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Countrywide hybrid agency idea came from market research, says chief

Countrywide’s marketing chief says the estate agency group’s controversial hybrid sales model - to be rolled out to a quarter of branches by the end of next month - emerged from an extensive public research exercise.

In an interview with Campaign magazine, Helen Normoyle - Countrywide’s chief marketing officer, who joined the group a year ago from furniture company DFS - gave a brief insight into the thinking behind the introduction of the hybrid scheme.

“Last year, we invested in research with several thousand customers and, as a result of listening to customers and colleagues, we successfully piloted a new hybrid model for selling your home. The magic is in the bringing together of great data on key market trends, consumers and customers with creativity, instinct and intuition” Normoyle told the magazine.

The interview gave few other insights specifically into the high-profile activities of Countrywide in the past two years, but did discuss broad marketing principles that Normoyle - a former director of marketing and audiences at the BBC - has a brought to the firm.

“I’m passionate about what makes customers and businesses tick and putting customers at the heart of business strategy” she says. “From the perspective of the chief executive and the board, this ensures that all aspects of the business are aligned behind delivering a great customer experience that exceeds expectations – from product development to communications.”

Normoyle says the most effective way of achieving this is to spend time out in the business “to understand the needs of key stakeholders and colleagues – and, of course, doing the same with customers.”

“Understanding customers is at the heart of our business strategy at Countrywide as we look at changing perceptions of the property industry. For most people, buying a home is the biggest investment they will make, so they need to trust the people they are working with” she says.

On broad issues of staff retention and recruitment, Normoyle told Campaign: “Building a high-performing team is about getting the right talent and enabling them to be the best they can be.” 

She concludes the interview by revealing that she has a quote from Michelangelo on her desk at home, saying "The greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim too high and we miss it, but we aim too low and reach it."

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    Very interesting views from someone who clearly has next to zero understating or experience of the industry.

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    "She concludes the interview by revealing that she has a quote from Michelangelo on her desk at home, saying "The greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim too high and we miss it, but we aim too low and reach it."

    How very David Brent!

    Jon  Tarrey

    Indeed! I wonder if she has quotes from Des'ree songs to inspire her as well. "Money makes the world go round...I'm reaching out to a higher ground..."

     
  • Jon  Tarrey

    "Countrywide’s chief marketing officer, who joined the group a year ago from furniture company DFS"

    DFS to estate agency. Hmmm.

    I suppose you can see their thinking. DFS always, always has sales on. Estate agency involves lots of sales. Kind of the same thing. We'll worry about the details later on!

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    In light of the impending changes to letting fees, I wonder how the ladies at the helm of the big 'C' will deal with the loss of £25m plus from the bottom line? I'm interested to see the 'spin' on that reduction of revenue!

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