U.S.-based firm features a fusion of brokerage and marketing

by Ephraim Vecina28 Sep 2016
A U.S.-based brokerage has incorporated marketing functions into its operations to great effect, providing a window into how exactly Canadian professionals can innovate in a highly competitive industry.
Surterre Properties of Newport Beach, California has its in-house ad agency, giving the company an edge in its branding, the LA edition of Inman.com reported.
“What we do is take it to the next level,” Surterre co-founder and chief marketing officer Paula Ansara-Wilhelm said. “We have 65 full-time employees, and they do everything. Whatever the agents need, even beyond marketing — because the agent’s time is best spent selling and being in front of clients.”
The ad team includes web and print designers, marketing managers, and printing press specialists. The cost of maintaining such a team—even though the returns on such an investment are enormous—is what’s preventing more companies from adopting the model, Ansara-Wilhelm explained.
“Other brokerages may do it on a smaller scale, but they often go back to outsourcing because they are not willing to sustain it from a financial standpoint,” she stated. “There wasn’t a shortcut. It took a lot of hours, and perseverance is one of the things that I attribute to [our] success.”
Ansara-Wilhelm said that a consequence of taking the long, hard road to innovation—which impacts facets as diverse as commissions and marketing allocations— is putting in the work required to stay on it, which will allow the firm to remain competitive.
“Those who think you can do business the same way it’s been done for 25 years may be surprised in five years,” she mused. “Agents need to be aware or have someone in their brokerage who is staying current and keeping them informed.”

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