MacRo LTD Blog

Commercial Real Estate Marketing: Then and Now

What has made the difference in the marketing of Land and Commercial Real Estate over the last 40 years?

Commercial Real Estate Marketing: Then and NowAs the use of the World Wide Web has evolved, the process of marketing land and commercial real estate has changed dramatically.

With that said what should a real estate owner look for when planning to place a property up for sale?

Having spent the last 38 years peddling dirt, sticks and bricks, I’ve experienced this evolution first hand.

Back then there were three basic marketing tools that a land and commercial real estate broker had available:  telephone, typewriter and automobile.  Yep, it was the pre-fax era, and machines that made multiple copies were just making their debut.

But there were those other intangible tools that separated the average broker from the successful one:  personal drive to network and bring a motivated buyer and seller together, and knowing the product and all the trends and issues that influence its value.

How I remember sitting at my desk making cold calls from the list of names I had organized on my 3” x 5” index cards … and then there were the afternoons of door knocking and attending events with business cards in hand.

Signs and an occasional ad in the local newspaper were essential components that rounded out the complete Marketeer.

There were no multiple listing services for commercial real estate.  Most listings were held very close to the vest. It was an age when the typical land and commercial broker rarely cooperated with another real estate agent from another firm.

That’s how it was done … and property owners accepted the process because they trusted their broker.

Today one web tool has redefined marketing by literally turning the definition of marketing as we knew it completely on its ear!

Up until just a few years ago, the accepted method of marketing real estate like so many other products was to take it “to the consumer.”

On its ear, you say?

Yes, with the maturity of Google and other search engines, it is more so about “being found by the consumers” than “interrupting” them and getting in their faces.

Consider how consumers shop for just about any major purchase now.  While they will often seek out someone they trust, they will also do research on the web … if they don’t have a trusted adviser for that product they will seek out assistance and references on the web as well!

This alone is the core concept that today’s real estate Marketeer totally understands.   The idea of  “being found” is called “inbound marketing.”

These simple two words sum up a very complex world of internet interconnectivity and integration that has evolved out of the consumers’ desire to find what they want by typing in a few words on Google and then being a few clicks away from their desired results.

Externally the tried and true uses of signs and direct mail (email and USPS) are essential parts of that integrated marketing effort … all of which leads the consumer to a website.

For the land and commercial real estate broker it’s about understanding key words and search engine optimization – just to name a few.  It’s not about getting in the face of the consumer, it’s about building trust by sharing market knowledge and being transparent about who you really are and what you do.

In a sense it’s an extension and reflection of who you are and the reputation you have earned in your community.  In the World Wide Web there’s no hiding a bad reputation.

While the old days of marketing may be passé, those essential intangible skills of personal drive and product knowledge are just as important as ever.  They were the skills that set the pace of the market then and remain the fuel for today’s successful land and commercial real estate broker.

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Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He is an appointed member of the Frederick County Charter Board.  He also writes for

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