I’ve been in and around the commercial real estate marketing scene for years and made some really great friends that I respect and love learn from. I wanted the #CRE industry to see the amazing work and how these creative innovators think. So this is my #KeepingCRESocial Q&A series with the top marketing folks in our industry killing the game!
Sarah: Tell me about your background and why you decided to work in commercial real estate.
Ashley: I’ve been in the commercial real estate industry for over 15 years wearing several hats from marketing, broker, asset management, development, raising capital and a CREtech startup. I was hired on by Grubb & Ellis right before the market tanked and have loved it from day one. I live eat and breathe commercial real estate. There’s nothing like seeing a deal all the way through to close and seeing the outcome of a new business, building or return on an investment to clients. Especially the most difficult ones that maybe fell apart or you felt may not close and you do all you can to make it work is even more satisfying.
S: Tell me about your current role and about your company.
A: I’m excited to announce I’m joining forces at a new B Corp brokerage firm called Community Ventures|RE. B Corp Brokerage is different than the typical commercial real estate firm. Instead of doing pure leasing and sales we put a lot more effort into advising and empowering our clients, ensuring the projects we are involved in build a better community for the area and providing a service that is unmatched. I’m the Director of Operations & Market Development, essentially organizing the office and brokerage teams as well as bringing in business and creating deals start to finish. Its exciting to be starting another company alongside Michael Schnabel, who is the Managing Partner & Founder, and who I’ve worked with for almost 7 years. To be there from day one, being able to have input and see how we expand over time, it’s a real feel of accomplishment with its success.
S: Who or what do you look to for inspiration?
A: When I first started at Grubb & Ellis, I had a small background in residential real estate and very little knowledge on what went into commercial. I was hired on as marketing director for the retail and investment teams to start. Ken Mattison and Rick LaMay were the VPs of each service team and fortunately took the time to teach me the ins and outs. Typically (from what I’ve witnessed) people get hired into brokerage firms and they don’t get a lot of leadership or opportunity to shadow the top brokers. Im very thankful I was given that opportunity and they both showed me everything they could…from leasing to sales to having a heart in the deal to making sure every T is crossed and I is dotted and most importantly don’t be lazy. Pick up the phone…take new meetings and clients weekly…do your due diligence…service your client better than any other and know everything about each project or deal you’re working on. Too often I see, especially now, brokers have become lax…they start the deal but don’t want to put in the elbow grease or educate themselves on the process. At Community Ventures|RE our teams will have the technology, training and experience to ensure we don’t fall on that list.
S: What are the digital marketing trends you are most excited about?
A: I’m excited to see a push (even if small) into the right direction of brokers wanting and needing transparency in technology for tracking the market and for property listings. There has been in a leap forward in bringing on marketing additions and new platforms that have created a solution for digital marketing easier than it has been before. Time is money so hopefully we continue to see this growth and investment in commercial real estate technologies that won’t also rob the bank…
S: What advice do you have for marketing folks just beginning their careers in commercial real estate?
A: Make sure to understand the project you’re marketing and always think outside of the box on how to market specific listings and to who and how. A lot of firms take the easy “known” approach to all listings or projects and I find more success on making them all individual to ensure the marketing focus is dead on and no time or money is wasted. The time you recommend something new to your broker or team and it’s a big win…number one there’s no better feeling…number two you’ve shown your skill in both marketing and understanding of the CRE arena and most likely earned yourself a pretty penny and job insurance!
S: What technology do you use to help you do your job?
A: Coming from helping start and run a CRETech company I use a lot. To name a few in no particular order GSuite, Slack, LoopNet, CoStar, STDB, Nevada Site Locator, ClientLook, Feedly, Hootsuite, Box, Mailchimp, all social media platforms for business and that’s just a few…
S: What is the biggest opportunity you see for our industry and how do you see marketing helping to solve that issue?
A: I think the greatest opportunity is adopting CRETech and utilizing these tools to enable the broker to do more business while actually servicing their clients and it not taking the time and as much elbow work as it used to. There are so many platforms that can make marketing projects so much easier for the marketing team and broker. In addition, I’ve been the “client” and there’s nothing worse than having to chase down your broker to see whats the marketing/project update. So many brokers have fallen into this lack luster service to their clients and it really turned off a lot of investors from using a broker. The biggest edge you can have is being on top of keeping your client “in the know” without them having to follow up or get the perception that the days of using a broker is coming to an end. Giving full transparency into the deal to your client and team will in my opinion put you above the rest.
S: Ok last question… You finish this Q&A and you remember you have a lotto ticket and forgot to check the numbers. You check the numbers and you discover you won $10,000,000. What do you do?
A: First totally freak out!!! When I wake up from passing out my first thought goes to paying off my families, close friends and any of my debts…Research and nail down the best avenues for investing…give to my favorite non-profits and candidly Im sure some retail therapy would come into play. Last but not least I would travel. My first destination would be Switzerland, Zermatt to be exact. I was fortunate enough to live there for a time as a child and travel Europe and haven’t been back since….from there who knows but I can tell you I won’t be going to Disneyland :)
Ashley has over fifteen years of brokerage, operations management and marketing experience for a national residential firm and multiple global commercial real estate firms. Most recently focused on commercial real estate technology as director of operations, global business development and senior account executive with Capstak as well as director of operations, broker and asset manager for all of Michael Schnabel’s companies. Proven success in developing high level global relationships with top executives in CRETech, global brokerages, commercial banking, capital markets, developers and national association’s. In less than nine months of launching Capstak, she and team were able to gain and retain 90% market penetration and build strategic relationships to further the company and data prospects. Awarded commercial deal of the year from CREW in 2016 on a successful disposition of an office project.
In the year 2017 was globally recognized as one of the top leading tech executives by Real Estate Tech News, News Funnel and CREW. In July of 2017 was recognized by Duke Long as the top 100 people you must follow on Twitter in CRETech. Respected team member and leader in developing strategic marketing campaigns, gaining company and division recognition as well as being awarded high profile marketing projects for numerous local and national commercial real estate clients. Current member of CREW and NAIOP.
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