If nothing else, going to conferences like NAR and Inman let you rub shoulders with other vendors in the real estate space. This weekend I was able to track down a number of players in the “Blog Marketing” space at NARdi Gras, ask them a few questions and get their take on what’s happening
What’s interesting to me about NARdi Gras is how big it is. If you compare the number of exhibitors and attendees, NAR’s annual conference blows away Inman (in both San Francisco and NY combined). So, you’ve got a lot of potential to network with a wide variety of people. It’s a place to get business done – the size of the expo floor alone is a testament to that.
Then you have Inman. Inman isn’t as big. It doesn’t have that “establishment” feel to it either. Brad has done a great job of bringing in vibrant, new technologies into the spotlight.
When you go to a panel on “Top money making strategies in online marketing” at NAR there is no one sitting on the panel that was born after1970. When you go to a similar session at Inman you rarely find a person on the panel born before1970.
So, there is a fundamental difference between the two “big” real estate industry conferences. One is all about change, the other is about the status quo. This makes them both a target for two different demographics within the industry – real estate professionals go to both, it’s just the type of professional that goes to one rarely goes to the other.
As a company going to market with a product, these two organizations have to be met with differing styles. You know Inman is looking for new innovative products that will shake up the industry – if not that, then at least make some waves about old-vs-new. If you’re going to NAR, make sure you’re spouting the NAR company line, and you’ll need to stress how you support and make the real estate agent’s job easier – again, it’s not about change at NAR, it’s about the status quo.
Representing change or defending the status quo are neither good nor bad. In the end, this industry is complicated and has a great deal of history. Change within specific areas is good, and you see a sea-change happening within marketing at the moment because of new media. However, that change needs to be tempered with the understandings of a relationship-based approach to a highly regulated industry that will not allow a “technology lightning bolt” to disrupt it.