GREG DICKASON: How do you position your vendor-paid advertising?

How do you position your vendor-paid advertising?

Blogger: Greg Dickason, general manager, Data Products at RP Data

My brother had an appraisal a few weeks back from the top agent in his area. As the agent walked through the property, my brother noted three things in the agent's appraisal method that impressed him:

  • The agent noted how buyers would perceive features of the property and where cosmetic improvements could be made to enhance the buyer’s perception
  • The agent discussed which properties listed for sale were competing with his, and the recent sales results of similar properties in the area
  • The agent informed him about what was happening with the market. He described how the market was trending up by way of auction clearance rates and less time on market for sale

As a result of the walkthrough and the way in which the agent engaged and informed him, my brother was very comfortable when the formal part of the appraisal conversation started and the agent positioned himself and his services. The agent then proceeded to discuss a listing price, an expected selling timeframe and expected sales result by using a well prepared CMA as a guide. As the market conditions were established and similar listed and sold properties had been discussed, my brother was in complete agreement with the agent on price and sales approach.

The agent then mentioned the marketing of the property. With this, the rapport built between them then evaporated. The agent positioned a combination of print advertisements, premier online advertising, a sign board, and a direct mailout to his database. The price for the marketing package was high and raised my brother’s suspicions as to the agent’s motivation. He felt the agent was requesting a high marketing spend, which was not to increase the probability of a sale but to pay for the agent's self-promotion.

When we discussed this, I ran the RP Data Media Maximiser statistics for the area. These measure the effect of different advertising media on the selling success, discounting and time on market for different property types. Statistics can be quite variable depending on the area, but in general show the more spent on promotion, the higher the selling success of a property. In particular, in my brother’s area there was a 15 per cent increase in the selling success using a print and online campaign, compared to an online campaign only. Discounting was also reduced by two per cent, which for his property equated to an increase in sale price of $38,000:


My brother was pleasantly surprised by the outputs from the RP Data Media Maximiser. He realised the agent was correct, and that a high spend and good positioning of the property both online and in the paper would have increased his chances of a sale, and probably would have achieved a higher price given the statistics in the area.

He then commented that it would be good for the agent to be as logical with presenting his marketing proposal as he was when establishing a listing price for the property. He wanted a ‘CMA approach’ for getting vendor-paid advertising, where the agent properly positioned the benefits to him of the marketing and showed how these exceeded any additional costs paid by the vendor.

The end result is that using a logical approach when explaining how property marketing can work, actually helps the vendor get over any suspicions that marketing is about agent self-promotion. It also overcomes one of the hardest parts of an appraisal, where the agent is asking the vendor to spend actual money on marketing the property without any guarantee of outcome.

An effective marketing strategy for a property is very important for both agent and vendor. Neither party wants the property to take a long time to sell, or to have to accept a larger discount than necessary.

As an agent discussing marketing with a potential vendor, my advice is that consideration is given to the preparation of a logical case for why a marketing strategy works and benchmark against properties that did or did not use various media and what outcomes occurred. This approach is very similar to the CMA of comparing other properties and their sales outcomes. If you have access to the Media Maximiser in the RP Data CMA, use this as additional data to back up your own research.

A simple table can then help explain your recommendation, for example:


Media Used

List Price

Sales Price

Discount ($) from list to sale

1 Place street

Online Premier, ¼ page in Paper




3 ABC Circuit

Online Standard




65 BFG Drive

Paper classified, Online Standard




22 DEF Road

Online Standard




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Greg Dickason

Greg Dickason

Greg joined RP Data in 2010, when he took over the management of the group’s data product division. One of his early highlights was leading the team that delivered the services behind the popular CommBank Property Guide - an iPhone app that allows people to search property information anywhere and at any time. In addition, he patented the popular RP Data Media Maximiser product with a colleague, which correlates advertising spend to selling success for real estate agents – a first in Australia, and a first in the world.

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