Purplebricks is to tilt its marketing increasingly towards local advertising on traditional and online platforms, and promoting the ‘on the street’ knowledge of its Local Property Experts.
In an exclusive interview with Estate Agent Today, Purplebricks’ new chief marketing officer Ben Carter says many of the hybrid agency’s activities to date have been to establish the brand at national level, competing with other online and High Street agencies.
That's going to change in the short term.
“You’re going to see Purplebricks much more in local areas in future, we’re going to have more local visibility and a presence in the regional press, and we’re going to use the potential of online platforms to target local audiences as well” says Carter. He joined the agency in November after previously being the global director of restaurants and strategic partnerships at the Just Eat company.
The day to day marketing is going to emphasise that Purplebricks now has some 700 LPEs in the field. Meanwhile some higher profile marketing will involve members of Team GB; Purplebricks is an official partner of the Great Britain team heading to the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics this summer. There are an estimated 370 athletes involved in Team GB and Purplebricks intends to use some of their links with local communities to emphasise the agency’s local qualities as well.
“More generally, we primarily want to be known not for being price-led but for being the leading tech-led estate agency brand, the one which puts consumers in control” explains Carter.
“That’s previously been promoted as a national characteristic and the agency has talked a lot about that in the past. But the public probably doesn’t understand the scale of the network of Local Property Experts that we have. We need to emphasise the local connection, better explain to people the overall proposition that Purplebricks has, and the fact that it’s not all DIY on the part of the consumer - there are experts on hand locally to help.”
On the wider estate agency landscape, Carter has suggested that the current online agency market share of around seven per cent, means “there’s 93 per cent opportunity” although he emphasises that High Street agencies are here to remain ove the long term in some form.
But he notes that compared to other areas - including his own previous experience in hospitality - the estate agency world “hasn’t yet seen digital transformation” - and nor has it had to move significantly towards digital practices during the pandemic.
“More digital transformation of the industry is inevitable and there’s bound to be an improvement in the way we buy and sell homes - at the moment some of it appears to the consumer as if it’s a secret process between estate agents and conveyancers.”
*There will be more from Ben Carter’s interview with Estate Agent Today this coming weekend covering fees, the Purplebricks app, Boomin, marketing strategy and how the agency can shed its image of being the industry hate figure of the past.