part in doing this.

But, and this was a but of Kim Kardashian proportions (before the PC police call me a woman hating sexist I use her ‘but’ as an example of ‘but what on earth is she famous for?’ rather than her ample posterior).

This agency used photos of a senior manager in his 40s, that’s ok. Then his team were all obviously late teens or early twenties, again, ok.

The trouble was this mail shot was trying to sell this youthful looking team as ‘experienced, seasoned professionals.’ It’s a totally mixed message bordering on madness.

I showed the mail out to my designer without saying a word. From a design point of view he had no problem apart the photos were too small but he did say ‘The older guy looks like he’s running a crèche.’

I asked my wife’s opinion of it. Again not saying a word about what I thought. Bang, First thing she says ‘they look too young to be experts.’

This mixed message showed a lack of thought had gone into the mail out. People make snap judgments. They do judge books by their covers.

I showed the mail out to six people, they all said the same thing in one way or another that the manager aside, all of the other team members looked like junior staff.

Not for one second am I suggesting young people in the industry or any workplace can’t be fantastic, of course they can. But in this example the agency were trying to ‘sell them’ as being experienced experts. The photos and main message were at odds.

It would have been wiser for the mail out to focus on the manager’s experience and then his youthful colleagues’ energy and enthusiasm.

I’ve seen it before. Agencies pitching themselves as bespoke, ‘top end’ companies then in the same breath promoting a 0.5% fee sale. Madness as they are conflicting messages. ‘We’re top quality but cheap!’

Anyway that’s enough from me, so wishing you all a fantastic 2016, be clear about your agency’s message and here’s to your next instruction.


PS – We only have one Blog in a Box for Estate Agents Volume 1 – left. 30 professionally written blogs for agents for just £123.00 + VAT. Visit to see why it’s an offer that’s been so popular.

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