The biggest marketing opportunities in real estate, for properties and for agents, is in the digital space and Douglas Elliman recently named Stephanie Garbarini as Vice President of Marketing to steer the brokerage through this all important landscape. Elliman Insider caught up with Garbarini to get her take on what’s next for digital, her favorite social media platform and why it was the right time for a switch from retail to real estate.
Tell us about your background in marketing.
I began in hospitality at the Mayfair Regent in Chicago building marketing strategies for both the sales team and the brand. I absolutely adore the service industry and providing the best possible experience for the customer. I then moved back to my home in NYC and worked at J.Crew for over eight years where I worked on both CRM and media strategies for their stores and catalog. It was a great time because the web was just beginning to develop and I was able to be part of the first website for the brand. I always lead with a strategy that is customer centric and is measurable so success can be determined to optimize the spend. I also love building partnerships with brands and led that team at Barneys where we built a holiday campaign with the Food Network.
How do fashion and real estate dovetail?
Fashion and real estate are both lifestyle brands and market extremely visual products. I think they are very similar in that it is critical that they not only have strong branding campaigns but the marketing and the media also have to work at the field and agent level to drive individual engagement and interest.
What inspires you?
My family. My husband Marc is my creative spirit and my two sons, Griffin and Hayden, are everything to me. My world begins and ends with them. I have a date night every week with Hayden (Griff is at college) and we walk into Bronxville for dinner and to catch up. Of course date night with my husband is important too. Griffin is going to be a Sophomore at Santa Clara University in California studying hotel management (loved having him home this summer while he interned at the new Equinox Hotel at Hudson Yards). Hayden is at Bronxville Middle School (he loves the outdoors and water skiing).
Beau, our French Bulldog, is our baby.
Why was Douglas Elliman the right move for you?
I had been looking to transition to either the real estate or hospitality industry and was very excited about the huge opportunity in digital for Elliman to drive them forward in this space. Service and relationships will always be at the forefront of what we do but we must begin to market with a digital mindset and mobile-led design direction. The other reason it was the right move was the people at Elliman! During the entire interview process everyone was so engaged and thoughtful and for me culture is so important and I was very impressed with the team and the spirit.
What untapped marketing opportunities do you see out there for real estate agents?
I think that although print and great collateral will always be important to showcase listings, the biggest opportunity will be in the digital space creating powerful, visual, dynamic ad units that feature a property in an elevated way. I think we have just begun to invest in the digital space and especially social. There is lots more opportunity to create a 360 marketing campaign for listings and their agents and ensure digital media is part of the strategy.
What’s your favorite social platform? Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter?
Definitely Instagram. I love photography and it is the best visual platform. I am on it at least 5x a day watching our competition and our own content. I also have discovered many new brands here and I think it is a huge opportunity for us.