Laura Petrolino

Effective Marketing from Bob the House

By: Laura Petrolino | January 22, 2015 | 
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Effective Marketing for Boring IndustriesBy Laura Petrolino

I know this house named Bob.

That’s right, Bob.

My friend. He’s a house.

That’s not a metaphor. Bob is an actual house.

A house for sale in Illinois. According to Bob’s Twitter bio, he’s in a very family-friendly neighborhood.

I honestly never thought I’d be friends with a house. I’m not against being friends with buildings and structures, but we just don’t generally run in the same circles (unless of course they are on a cul-de-sac and I run around the circle, then I guess we would…but that’s not the same thing).

But I’m certainly glad I became friends with Bob because he is a fantastic case study in effective marketing. 

A House that Tweets

I met Bob on Twitter one day last week. He read my latest blog post about the importance of community, and that launched us into a larger conversation.

Here are a few snippets from it.

effective marketing

As you can see, Bob the House is a family man, working hard to keep his family together and happy after his unfortunate split up.

Bob is also hilarious, and the man behind the moniker is a very clever marketer.

Bob’s profile is engaging and unique. He interacts with people and companies that can help spread the word about him as an “available house.”

He’s taken an industry that often uses billboards and bus signs for marketing and made it the talk of the town!

With an extensive background in sales, Bob the House’s creator told me he started the Twitter account because he was having a difficult time trying to sell the house through traditional methods, and figured he might as well try something a bit different.

It seemed homes were selling based on one component—price. Because that had never been his sales strategy in his other work, he wanted to shift the equation when it came to real estate sales, as well.

Effective Marketing from Bob the House

So what can you learn about effective marketing from Bob the House?

1) There are no boring industries, only boring tactics. Effective marketing is about finding the “click.” It’s about placing the right messages in the right places that resonate with and engage your target consumer. It’s about putting yourself in front of them in a way that tells a story about who you are and what you stand for.

Every industry has stories to be told and ways to tell them to help you stand out from the crowd. Don’t let yourself fall prey to thinking you have a boring industry, one that consumers won’t engage and connect with. 

Don’t know where to start?

Sit down with your team and start making a few lists:

  • Why did your current consumers choose you?
  • What makes you unique?
  • In what ways do you make your customers’ lives easier and better?

The answers to these questions will form the basis of the stories you have to tell.

2) Think outside the industry box. Often, what happens in an industry is a certain marketing trend will become popular, say SEO or webinars. And so, all of a sudden, every brand in the industry implements this single tactic, often unrelated to anything else they are doing or with no real strategy behind its execution. Obviously, as you can imagine, this copy-cat style marketing often doesn’t end well.

Instead, be like Bob. Don’t do something because everyone else is doing it. Understand your consumer and the message you are trying to provide and develop your strategy around those facts.

3) Be bold. Don’t be afraid to stand out…that’s sort of the point. Bob admits not many of the other houses tweet, since they can’t type. But he took a leap of faith, and asked the neighborhood school to teach him how to type so he could get in front of the potential buyers. Summon your inner Bob and go for it.

4) Measure, measure, and measure. As much as you do need to be courageous to try new things (with a sound strategy behind them of course), you also need to make sure you know how effective those tactics are, and how you can adjust to improve upon them. Measure so you know what works, what doesn’t, and what needs to be changed.

We might all not have a house that tweets, but we can learn some very important lessons from Bob the House about effective marketing campaigns, and how to keep them engaging, unique, and effective, no matter what product, service or industry we serve.

BONUS: Bob is going to be joining us in February to speak more about the importance of sales and marketing working together for effective business results, and to provide a more detailed case study of his Twitter campaign.

About Laura Petrolino


Laura Petrolino is chief marketing officer for Spin Sucks, an integrated marketing communications firm that provides strategic counsel and professional development for in-house and agency communications teams. She is a weekly contributor for their award-winning blog of the same name. Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.