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How CRE Marketing Evolved Over the Last 10+ Years?

July 19, 2019

From the maturation of mobile to the broad-scale adoption of CRM and data tech to the advent of social media and new online channels, marketing commercial real estate properties has transcended the physical into the digital space

As the popular adage goes, “change is the only constant”. This is true of all things, especially marketing and more specifically in the commercial real estate industry.

We gathered CRE experts’ insights from around the country and found that while there are many changes going on with CRE marketing, some fundamental elements are very much the same.

Commercial Real Estate Experts answer: How has CRE marketing evolved over the last 10+ years?

Commercial Real Estate Marketing Evolution Radius Group

“The main difference I see in marketing over the past 10 years is simply the utilization of inbound verse outbound marketing. With the development and use of technology coupled with the multitude of accessible social media platforms, inbound marketing has taken precedence over any other type of marketing.

The idea is purely attracting prospects and customers to your business, brand, website, blog etc. by creating valuable and relevant content rather than going out to find them.

– Tracy Albrecht, Marketing Director / Principal, Cawley Chicago


“Marketing property as a listing broker in some ways has changed tremendously over the past 10 years and in other ways is effectively a similar process. Technology, the distribution of information, reporting, etc. has evolved leaps and bounds over the past decade. Clients expect more information quicker than ever, and we utilize multiple tools to access this information and distribute. Many of the tasks that were done by hand or on print are now automated and released digitally. However the base principles of distributing information to as many of the right prospects has not changed, as well as creating a brand awareness that this is your brokerage firm’s expertise in the market.

We see print media, advertisements in newspapers, to be far less effective than social media marketing, e-mail marketing campaigns, etc. It is important for marketing commercial property to be utilizing multiple avenues of outbound marketing across website listing platforms, social media platforms, old fashioned postcards, e-mail marketing campaigns as there is so much information out there and readily accessible to prospects.”

– Kevin Olson, Senior Advisor, Nordlund Associates


The actual marketing process must utilize a variety of technological tools that were not available 10 years ago. Distribution platforms are much more plentiful, ie Loopnet, Crexi , and the website of the brokerage firm, etc.

The presentation material, by virtue of an offering memorandum has completely evolved over the years. The data used to compile and create the offering memorandum has become much more sophisticated and diverse. Details and metrics are expected to be presented in the process, but the manner by which that information is presented helps facilitate a deal through the contract / due diligence phase.

Thus a variety of software tools are currently available that allow us to store data, photographs and summary material. We are also able to present property websites to consumers so that they have flexibility in how they consume the information, and should information change during the marketing process we can make real time updates to anyone that has previously requested access to property information.

Finally, buyers that we have an existing relationship with, are managed more efficiently and can receive our communication more instantaneously when new offerings come to market.

– Kyle Keelan, Managing Partner, The Multifamily Firm


“The advent of social media and access to any and all information electronically has revolutionized both how properties are marketed and the efficiency of the real estate market at large due to easily accessible recent sales, current listings, leasing information, etc.

We have the entire commercial real estate industry at our disposal at the click of the button today, while 10-years ago this was still very fragmented.”

– Marcos Puente, Director of Acquisitions, MMG Equity Partners


“To remain competitive, it is crucial to leverage multiple forms of CRE technology at all stages of the deal process. Buyers today have increasing access to inventory and market data. A mix of social media, email marketing and listing sites must be used to achieve maximum visibility for active listings. However, with the flood of information on the internet, relationships are more important than ever. Buyers and seller’s need a qualified advisor to sift through the information and provide a clear and concise recommendation on investments.”

– Karly Iacono, Vice President Investments, Marcus & Millichap


CRE marketing has come a long way in really a short amount of time, which is saying something for an industry that has traditionally been on the slower end of change. Without digging too deep in the weeds, probably the most impactful technology driver for ALL marketing over the past decade has been the advancement of mobile. CRE professionals have had to adapt to the evolving ways that consumers seek, view and exchange information. Really the expectation now is that all messaging is optimized first for consumption on your handheld device, so it changes the way you promote your properties. At a minimum, your website must be fully optimized and responsive to satisfy those who may be calling it up via mobile versus desktop.

But it goes way deeper than that, and in many ways CRE marketers have had to get back to basics.

For example, I’ll throw a few old adages out there that are just as relevant today as they were yesteryear. First, nowhere more than on mobile is the adage “less is more” the rule. While technology has been great for expanding the options to reach consumers more quickly and broadly, it has also created a lot of noise. People are moving, moving, moving, making their time and attention limited. So a premium is placed on messaging that is targeted, direct and concise so your target can cut through the clutter created by so many platforms vying for attention, including email, social media, online advertising, traditional media, etc.

That leads me to adage #2, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Mobile has made it more important than ever to focus your CRE messaging on the Marketing 101 principle of the Unique Selling Point. In other words, what are the hooks, the key differentiators of your offering, that will resonate with another broker, potential tenant or investor. What separates your property from that other, nearly identical property that I see on LoopNet or wherever. Knowing when the location, rate or roll-up-door is the headline can mean the difference between a potential lead clicking through to your offering or passing you by altogether.

So I guess today when it comes to CRE marketing and technology, in some ways everything, and nothing, has changed.

– Vince Coronado, Director of Marketing, Radius Group

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