Think You’re Not a Tech Company? You’re Wrong.

Why every company is a tech company and every industry – including real estate – needs a strong focus on technology to stay competitive and improve client experiences.

Every new innovation in the tech space changes consumer expectations. Two minutes for an Uber. Two days for a delivery of almost anything. Minute by minute tracking of your pizza from the oven to your door. These milestones change what consumers think is possible. No matter the industry, companies can no longer operate with technology as an afterthought. They need to be looking to technology as the key to providing better, more seamless and more customized consumer experiences.

This reality is turning every company into a tech company.

We have seen the impact these changes have made in the real estate industry over the past few years. For brands, brokers and agents, it’s become clear that it’s not enough to be the best in your field. You   need to have competitive technology to back it up.

At CES (the Consumer Electronics Show), David Marine, SVP Marketing for Coldwell Banker, and  leaders from Turner Broadcasting, USAA and even an ad agency, CP+B, discussed this shift in the competitive landscape on the panel “Every Company is a Tech Company.” Although none of the companies are what you would call traditional tech companies, they are facing the same market changes and taking some very similar steps to put technology to work to their advantage.

Here are a few reasons why you should continue to add tech to your real estate business and meet the expectations of the modern consumer:

Every single innovation changes the landscape for every other company.

● Consider the Domino’s Pizza Tracker. This service primed consumers to expect tracking for all things, including mortgage loans, steps in the closing process and even claims status.

● Customization breeds customization. With every personalized interaction we have, our expectation is that the next will be personalized, too; and maybe more successfully than the last.

There are no shortcuts to becoming a tech company.

● Set aside budget for innovation. Burger King reserves 5% of its budget to test new media delivery.

● Increase the number of employees focused on tech. That could mean adding technology roles to your business, or infusing the culture with the expectation that all everyone uses tech within their day-to-day jobs and looks for new ways to use technology to solve problems or create better experiences, like we do here at Coldwell Banker.

It’s not just about having data. It’s about applying it thoughtfully.

● Deliver the right message at the right time. You can see this kind of thoughtful data use in the way that the Zap Score in CB Zap helps agents understand where buyers are in the process and conversations that are valuable at that point.

● Create a personalized experience. Customers give you their data and they want something in return. Get better about tailoring your content.

● You can’t compete on data alone. Find ways to deliver a non-commoditized value that will set you apart from the pack.

Don’t be afraid to take a risk.

● Make short, medium and long-term plans. Look not only at the tech you need right now, but what tech is going to make an impact in one, three or five years.

● Don’t consider an investment on technology as part of your IT budget. It’s CapX. Investment in long-term tech solutions should be seen as a capital investment.

Coldwell Banker has invested in proprietary technologies and unique offerings – CBx, CB Zap and the Smart Home initiative. But we continue to look toward the future; asking the question, “how are we improving the lives of the clients and the agents we serve? Are we doing something just because it’s cool or are we investing in technology that solves a problem, serves a real need?”

With big data, Coldwell Banker is creating new ways of finding and qualifying buyers and sellers via our CBx platform and we’re also asking ourselves what’s next. Recently, we’ve asked ourselves if Virtual Reality could become as common as a listing video – spoiler alert: it could.

As we look to our Smart Home initiative, the Smart Home Staging Kit continues to be available for sellers, but we are looking at how we can better serve clients and educate our network.

I’m hard-pressed to think of companies or industries that have not integrated technology or data in some way. For three years, Coldwell Banker has been the sponsor of the Smart Home Marketplace at CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) and we get the same question time and again: What’s a real estate company doing at the world’s biggest tech show? I don’t think we’ll be getting this question for much longer.

Senior Manager, Public Relations & Giving for Coldwell Banker. Grew up in Sarasota and attended college at Western Carolina University. Athena wanted to wake up in that city that doesn’t sleep so headed to Madison Avenue to start her marketing career. She has been with this awesome brand for more than 15 years and can be found generating buzz about CB in every way possible. Athena helps to grow the brand’s position as the most storied real estate company within the industry and has led many high-profile endeavors; she was at the forefront of the brand’s pioneering smart home campaign, raised $6 million in two years to build 130 Habitat for Humanity homes, and led the Homes for Dogs program in partnership with that resulted in tens-of-thousands of dogs finding their furever home. She currently leads the CB Supports St. Jude program, which encourages the Coldwell Banker network’s 96,000+ real estate agents to make donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital for every real estate transaction they represent. In her spare time, you can find her either digging up a new area in her yard for another flower bed or planning her next travel adventure. She's the proud mom of three cats Jolene, Ziggy and Lucy.

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