Ideas for Establishing Local Marketing Groups

During the era of plentiful money and easy credit, many brokers and brokerage companies walked away from creative real estate marketing because it was not thought to be needed. Cash to the loan became the rule of the day. With that philosophy, many local real estate marketing groups have either dissolved or fallen on very hard times. However, in “tough” times, I have found creativity in marketing real estate to be most beneficial, especially in the local markets.

Some readers of this publication may be interested in starting a local marketing group. Here are two success stories that may give some readers ideas that can be used to grow a marketing group in their own local and surrounding market areas.

Several years ago, I began my own small commercial real estate company. I came to miss the sharing of ideas and the give-and-take received from the brainstorming sessions and sales meetings we had at my old company. As I was now just a small, single broker, newly established on my own, I set about making and nurturing relationships with other brokers in my area and shared ideas with them. Certainly, some were more open to sharing than others, but I needed the input from other minds, and I eventually realized there were other brokers who needed input from me.

I called a group of brokers that I had co-brokered deals with. These were individuals that I knew and had actually worked closely with to make deals happen. I came to know their work ethic, their methods and integrity. We eventually began to meet for lunch on a twice-monthly basis around my conference room table. There were originally 7 of us, but the group grew to 14 members as time went on.

Needing to coordinate a group of this size with a quick reminder of upcoming meetings, I created an e-mail contact list called “Thursday Brokers.” I can access that “group” online and write my reminder message just once and send an e-mail with just one click of the mouse so everyone receives it at the same time. I remind the group on Monday of the upcoming meeting on Thursday, and we usually have a very good turnout. Everyone brings his own lunch, so there is no expense outlay for the meeting. Out of 14 busy brokers, we usually have 8 to 10 present at each meeting.

The rules for our group are few:

  1. We only add another broker to the group by total agreement.
  2. Everyone needs to bring one property, one situation, one problem.
  3. No one gets to present a second property until everyone has had his original opportunity.
  4. We begin the meeting no later than 11:45 a.m. and adjourn by 1:15 p.m.
  5. Everyone respects the agency of the presenter.

Working on the principle that “no one person can attend all the weddings,” we have evolved into a very informal yet supportive marketing group, tied together by the Internet and, basically, no-host bi-monthly meetings. Our group has now evolved and includes 11 different firms, 3 SEC members, and 5 CCIMs, and we make many deals together, both big and small. We started small, but it is very worthwhile. The Thursday Group has formed a good nucleus for some of our more formal marketing efforts.

Another technique for forming a local marketing group grew from an informal gathering of brokers called “Tallgrass Exchangors.” We used to hold marketing sessions at Tallgrass Country Club. There was an inexpensive buffet served on Wednesday evenings, and brokers, developers and investors were invited to attend, each at their own expense. Following dinner, each attendee was allowed to present one property or brainstorm one property situation or one problem they needed help on or suggestions about. The evening lasted until around 9:30 p.m. Some discussions were quite interesting and free-flowing, and gradually everyone began to understand the value of a group discussion and learned other points of view and other ways to complete or resolve a given situation they were experiencing.

Tallgrass Exchangors lasted for several years with irregular meetings and no set agendas or formal leadership. I was finally able to get our local commercial council from the Wichita Area Board of Realtors and later the Kansas CCIM Chapter to sponsor the meetings. Eventually, we shifted to a one-day, twice-a-year format with moderators invited from outside the community, and we have been operating in this fashion for 18 years. As most of the members of the Society of Exchange Counselors and NCE can attest, a formal or informal marketing session is a good way to build friendships, sell or exchange real estate, learn about what works and doesn’t work, and grow our businesses.


  1. I can attest to everything Rod says but also must give him credit for organizing the group, sending reminders and keeping us on task as some of us tend to wander. Our sucess it directly tied to him!

  2. […] read Rod Stewart’s article in The Observer, “Ideas for establishing a local marketing group” ( For someone […]