[SURVEY] CRE Marketing and Technology Problems 2016

Got marketing or technology problems? Curious about the challenges other companies face? 

We’ve heard almost every challenge you can think of over the last 4 years of CRE Marketing.

It’s actually one of the first questions we ask when we first meet you, because it’s our job to solve them. Each year we collect a list of problems from our customers and our network and we work to solve them through our marketing and technology products and services.

Take this 10 minute survey and don’t forget to add your own sticky marketing and technology issues.

After you’re done we’ll send you the complete survey results as well as a special thank you.

start the commercial real estate marketing survey

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Top 5 Digital Marketing Project Mistakes

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[WEBSITE] Meissner Jacquet Commercial Real Estate Gets a New Design

Commercial Real Estate Web Design

It’s time for something bigger, better and more beautiful

We’ve been working with Meissner Jacquet out of San Diego, CA for just over 2 years. During this time we’ve expanded from their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software team to their Full Service Digital Marketing team. However, we realized we helped them outgrow the first website we designed for them. In 2+ years we’ve accomplished quite a bit, but as we expanded their search engine marketing reach it was clear we needed a website that’s a better fit for their new expanded goals.

A new website design that is visual, forward-thinking and educational

We thought their website design and development should follow suit. Here’s how she’s built:

We started from the ground up. We conceptualized and evolved their brand while creating a fresh new design. From strategy and target client personas to keyword research it’s all planned out before the first digital brick was laid. Our goal was to create a website that increased their visibility, thought leadership as well as to increase leads. We also wanted this website to be mobile friendly across all browsers and devices and easy to use for their staff. We used a fully responsive design on the WordPress Content Management System to make this site bulletproof.

This website is designed and developed to be ultra-flexible, scalable, secure and powerful.

These goals all work together to grow the engagement of their target audience. This strategy has already been working for their content marketing, but it’s time to do it with a little more style.

As usual, a new website launch is just a foundation Steelsmith Group clients. Our websites are living, breathing and evolving representations of the business and it’s people. Using analytics, feedback and regular brainstorming we’ll grow this website bigger and better each month as we learn more and expand the Meissner Jacquet Commercial Property Management brand across Southern California.

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Team Spotlight | Captain Steelsmith Human Resources


Captain Steelsmith, a 30 year old Puggle (that’s Pug-Beagle), is ashamed to admit he was born in the boonies about an hour north of San Diego in Winchester, CA. One of 5 brothers and sisters and more than a few cousins (he can’t for the life of him remember their names) he joined Steelsmith Group in 2012 and relocated to Seattle in order to start a satellite office. Captain holds a Professional Certificate in Human Resource Management from UC San Diego, but he ate it, so that fact tends to be a source of contention with some of the staff. Captain is currently working on some difficult qualifications like a Certificate of Get My Shoes, and an even more technical Certificate of Leave It.

A Typical Day at Steelsmith Group

Captain’s day begins with a short walk around the block to review his game plan for the day and to mark his territory. He greets the rest of the staff in order to get a sense of the general office morale and to lick faces. After taking a 4 hour power-nap on the office roof deck to stay sharp, Captain eats lunch and finally gets to work chewing on his chicken-flavored bone while occasionally howling at passing fire engines.

What He Brings to the Table

Captain is occasionally described by colleagues as “Alpha” while networking with other less intelligent professionals at the local park. His always-positive attitude and uncontrollable jumping on people assures expert communication skills while developing the training skills of others. His determination and unmatched skills of eating a half a cup of dog food in under 5 seconds are only matched by his superior food negotiation techniques. Captain Steelsmith is a respected pillar of the Steelsmith Group Team.

In His Spare Time

When not attempting to master the art of the ever-changing Human Resource profession, Captain enjoys sitting, waiting, fetching over long distances, high-fives, rolling over and is trying to perfect his form while crawling. His talents don’t end there. Captain can also walk like a human, speak and enthusiastically weave between the legs of willing participants. He is thinking of becoming a model part time to help save for a boat and is frequently found walking Green Lake squirrel hunting.


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Andrew Steelsmith, CEO | Seattle Marketing Consultant


A native of Washington State, Andrew began his career in the US Coast Guard and served 6 years as a navigation specialist, tactical coxswain and law enforcement officer serving anywhere from Equator to Alaska to Russia. After his service, he attended Diablo Valley College for Business Administration.

Shortly thereafter, Andrew started Mover Circle, an online brokerage specializing in the moving industry. Mover Circle is now white-label technology firm helping moving companies modernize their sales and marketing systems, including CRM system and mobile applications. He went on to create Steelsmith Group in 2011 as a digital marketing consulting firm. Steelsmith Group quickly became a full-service digital marketing firm and has grown to two locations in San Diego and now in Seattle, his hometown.

A Typical Day with Steelsmith Group

While actively overseeing all aspects of the business, Andrew is very active in the day-to-day Sales and Account Management aspects of Steelsmith Group. A typical day involves team meetings, strategy calls along with planning, research and analysis for potential and existing clients.

What He Brings to the Table

Andrew brings 10 years of digital marketing experience through all aspects of the customer lifecycle from Search Engine Marketing, Web Design & App Development, Content Marketing, CRM and Marketing Automation. His ability to plan a focused, long-term client strategy and communicate those plans effectively with his clients has been shaped by the nearly 100 clients he has served in the 5 year history of Steelsmith Group.

In His Spare Time

Update: Andrew’s married now, which we never thought would happen. He also bought his first Seattle home in October of last year and lives in the “transitioning” neighborhood of Greenwood/Bitter Lake/Broadview.. okay we’ll just call it North Seattle. His wife Christine (his better looking and more social half) lives with him an his 3 year old puggle, Captain.

Andrew is actively involved with several internet marketing groups on the west coast, and attends meetings and conferences often to keep up on current trends and meet others in the industry. When he has some time to kill, he’s out boating, playing the guitar and trying to develop a respectable golf game and salsa dance moves that don’t look awkward.

View Andrew Steelsmith's profile on LinkedIn


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Hospitality Marketing | The Passport Group | New Client

Steelsmith Group is pleased to announce The Passport Group as our newest digital marketing client! The Passport Group is a full service Commercial Real Estate brokerage specializing in the hospitality industry. Having been in the business for 20+ years, The Passport Group is ready for a fresh look and new digital marketing effort. To meet these needs we will enable a host of services including website design & development, search engine optimization, paid search, social media, content marketing, email marketing and CRM services. We look forward to this unique challenge to increase Passport Group’s visibility and reputation, while helping them achieve new clients through our digital marketing efforts. We are proud to add The Passport Group to the Steelsmith Group Family.


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Want to Reach Your Audience Effectively? Get Personal

B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer) are common ways of classifying business relationships and commerce transactions. Recently there are more categories we can add, namely P2P (peer to peer) or H2H (human to human). No, we aren’t befuddling you with molecular structures from chemistry classes of yore – these are real terms.

As such, P2P has gained traction in lending, fundraising and networking, effectively changing the way people and businesses communicate. Think of P2P platforms like Etsy or eBay – these are examples of people dealing and trading with people, not necessarily a conglomerate. This represents a great deal of opportunity for those who can take advantage of this new commerce space.  Specifically, business and marketing professionals can learn a thing or two from the P2P’s. Let’s dive in:

It’s All About People

No matter what type of industry you’re in, you deal with people. (Most of the time – there is the occasional gecko selling insurance.) It has become nearly necessary to make those personal connections as best you can. Understand your audience on a human level by considering feelings, emotions, needs and wants. Given the speed of the digital technology in an increasingly online world, it’s more important than ever for an organization to show a little – or a lot – of humanity.

Fortunately this is entirely possible in our now highly interconnected marketplace. Digital media and careful marketing techniques can provide a complete profile of your customer in real time. This allows companies to better predict what customers need and understand more accurately what they want.

One way to accomplish this is by creating effective P2P (or H2H) channels to enable dialog. Not just for broadcasting – although a tidy benefit – but the primary goal is to listen and learn from those you are trying to connect with.

Can I Automate P2P (or H2H) Marketing?

Building trust is what marketing is all about. Marketers are already at a disadvantage, as customers tend to trust other customers more than businesses themselves. In fact, customers trust peer-to-peer recommendations a whopping 92% more than advertisements or recommendations provided by companies. Therefore, it is important to build an effective digital marketing platform that integrates people, technology and business.  As a result, businesses can directly reach target markets and connect with influencers who were previously blocked by gatekeepers or powerbrokers.

The ultimate struggle for organizations is to determine how to reach the individual person and do it at scale. Fortunately new technologies have opened an abundance of new possibilities, which we can help you with.

Tips from the Pros

Don’t complicate communication strategies – keep it genuine and simple. Think of it like a one-on-one conversation – what would you say if your customer were standing in front of you? While you are carefully crafting your marketing communications, be transparent, inspiring, educational and especially, entertaining! Just like people, when organizations are approachable and easy to interact with, you win more promoters who are more likely to recommend you, and eventually buy from you.

The goal is to demonstrate that there is a real and honest team of people behind your brand. You aren’t the big heartless corporation who couldn’t care less about the little guy. You care! And your customers care. Talk about what matters to your followers and target your markets as individuals. When you’re reaching out in a genuine manner and invest your time in getting to know them, they are much more likely to invest in you.

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Amplify! Your Story Across Digital Channels

You have a great amount of power thanks to the high quantity of digital media channels available today. They allow you to interact with your clients where they hang out every day. From there you are able to acquire new leads, retain current customers, and expand your brand. Never has it been easier to nurture markets and engage communities by connecting with them on their level.

By offering you audience choices by which to interact with you via emerging digital media platforms, you can tremendously increase your opportunities to connect with them.

A Golden Opportunity: The Good News and the Bad

Digital multi-channel marketing is a double edged sword. Like we said, it has never been easier to market your brand to prospects. Yet it is also extraordinarily challenging to maintain the many different plates you must be spinning to run successful digital marketing campaigns. Leveraging the multi-channel marketing via email, social, mobile, and web is both your biggest challenge and easiest endeavour.

Why easier?

Marketing today is easier because cost barriers of entry have come crashing down. Thanks to advancements in technology, getting your message out have never been easier or cost effective. Think about it – sending out emails is much cheaper and simpler than sending snail mailers. And that’s just one example – think about what you could be spending on billboards, newspaper ads, white pages ads…it can be exhausting.

Additionally, there are a great variety of channels for prospects and customers to engage in, providing more ways for you to personally (at least seemingly so) interact with customers than ever before. The number and variety of channels have increased at such rapid speeds, and expert marketers are constantly thrilled with new ways to get a hold of prospects for the benefit of clients.

Why more difficult?

While we never want to bring you bad news, we’re going to. Marketers are presented with more challenges in the digital age as well. The result of having so many options available also presents the special challenge of creating a consistent customer experience across all channels. This was not nearly as much of a problem when channels were down to less than 5. The digital world is more complex, multi-dimensional and fragmented than the billboard and brick-and-mortar worlds, with engagement solutions that are expected to be fast, personal, and interactive.

What can I do?

The key to running a powerful digital media campaign is to understand and maintain a focused view of your dynamically changing customer across all channels. Who is your ideal customer? Establish a solid foundation by knowing who your audience is and what they want to hear. From there, build out the process by which you will integrate all that gloriously varied technology to support the delivery your message.

Like we said before, the biggest challenges are:

  1. Maintaining a consistent brand voice across all channels.

  2. Using them! Successful implementation requires highly orchestrated campaigns. That’s right, you are now a marketing composer with many pieces that need to move fluidly together.

With thoughtfully targeted messages to the right audiences via the channels they want to hear it – you’ll be on your way to proving to customers your brand is meaningful and trustworthy.

Simplicity is Key: Information Consolidation

If you don’t get it yet maybe you will now – digital channel management is a complex undertaking. If not executed properly, you could  be in danger of sending conflicting messages toward a single customer, undermining all of your efforts. Imagine the poor customer who receives one offer from your Yelp campaign, only to receive an email offering something completely different. If the messages and offers are not coordinated, the confusion that can ensue will almost certainly lose you business. The result is an inconsistent, if not contradictory, communications effort.

Be the savvy marketer. Constantly integrate clarity as one of the main objectives in developing a cohesive multi-channel strategy framework.

By the Way: Multi-channel Customers Are Crazy Profitable

Get this – on average, multichannel customers spend 3-4x more than single channel customers. Why? These are your savviest customers who know what they want. They are much more informed than other customers because they do their research before making buying decisions. This makes them more likely to be more actively engaged in the buying process, and less likely to suffer from buyer’s remorse – because they found exactly what they want.

Not convinced? Here are more benefits that come from creating an automated, sustainable delivery platform:

•    Reduced costs-per-action

•    Higher customer conversions

•    Comprehensive customer data across the entire media mix

Now bear in mind that not all channels are created equally. Determine the relative value of each channel as it relates to driving profits can help companies determine where they need to lean their heaviest marketing efforts. This can be done by leveraging newer technologies which allow for accurate measurement across channels to see what is working – and what is flopping.

Vary your marketing strategy by utilizing the fantastic new and varied channels there are available to you. Having an integrated multi-channel marketing campaign will create and nurture connections online. This is essential for the growth of organizations in today’s ultra-connect culture for the simple reason that you must meet your customers right where they are – online.

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Find Your Authentic Company Voice

It is Time to Speak Out

Your company’s voice, spoken right, communicates your brand loud and clear. Discovering and conveying that true voice is an ongoing  process that flexes as your company flexes. It is the foundation for the building of a strong brand that resonates with your audience. And it is the cornerstone of all successful marketing campaigns.

For most organizations, content does not receive the concentrated effort it deserves because  it generally falls somewhere between the cracks of marketing and design. After the draft is written internally, it is many times sent to outsiders to edit to gain a measure of objectivity. The reason?  These drafts often reflect the internal struggles many companies face when striving to articulate their own stories and find their voice in the market.

Your Voice is an Amazing Asset

An authentic company voice is a carefully integrated blend of content, brand and tone. Prospects and customers hear that “voice” and construct their sense of your organization’s identity around what they hear. The ability for them to hear what you want them to hear is critical to the health of any organization’s brand as a well-defined voice creates an intangible, but reverberating, echo of who you are and what you do. The key is for what you say to be credible. The worst thing you could do is try to sound like something you are not. More importantly, if your company does not define your own unique corporate voice, your competitors and customers will define it for you. Your potential asset then becomes a liability.

Is the Medium the Message?

Today content marketing has caught on as never before. It’s popularity has opened up a tremendous opportunity for you to get your message out. However, with this opportunity comes a much greater responsibility to get your message right – and to tailor that message for each medium in which it is presented. The voice used on your website, print materials, outbound marketing campaigns and social media should all have an underlying, consistent theme – but the tone for each may vary per medium (more formal on thought leadership vehicles like whitepapers , more informal on some social media platforms, like Twitter).

Voice is an adjective that describes your organization

“Tone” is the particular personality trait that intrinsically defines your organization.Your tone can make you stand out from competitors, communicate efficiently and effectively with your audience and broadcast your brand’s personality. To help you discover your tone, think about who your customer is, what you want to communicate to them and how you want to communicate with them (channels). And ask them who they think you are.

Practice Makes Perfect

Attached is a simple exercise to get you started in defining your organization’s voice by uncovering the words that your constituents feel best describe your company. It will take a participant less than 5 minutes to complete. Distribute it to a number of people throughout your company and to a few customers, prospects and vendors to capture each group’s perception of your organization.


Once you have gathered all the descriptive words review them carefully and record where there is correlation and disconnection. Drop out the duplicates, but track how many times they showed up. Then focus on the remaining words and select 3 to 5 that you think would best represent your organization to its stakeholders.

What emerges from this exercise can not only help your organization massage or reshape its overall content, but could also serve as the foundation of your most authentic, powerful voice. This may be a values and vision- driven exercise. Your values and vision drive what you do and why you do it. Your voice will reinforce the story you tell about your company and its products in a way that truly connects with both your external and internal audience. After all, they will have helped define it.

At Steelsmith Group, we are experts at guiding companies through to the creation of their unique voice and clear points of view.  We can help you tap into your imagination, and your stakeholders to let the ideas flow. Then we assist you in arranging these ideas in a logical written sequence designed to strengthen and underscore your brand.