A few weeks ago, I celebrated my birthday. Happy birthday to me.

I received phone calls, texts, gifts and flowers from family, friends and colleagues. Plus, I received a range of birthday messages from people I deal with maybe once a year or once every 3 years (in the case of my mortgage broker, George).

818 Dental hoped I had a great day and a year filled with many smiles. My annual spend with them is probably about $1,500.

Mecca sent me an email advising that they have a surprise for me and all I had to do was pop in-store or redeem online within 28 days. I’m not a high-end purchaser and spend only about $300 a year.

My internet provider, iiNet, who helps themselves to about $700 annually emailed me to say “Happy birthday! Whether you’re partying hard or just having a quiet one, we wanted to send a special message from us for the best day of the year. We hope you have an amazing birthday celebrating exactly the way you want to.”

The gym, who – let’s face it – takes my money and never sees me, suggested that I could celebrate with my mates and start smashing fitness goals together. They then invited me to refer a friend. My annual spend with them is too much for no return on my behalf.

The team from the used-to-be-mighty-but-have-had-a-slow-start-to-the-season Hawthorn Football Club sent me a text. Spend is not important in this case. They are worth every cent.

Now, by far, my biggest ever purchases, besides hats for the races and dresses from Trelise Cooper, have been my homes and cars.

In fairness to the current car dealership, their service, nurturing and surprise and delight marketing is very good. I suspect remembering birthdays is not part of their strategy and I’m okay with that.

But the real estate agent who earned a bucket load of commission when I bought my house two years ago has never been in contact with me again.

It got me thinking about surprise and delight marketing tactics, nurturing your contacts to get referrals and just basically keeping in touch.

How much effort does a text or email acknowledging a birthday or purchase anniversary cost and why don’t we do it?

Here are the reasons why:

  1. Poor data collection

The property industry accepts chronically poor data collection. To harness the power of digital technology to change the way real estate is marketed and traded, you need to value data and data collection. Data collection and integrity needs to be a key part of your strategy. You should be prepared to hire and fire your sales team based on data integrity.

  1. Sloppy sales management

If you’re a sales manager who is only interested in chasing the next deal and think that data integrity is a croc, you are definitely not a team player. How do you expect your marketing team to make good decisions if the data they have to work with cannot be relied upon? Part of your role is to train your sales team and identify different ways to help them collect customer information. And then hold the team to account.

  1. Marketers don’t command enough respect

If the marketing function was valued as much as it should be, the marketer could demand great data to help the business make the right strategic decisions. Marketers – it’s time to say, “enough is enough”.

  1. It’s not important to the boss

If you are the GM or Project Director and don’t understand the importance of accurate data, then you’re wasting money. You must demand it of your sales team, in support of your marketing team.

  1. It’s not in the strategy – or there is no written strategy that everyone refers to

When developing your project strategy, part of the work that needs to be done is to identify what data needs to be collected to make great marketing decisions. If the team helps develop the protocols and it’s documented, then there’s always somewhere to refer back to.