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Technology is creating new marketing opportunities for real estate professionals, but it’s also creating more work and confusion about the effectiveness of those efforts, a new survey says. VHT Inc., a Des Plaines, IL-based provider of visual marketing services, surveyed 1,300 real estate agents and brokers about their marketing activities. VHT, whose clients include both commercial and residential real estate firms, says the survey provides a national, multi-tiered look at how real estate professionals divide marketing dollars for print, television, direct mail and online marketing activities.

Brian Balduf, CEO of VHT, says clients are “trying to find a benchmark for their marketing budgets.” They want to tap new opportunities, but they also want to keep track of the competition, he says. A majority still share most of their budgets on brochures, postcards, newspaper ads and TV ads, even though only 20.4% think newspapers are “effective.”

Nearly half–49%–rate online ads as “very effective,” specifically citing Realtor.com, Craigslist.com and Google.

According to the survey, many agents are confused about the myriad of new marketing choices, both online and offline, in traditional and non-traditional media. In addition, real estate professionals say there’s a dearth of data to guide them. Both before and after their media purchase, they say there is little data to provide a benchmark for property programs. As a result, the agents and brokers surveyed say they have trouble tracking results, managing multiple submission forms and find it burdensome retyping listing information for various media services. “Now there are things like Facebook, MySpace, Craigslist.com and digital signage. So it’s a real challenge,” says Balduf.

Respondents say only half of their media partners provide statistics to track the response and effectiveness of their media purchase. In the detailed responses to the survey questionnaire, many agents expressed “frustration” or a “strong desire” to have a one-stop, one-click solution for their media purchase, collateral printing and asset distribution needs.

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