Objection to Video in Real Estate #4 - Video is a Niche

By Christian A. Sterner
September 4, 2007

Recently, WellcomeMat has been fortunate enough to find that many of the objections to the use of video in the real estate space have come to the surface. We want to say thanks to all of those who helped launch this discussion, and we hope the following blog series will help shed some light.  Please be aware that this post is not an anti-video post, as our title might suggest.

Starting today, we are going to dive into the four most popular objections that we have found to our medium (video). Let’s start with what we consider the least solid of all objections:

#4 Video is Only a Good Tool in Certain Niche Scenarios


Here’s how the objections have been communicated:

  1. Video is only appropriate when I have to sell/rent a very unique property.

  2. Video is only worthwhile for my most expensive listings (ROI).

  3. Video tours will never be affordable, and will therefore always remain a niche marketing tool.

  4. Homes are rarely “tidy” enough on production day for a video shoot to occur.

Stating video as a niche marketing tool (as all of these points do) in order to quickly resume the status quo is professional suicide. Why do I use such drastic terminology to describe video’s dismissal? One word: demographics. Justifying a professional shoot might be tough for listings that are less than $300,000, but not doing videos for homes worth less neglects the majority of the two generations that will expect video the most: Generation X, and Generation Y. Both of these generations (Gen Y is 60,000,000 members strong) expect transparency in your marketing, the truth about your product, and the use of the most up-to-date technologies. Most importantly, they expect you to match what is real (your listing) as closely as possible online.

Tough customers: how to reach Gen Y

“…When pitching Gen Y, keep in mind that they've grown up on slick ads and commercial messages. ‘They don't trust advertising,’ says Burnett…” “In general when marketing Gen Y, be honest. Any whiff of over-promising or false advertising will send them running…” 1

Generation Y Today's teens--the biggest bulge since the boomers--may force marketers to toss their old tricks...

“The marketers that capture Gen Y's attention do so by bringing their messages to the places these kids congregate, whether it's the Internet, a snowboarding tournament, or cable TV. The ads may be funny or disarmingly direct. What they don't do is suggest that the advertiser knows Gen Y better than these savvy consumers know themselves.”

“…Gen Yers respond to humor, irony, and the (apparently) unvarnished truth.  Sprite has scored with ads that parody celebrity endorsers and carry the tagline ''Image is nothing. Obey your thirst.'' J.C. Penney & Co.'s (JCP) hugely successful Arizona Jeans brand has a new campaign showing teens mocking ads that attempt to speak their language. The

tagline? 'Just show me the jeans.' ”

Can we agree that video offers the most real rendition of a place even if Steven Spielberg would not nominate your production for an Oscar?

Does any other medium communicate “human scale” (livability, or how a place navigates from front to back) like video can? I am a mere Generation X member that would state my opinion as clearly as possible: if you waste my time, I’m not happy. If you sugar coat your listing(s), and I show up in person to find something unexpected, you are likely further from a sale than closer. Is transparency scary? Heck yeah it is!  But the real question is, “can you ignore that transparency is the reality of the real estate space moving forward?”

Say a property is $150,000, and your buyer demographics suggest Gen X or especially Gen Y; is this Go Time for you and your trusty little Canon, or Sony video camera? Ask your kids what they think (heck…maybe get your kids to shoot your less expensive listings). They’ll likely match the desires of their generation better than you are able to ☺

The agent of tomorrow cannot depend on being privy to information not readily available to anyone else.  What real estate professionals can do-whether representing the buy or sell side-is be a masterful guide through the real estate experience and transaction.

Video is very new (the fears of picking up yet another new game are heard loud and clear). We do empathize! But keep in mind that the levels of service that you require from a filmmaker are on a sliding scale. Yes, you will spend more money on videos for more expensive listings than for less expensive listings. WellcomeMat sees videos produced from $79 - $3000 per video where a filmmaker is hired to do the project. As volume gets easier to come by for honed business models, these prices are dropping. Choosing photos over video or vice versa is a bad move. Denying that your buyers love video (even shaky or not-so-well-lit video) and ignoring demographics is an even worse move.  Spend as much money as it takes to market your more expensive listings. For Gen X and Gen Y, your marketing better be as close to real as possible.

*Please note that you are probably damaging your image/brand by uploading slide shows, which are not video, to video sites. The younger crew doesn’t appreciate it.

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1 Krotz, Joanna L. “Tough customers: how to reach Gen Y.” Microsoft Small Business Center.
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