Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Interview #3: The Landlord With Secrets

Today’s interview is with Drew DeMasters, a Marketing Consultant and Non-Fiction Author of “Landlord Marketing Secrets.” I’ve had the privilege of working with Drew and can tell you honestly that he is an extraordinary marketer and genuinely great guy. That doesn’t mean he gets softball questions.

Hi Drew! Welcome to the blog. You’ve been working as a marketing guru as the main focus of your career. What do you like best about it? Least?

Thanks, Kerry!  Great to catch up with you again.
The thing I love about marketing is that every business out there needs help with it and the successes I’ve experienced with some companies really, truly do translate for others as well!  And I think that’s because good marketing is about understanding consumer behavior and making real connections with people.  No matter whether it’s a Super Bowl commercial, a new store grand opening celebration or a YouTube video that goes viral to millions of views . . .  the reason why any type of advertising or promotion ‘works’ boils down to whether it really connects to people.  So, helping businesses understand and connect with their customers better really excites me.

As for what I like least?  Well, when I see good businesses with well-meaning, sincere people get caught up in internal politics and turf-battles, it leaves me sad and wondering ‘why can’t we all just get along?’  You know that the business owners and founders never wanted it to be that way but the egos and insecurity of people a bit further down the chain can actually hold a business back from achieving great things and reaching its goals.  I’ve seen it so many times, and that’s definitely the worst in my view.

When we were working together, I remember you writing your book during lunch breaks. What inspired you to take on such a lofty goal while working full-time and what kept you going?

That’s funny you remember that!  Yes, I was a regular at that McDonald’s in Venice for a couple years!  I had thought casually of writing a book for a few years before I actually started it, and I think what inspired me finally to the point of actually putting pen to paper (as they say) was really two things. 

One, I had experienced a number of successes doing marketing for clients on the agency side and really getting excited from seeing them enjoy the high of those ‘ah-ha moments’.  Those successes proved in my mind that I what I was doing was not a fluke, but something really powerful that could help a lot of other businesses too.

And two, that individual landlords and property managers maybe more than any other type of business owner really need help with how they market themselves, their properties and how they provide service to their residents.  As a rental property owner myself, I saw this huge need and opportunity to help a lot of investment property owners succeed more than ever in their rentals.

The book is 240 pages, so it did take me many months of writing during lunch breaks and on weekends.  My wife was amazingly patient with me and actually did the cover art that brings the book to life in its final published form.
What has been the biggest challenge of being an author--writing or promoting? What has been your most successful method of generating book sales?

Oh definitely promoting the book.  It’s a completely different kind of marketing than I’ve ever done before so I’ve really learned a lot through this process.  But since I love the business of marketing, it’s not been hard, laborious work so much as just a steady, evolving challenge.  A challenge I’ve helped many of my own clients overcome . . . how to find and connect with new customers!  

The three most successful methods of book sales I’ve seen so far are –
1)     Public speaking and presentations at tradeshows and conferences
2)     Article marketing
3)     Radio interviews

And wow, radio was a wildly new frontier for me.  For my first interview, I was as nervous as I’ve ever been in my life.  Sweaty palms, dry mouth, couldn’t sleep the night before, etc.  Way over-stressing it.  But the best thing I’ve learned with radio interviews is that it’s just a conversation between two people, not to a cast of thousands.  So, now I just focus on sharing an important message that can help people.  And low and behold, listeners do connect with you.

Recently, your company eliminated your job (stupid heads). Do you find yourself living funemployed (vs. unemployed) and what are some of the activities that you’re engaging in?

Oh, funemployed for sure.  I loved the company but had ended up in a role that wasn’t a fit for me at all so I couldn’t wait to leave.  And I consider myself very lucky that in 14 years of experience, I’ve only had one bad boss.  So yes, I’ve really enjoyed the time so far.  Spending a lot more time with my kids.  School activities.  Finally took the Warner Brothers Studio Tour with my wife that I’d wanted to go on for 10 years.  Took the kids to Disneyland.  Occasional walks, brunch and biking on the beach.  Doing more writing, speaking engagements and being able to help other businesses find and keep new customers.  That’s my passion.

For your readers Kerry, I would say this … don’t let yourself be defined by your job.  Be defined by your personality, your skills, experiences and who you are as a person, but not by your 9-to-5 job.  Time is the most precious resource anyone of us has, so we really have to use it doing something meaningful that you feel makes a difference.  Famously, that was Steve Jobs’ philosophy and one I choose to live by as well.
Clearly marketing is your passion since your book is centered around it as well. Will you continue with corporate marketing, focusing more on landlords or both? Are you working on another book?

I’m going to continue helping landlords in various ways and am creating some new products to help them market themselves.  Other industries that I’m particularly interested in are law firms, independent insurance agents and mid-sized retail businesses.  So, I may eventually write some marketing guides for each of them and setup a couple of new websites targeted to those niches.

Thanks, Drew for sharing your story with us. Anyone needing effective and affordable marketing consulting, please contact Drew at ddemasters@landlordmarketingsecrets.com. If you’d like to buy Drew’s book or learn more about his landlord marketing tips, visit www.landlordmarketingsecrets.com

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