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November 6, 2012


MTC Forum 2012 Part Two. The Customer Experience In A Digital World and 6 Trends That Are Going To Change Business Forever

by mark mclean

As I reported in an earlier post, I am back from an amazing few days as a TREB delegate at a CREA Special Assembly Meeting in Winnipeg. There were many highlights of my trip including connecting with my friend and awesome blogger Aaron Hoos and getting outside and running both sides of The Red River. Talk about taking it to the streets. Part of the assembly included a full day on social media and technology hosted by the MLS and Technology Committee. In Part 1 of my report I focused on two interesting speakers, Rebecca Mountain of Impetus Consulting and Alex Langshur, Senior Partner of Cardinal Path. You can check out that post here; Thanks to the great people at The Fairmont Winnipeg for my great room complete with a killer view of the world-famous intersection of Portage and Main.


In his panel discussion, Richard Silver, past president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, moderated an interesting debate on how agents are changing the way they do business. On the Panel were, Jamie Sarner from Royal LePage J&D, Kelley Skar from CIR Realty in Calgary, and Gary Chambers owner of C21 in Drumheller Alberta. These three all attack their business from different angles so they each provided a different perspective of how Realtors use social media and technology.

Skar, an active blogger believes that if you are blogging, write one good article a week and promote the hell out of it.

Sarner believes that connecting with like-minded people once you make a connection they will work with you. His passion is fine dining so he writes restaurant reviews that have become very popular in his market but he also believes that you are not being a full service agent if you aren’t providing your market with information about real estate as well.

Chambers is a unique realtor who does a lot of his video blogging from the cab of his tractor. (he is also a farmer). His videos are hugely popular and his advice to videographers is to put written content under your video.


This is what the MTC program said about Mitch Joel, author of Six pixels of Separation and the day’s last speaker. “The next six years of business will be about the convergence of six main areas that will require companies to adapt like never before. Adapt or die? Some will struggle while others will simply roll along as the adoption incurs. The trick is in capitalizing on this moment in time; understand it and be ready for the future (a future that will move at a much quicker pace). We have the technology. We have the data. We have the new media channels and platforms. We have the opportunity to publish whatever we want – in text, images, audio and video – instantly (and for free) to the world. What we do with this moment will be telling. It will also set the pace for everything that flows out of our brands for the next decade”. These six trends were eye-opening.

1. Direct relationships. There is a war going on with brands trying to have a direct relationship with consumer. You win the war when you like them back. Your ability to build a direct relationship has never been more powerful. Think about some of the big brands that have Facebook Pages, Twitter and Pinterest accounts.

2. Sex with data. How do you balance the personalized experience vs privacy? Consumers don’t want advertising, as we see in the rise of the PVR, that is why on-line curating has become so fashionable. Check out, where unique products are displayed in limited numbers. This is perfect example of sex with data. Wouldn’t you want to be in a business where your products sell out in 72 hours.

3. Utility to consumers. Give consumers tools they can use. is a unique website that allows users to find nice clean bathrooms around North America. Oh, and by the way, the website is owned by toilet paper maker Charmin (remember “don’t squeeze the Charmin”?)  This is a clear direction to realtors…Show people the best of your neighbourhood.

4. Advertising. What does advertising look like today? Consumers still need passive media. MLS is a good example. People look at MLS to search for houses and then try to find the person to show them the small group of homes.

5. One screen movement. We are entering the “One screen world”. Tech has advanced to the point where we almost don’t need it anymore. Think about the fact that iPads don’t come with instructions because they are intuitive. Consider that Smart phones outsell personal computers  2 to 1. In 1999 38 million people were on broadband. Now there are 1.2 billion people with phones. Mitch shared this graph (thanks to @chartoftheday for this) showing just how important cell phones have become. can you say…Gulp? The reality is that we are no longer tied to our desktops. Home buyers are becoming untethered.

6. The brand narrative. Before you would advertise about how great you are. Now it is time to make your brand so compelling that people are willing to pay extra for it. Check out this video that exemplifies this point.

I encourage you to check out Joel’s book…Six pixels of separation.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jerry E.
    Nov 14 2012

    Excellent reporting.

  2. Mark! I’m back from my vacation and catching up on my reading… including this post. Thanks for the mention! I had a great time hanging out and meeting in person. Thanks for the tapas and beer… and a ton of really helpful insight! Next time, we’ll meet your neck of the woods.

    • Nov 21 2012

      My pleasure. I look forward to catching up again in person. Keep on blogging!


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