2: Cultural Knowledge is Advertising Power

The auction industry continues to grow at a steady pace. And why shouldn’t it? When the economy is down, there are more sellers. When the economy is up, you can make more revenue per auction. There’s not a lot of legal U.S. industries with that kind of stability.

That must be part of why most auctioneers get their bearings by looking at other auctioneers. The National Association of Auctioneers (NAA) regularly polls its members and publishes its findings, to make it easier for auction companies to compare themselves to geographic and/or like-property competitors. This may help significantly for operational management, but it’s a limited perspective in regards to marketing, especially advertising.

Many of my clients and others I’ve talked to in hallways at auctioneer events also look to ebay and REALTORS to see what they are doing to market property. It’s a great first step.

I challenge you to observe retail entities, particularly large successful ones, to see what they do to make something appear of highest value and how they advertise it. Don’t let what a company makes or sells stand in the way of studying how they do it. Culture is moving, and all kinds of companies are innovating ways to communicate to the buying public.

For pennies a month (through online distributors), you can subscribe to magazines that show you these kinds of trends. I recommend from Biplane’s growing subscription list: Inc. Magazine, Fortune Small Business, Fast Company, and Popular Photography. Use that time in the airport between flights to skim what all the guys in high-dollar suits are reading. Schedule monthly or quarterly sessions at a book store or library to browse magazines and great books.

If you are familiar with google alerts, you can have the search engine send you weekly articles on topics relating to your market, to advertising in general, to concepts important to your buying (and/or selling) demographic. Plenty of applicable sites have RSS feeds, making it easier for the information to get to you.

Even though the NAA does a good job of covering many topics and bringing in non-auctioneer speakers, don’t depend on auction continuing education to fulfill all your educational influx. Pursue cultural trends not just competitor reconnaissance, and you will have competitors trying to figure out why you lead market share.

Taking It Personally

I grew up in a faith system with a lot of regulations. I measured my standing with God by comparing my life to rules and to other people. I’ve since left that religious environment and am now pursuing God without the trappings of tradition. It’s scary, sometimes awkward—more organic, like my relationship with my wife or brother or best buds. The less formal the encounters, the closer the relationships. I’m finding that God doesn’t have a long list of litmus tests, and none of his evaluation of my spiritual progress is built on comparison to others—just Jesus.

Since no one can attain that level of holiness, we find hope that we don’t have to—neither to punch our heaven ticket nor to maintain favor in the mean time. It’s grace: God accepting us for who we are and us accepting his eternal gift with a repentant heart, first for salvation then for the spiritual journey of life. I’m focused on following the culture of the Spirit, not the myopia of denominations or churches. So now I’m finding useful truth in places I’d never mined and growing more quickly and deeply than I ever did in my small ponds.


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