Agencies that ignore consumer privacy will pay

Agencies that continue to market to consumers without their prior permission will encounter increased resistance in the coming year, a real estate consultant has said.

Speaking with Real Estate Business about the key trends likely to impact agencies in 2013, Ian Campbell, director and principal analyst at IC Growth Consulting, said privacy concerns would become more pronounced next year as more agents look to the internet and social media to generate business.

“Probably my biggest concern for 2013 will be … privacy,” he said.

“It’s becoming the number one issue for consumers in the future. The internet, social media, has brought privacy awareness, or the awareness of how do I protect my anonymity in cyberspace, much more to the fore.

“We’re already seeing signs of it. The Victorian government introducing legislation which took off vendor names from the government data. That’s just the beginning."

Mr Campbell said agencies who ‘churn and burn’ their local markets will be the losers as consumers make their displeasure known.

“In the past the real estate agencies, particularly the ‘churn and burn’ type agencies, have done everything in their power to try … and invade [consumers’] privacy. They’ve used marketing databases, they’ve used everything they can get their hands on to do that.

“That, as a commodity, I think will disappear. Consumers will drive that. They will start to frown upon anyone that starts using their private information without their permission. That kind of activity I think will separate the good agencies from the bad.”

“Bad agencies will waste a lot of time and money, and will churn and burn their markets if they continue to go about non permission-based marketing techniques versus agencies that really engage, get permission and add value.”

“Spam needs to go.”

Only recently, prominent industry trainer Peter Gilchrist, lamented those agents who continued to undertake letter box drops and door knocking for business.

“Who wants an agent knocking on their door,” he asked. “I’d rather have Mormons knock on my door. You’re an agent, no one wants to be your friend.”

Mr Campbell added that savvy agencies will combat this phenomenon by spending more time ensuring their buyer database is up to date and accurate.

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