Real estate is a competitive industry fueled by the agents, brokers, lenders, lawyers and administrators who seal every sale. Sitting in the trenches along with them are marketing directors who oversee and direct branding for brokerage houses and — in some cases — individual sales associates. A real estate marketing director is responsible for creating and preserving the cultural identity of a real estate firm through logos, signs, campaigns and rhetoric. If you are looking for a job with plenty of social interaction and you have a strategic mind for business, an executive marketing position could be a perfect fit.
Persuasion is a fundamental skill for any real estate position, and this is especially true for marketing executives. "It's necessary to take a hands-on approach with every project because every single item that leaves our department helps to shape the perception of our company," said Vicki Ascherl, Vice President of Marketing at the Real Estate One Family of Companies in Southfield, MI. Other aspects of the job rely on analytical and communication skills. "Being technologically proficient is a must," she said. Ascherl takes her iPad with her to board meetings and branch offices and must sometimes coordinate the technology behind seminars, webinars and video shoots.
Taking responsibility for brokerage marketing means keeping many irons in the proverbial fire. Meetings with team members, fellow company executives, sales associates and branch managers are crucial in order to build awareness around a brand and build a positive reputation. A typical day could include exploring product lines, communicating with vendors and meeting with media outlets. Keeping communication channels open is a must. At times, the job requires traveling offsite to businesses or partner offices with little notice in order to brainstorm an advertising campaign or address a legal issue. "What people might be surprised to know is that the smallest of details are considered — from colors, continuity, spacing, fonts, composition to copy — every detail is deliberate and geared to a targeted consumer group," Ascherl said.
Education & Training
Putting yourself into the position to be marketing director of a brokerage firm will likely require a real estate license and experience in the field. Ascherl's initial success as a residential real estate agent helped propel her into an executive position. "I have a true understanding of the entire transaction process and appreciate the value of great tools, products and services," she said. Other relevant training includes coursework in public speaking, communication, advertising and business. An associate or bachelor's degree in marketing, business or communication would be an excellent complement to real estate experience.
Real estate is an industry that has always welcomed women, but more female leaders and executives are needed to strike a balance. A demographic study by the National Association of Realtors reported 60 percent of their members are female, but most of them are agents. Only 26 percent of the "100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders" list put together by Inman News are female. To increase your prospects, start your career at a large brokerage that has branches throughout your state or the country. Smaller brokerages are less likely to have marketing teams and managers.
- Vicki Ascherl; Personal Interview
Amy Stanbrough is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in "Bust," "Woman's World," "Southern Exposure" and many other publications. Stanbrough holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from George Mason University.