Corcoran shifts to web advertising

By Lauren Elkies | March 18, 2008 03:56PM

As home buyers and sellers become more Web savvy, more want to be kept abreast of real estate activity in real time. That’s led the Corcoran Group to scale back its print advertising and put a greater emphasis on online advertising, the brokerage says.

Corcoran president and CEO Pamela Liebman spoke about the strategic change at a recent panel discussion at an Inman Connect conference.

“We changed something at Corcoran this year,” Liebman said at the panel. “We are not doing any more print advertising that’s not an open house. We’re not doing any more regular classified ads.”

Liebman said that the brokers embraced the change.

“We didn’t get a lot of resistance to it,” said Liebman, who declined to comment on the change.

While the Web once generated 20 percent of Corcoran’s business, Liebman said it now accounts for 60 percent. 

Liebman said that while Corcoran is a big advertiser in The New York Times, companies need to be cognizant about where they commit their advertising dollars.

“I think you have to be careful what [dollars] you put where,” Liebman said. A broker’s listings, she said, can get lost amidst the flood of ads in The New York Times real estate section.   

The Web is nothing new for Corcoran. The company has drawn praise from the real estate community for having one of the most innovative residential brokerage Web sites.

“We’ve been shifting away from print as much as we can over the past few years,” Liebman said.

Further evidence of the shift, she said, is what happens when the company doesn’t use print ads.

“We do ‘black out dates,’ where we do no print advertising at all and we’ll have open houses. The traffic that we have at that open house doesn’t change one bit,” Liebman said.

Many other companies have started focusing more on Internet rather than print advertising.

“Today, we observe that, more and more, the Web produces noticeable results,” said Elizabeth Stribling, president of Stribling & Associates. “As a result of this, we have repositioned our budget to include more interactive advertising rather than traditional print medium.”