Marketing To Differentiate At The National Association Of Realtors


When and how will the next waves of tech disruption sweep through the real estate industry? What roles could marketing play?

At The National Association of Realtors, today’s marketing strategy attempts to keep tabs on disruptive scenarios, at the same time underscoring the value of the realtor.

I recently asked NAR chief marketing and communications officer Victoria Gillespie to shed light on the organization’s marketing initiatives.

Paul Talbot: What process does the National Association of Realtors use to create, manage, and update its marketing strategy?

Victoria Gillespie: NAR’s marketing strategy is an outgrowth of our strategic plan and is reviewed and updated regularly to reflect evolving consumer sentiment, market conditions, and legislative and regulatory developments.

From an internal perspective, we ensure our messaging is in alignment with NAR’s core values, defined by NAR CEO Bob Goldberg—to put members first, communicate, collaborate, respect, and lead change.

We have adopted a centralized, holistic approach to our marketing strategy by consolidating the teams that spearhead NAR’s content, communications, public relations, digital, and social presence to ensure one voice, one tone, and alignment of messaging.

That message is thoughtfully weaved into every communication we produce to:

  • Demonstrate the value of a realtor to consumers.
  • Distinguish realtors from the rest.
  • Deliver the realtor difference.

Talbot: What’s important for the NAR to communicate to your 1,300+ local and regional associations? How have these messages changed significantly over the years?

Gillespie: NAR works in concert with the local and state associations to have a unified, powerful voice in influencing and shaping public policy, setting recognized standards for ethical real estate practice, and contributing to the betterment of the real estate industry.

The three levels of the realtor organization work closely together to emphasize the importance and value of realtors in their communities; our consumer ad campaign, “That’s Who We R,” is our most recent and one of our most effective tools to help deliver that message.

Talbot: What’s the strategy behind the “That’s Who We R” campaign?

Gillespie: It is a rallying cry that instills pride for members in their everyday actions and is an education for consumers about the realtor difference. The campaign aims to reinforce the value realtors bring as advocates for property owners, as engaged community members, and as trusted advisors with in-depth knowledge of the industry.

It’s the realtor code of ethics that inspired the campaign. The ads feature compelling stories about humans helping humans find homes, build communities, and turn business dreams into realities.

Talbot: How is today’s marketing strategy addressing potential competitive threats which could come from regulatory or tech sources?

Gillespie: The real estate industry is extremely competitive. NAR does not dictate its members’ business models, and our large, diverse membership is always looking for new ideas and ways to serve their customers.

While our strategy with consumers is about defining the realtor difference, our strategy with members starts with continually scanning the landscape and then developing the business tools and intelligence to help our members respond to changing business practices and consumer demands.

NAR actively seeks out and supports the adoption of technology and works closely with technology start-ups to help them better understand our industry and serve our member base. At the same time, we work with regulators and legislators to advocate for policies that are pro-business while protecting consumers to ensure housing remains affordable and attainable to all.

Talbot: From the NAR’s perspective, what significant changes are impacting the association’s core messaging?

Gillespie: Our members are working in a world that’s more information and data intensive than at any time in history. They have to absorb constant change and be the masters of data on their market. At the same time, they continue to bring that all-important human touch to their work.