No doubt that Compass has had a significant impact on how real estate brokerages compete. Compass grew by communicating to agents that they invest in the future of their profession by investing in technology. The point of this article is to demonstrate how a brokerage technology communication strategy is as important as the technology itself.
Investing in Technology
At conferences I hear competing brokers complain about Compass technology. They say “Compass does not have any technology that we do not have.” In a sense, those brokers are right – the average agent uses eleven different software platforms just to do their day-to-day job. What Compass offers is a platform, a one-stop-shop that combines all these tools and is designed with agents in mind. National firms or even multi-state regional firms understand the investment that it takes to build and maintain a national brokerage platform and we all know that Compass has the money to make this investment. It is insanely hard because real estate is operationally different across America.
If you compare and contrast any two brokers for their tech stack, you learn that they all have strengths and weaknesses. I stand by my belief that technology does not sell real estate, agents do. And the best technology in real estate is the technology that you use. It is the relationship between the software and the user that makes all of the difference. Excellence is driven by communication and Compass seems to be communicating with its agents while they build out their technology platform.
I saw this press release come out on July 1st, Compass Launches Ai-Powered Video Studio.
I do not know if Compass built Video Studio or licensed it – it does not matter. The headline screams “technology innovator” and they wisely add AI for Artificial Intelligence. Most people do not know what buzzwords like Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning is, but it sounds high tech and supports the mission of Compass to define their brand with advanced technology; it also seems to be working. If you look at Compass’s most recent earnings call, it shows that their agents are out-pacing this already hot market.
Creating automated marketing videos for listings has been around for at least seven years. I recall writing about it when Imprev launched it. Moxiworks purchased Imprev and the product is now called MoxiImpress. I believe that RE/MAX, REALOGY, and plenty of others have had this feature since the launch – probably 35% to 50% of agents have access to AI powered video for marketing listings.
Moxi is not alone with this competing technology. Property Panorama has been making property videos forever, so has Back at You Media, and Amarki. In addition to every professional photographer with a virtual tour application, and so many others. It is easy to build the video template and data tag it with RESO standard fields to use machines to build the videos.
Here is an examples of a MoxiImpress video:
Joe Skousen of Inside Real Estate recently told me that they have found a step even better than an agent simply just taking a few pics and doing it on their phone. The auto-creation from the pictures and turning it into a branded YouTube with strong, automatic distribution channels and so on, is where the key to success is. It gets the video, but immediately generates numerous views, traffic, and interest.
Here are a couple examples:
If you are a CoreLogic MLS user, perhaps the most modern solution is from Home Visit – which is integrated into Matrix and Realist. Not sure if it is available in every market, but I would expect it to be soon.
Sure – Compass did a really nice job of building out this technology. They have great brand management and style guides that allow their brand to pop across all media, including video. It looks really nice. What Compass executed better than others is the communication of the technology and the value to their agents. And considering how many agents are joining Compass, it looks like agents are listening.
From the press release:
Compass agent testimonials from the Listing Presentation in Marketing Center beta test include:
- “The first time I used Video Studio, I was floored at how quickly and easily it created a custom video. When I’m in a rush, I can create a great listing video in under a minute, but when I have more time I have the ability to edit the video further.” — Denise Bongiovanni, Agent, Compass New York
- “We love that in just a few clicks, we can have a sleek, modern listing video that matches our style and brand.” — Brian and Jason Knox, Agents, Compass Florida
- “Video Studio automatically populates room descriptions, which saves me so much time. And the ability to immediately push the video to my network as a digital ad is a game-changer.” — Michael K. Davis, Agent, Compass New York
Compass helps agents grow their businesses, serve more clients, save time, and stand out as valued, trusted and professional advisors in their markets. During the first quarter of 2021 Compass had revenue of $1.1 billion, an 80% increase from Q1 2020. While the U.S. residential real estate market grew transactions by 14% in Q1, Compass grew Total Transactions by 67%.1
Compass is home to nearly 21,000 agents operating in over 50 markets in the U.S. In 2020, Compass agents assisted home sellers and buyers to transact approximately $152 billion in residential real estate. With 4% of the U.S. market, Compass is the largest independent real estate brokerage by Gross Transaction Value.2
Winning with communications!
I was at the Gathering of Eagles conference speaking with a brokerage who was concerned about Compass coming into their market. The broker told me about the Compass technology platform and asked what they need to do to compete. Sadly, the broker owner had a better grasp on Compass technology than the technology that they provide to their own agents. That broker studied Compass technology more than they study their own.
Compass is winning the technology battle with communications more than technology. They blow their horns clearly and constantly. That is what makes them a great competitor.