Communication in marketing is a two-way street. The promoter sends a message to interested parties and they are expected to receive the message with the intended meaning. However, this is not always the case. Some marketing messages are received differently than the author intended, which creates a gap or disconnect. A framework for marketing phases can help keep you organized.

Some promoters may find it helpful to use a response process model, such as the classic AIDA format: attention, interest, desire, action. It’s suitable for introducing a product or service and working methodically toward closing a sale. AIDA is a simple process that a sales person can use in personal selling but has limited appeal for large purchases that require special knowledge.

The innovation adoption model and the information processing model also have limited appeal for real estate. They focus on the effect of advertising and assume the buyer is listening and will act autonomously to purchase a product or service when they are convinced it is suitable. The innovation model is often found in product sampling and demonstrations. In comparison, the information model attempts to educate consumers so they can make an informed decision later.

The hierarchy of effects model is most used in real estate. It is characterized by a series of effects the client must experience before a purchase. HEF is used in the marketing of new buildings and neighbourhoods. The developer may erect a fence around the construction site with graphics that depict aspirational lifestyles. Their website educates the potential consumer on the features and benefits while offering a preview of floor plans. These messages or stories bring the prospect along a path of awareness, greater understanding of the development, and appeal to individual preferences. At some point, a consumer may develop a conviction that a particular development is right for them.

Each client segment of your business will connect with a different communication model. For example, prospective clients is most attracted to the hierarchy of effects model that helps them deal with the emotional overhead associated with the home buying process. Referrals are further along the process; they may have interest in specific properties or developed convictions about lifestyle and location and will respond to the information model. Repeat clients like supportive contact that reinforces their loyalty with gentle reminders.

Clients will respond to your marketing based on their level of involvement in the buying or selling process and the state of the market. If the market is hot, your client may be affected by a fear of missing out. Their reasoning process becomes do→feel→think. In comparison, if there are many homes to choose from, the slower process of learn→love→do must be part of the equation.

One scenario to be watchful for is dissonance that is a result of hype marketing. Clients possessed by FOMO will develop an attitude toward the home and the agent after the purchase rather than before. You can lessen dissatisfactory reviews by making sure clients understand their options and work through the process of learning to make good decisions.