Quinte, On. real estate agent: Cross Marketing for Real Estate Agents.

Cross Marketing for Real Estate Agents.

I have spent a lot of time trying to think of innovative ways of marketing myself. Most business people who use social media have become familiar with the term "personal branding". Personal branding makes a lot of sense since most of us are trying to stand out from the crowd, and just riding the coat tails of your brokerage's image  won't cut it any more.

One of the agents in Canada who has taken personal branding to the next level is Active Rain's own Valerie Zinger. She is an Ottawa area agent, but her newest campaign has been very effective, so effective in fact, that her name is well known in my area, more than 200 miles and three real estate boards away. I'm not sure, but I'm pretty certain her name is on the tips of people's tongues all over our very large nation. I will have to check on that. Maybe some of you can enlighten me on that.

I don't know how she managed to swing this, but her cross marketing campaign with Kentucky Fried Chicken must be paying dividends for her. I went into my local KFC and ordered one of her box meals the other day (I know, I know, fried chicken isn't healthy, but I was hungry and in a rush).

I really like the way that her boxed meals are presented. They look fiery, hot, spicy and full of passion (I guess being married to a French fellow can add a lot of passion in your life - I'll let you in on a little secret though, she's really a Prairie girl, so that passion must be a learned trait).

I also like the way that they have captured her essence with a simple word, "wicked". It's very effective, very concise, and doesn't beat around the bush. I'm not sure how much money Valerie must have spent on this marketing campaign, and which advertising agency she consulted with to come up with such a sleek look, but I'm mighty impressed. I'm thinking that it's well beyond what I can afford on my advertising budget this year.

I also admire her attention to detail and the consistency in her message. I would go as far as saying that I believe her French language campaign to be even more effective. "Diabolik" is a rough translation of "wicked", but is a closer translation of "diabolical". It's strange how hard it is to translate adjectives exactly from one language to another. I have not met Valerie in person, but I can imagine that she spends some time on diabolical things.

The food was your standard KFC (or PFK for you Francophones) fare, some chicken, fries, a chicken sandwich and a coleslaw salad (my choice on the salad). But that's not the point, the medium is the message. Valerie has managed to get her name out there far and wide, and that's really what advertising is all about.

I'm not going to have the budget to compete with Valerie this year, but I'm hoping for a big year in 2012. If I put my nose to the grindstone, tighten my belt with some expenses, I'm sure I can convince someone out there to get involved with a cross marketing campaign. I have some ideas, but I might as well start at the top.


Comment balloon 20 commentsMalcolm Johnston • January 07 2012 03:17PM


Wow! now that's out of the box  thinking (pun intended). Thanks for sharing Valerie's methods.  I'm going to look her up to see what else she has cooking ( sorry, I couldn't help myself).

Posted by Ron Cooks, Texas Real Estate, Ft Hood/Killeen Homes for Sale (The Real Estate Marketplace) about 8 years ago

Ron, Valerie is a wizard at getting her name out in the public domain.  I have learned a trick or two from her.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) about 8 years ago

Gives us all something to chew on.

I too see such marketing, self-branding giants. But I'm guessing it's her personality too. Is it for me? Nope. That's just not my style. But one can stir the pot in many more ways than Zingin' the crown.

Posted by Charlie Dresen, Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro (Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty) about 8 years ago

Malcolm - Well, next thing I know, I'll be in the big McD restaurant, and just under the Happy Meal will be the McMalcolm meal! 

Valerie "The Zinger"'s marketing methods are certainly "diabolique"!  Why is it that some of the nicest Realtors@ are all in Eastern Canada?!!

Posted by Sally Weatherley, Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C (EXIT STAGE RIGHT) about 8 years ago


              I am with you! What were the costs for that? I don't think it would fit my budget either. Working with other businesses to promote you is always an effective strategy. However, they do not have to be major corporations. For example, I promote a cleaning ladies service for her and in exchange she promotes me. I always come across people who need a house cleaned and she always comes across people who want to sell or buy. Doesn't cost a dime. Valerie's idea is a great one and just another example of what your are talking about..."Cross Marketing". Something we as Realtors should always be doing no matter what the level of marketing it may be. Good Post Malcolm!

Posted by Wayne Goss, THE MYSTERY MAN (Keller Williams) about 8 years ago


You've got a great sense of humour and quite the writing style.

I'll check back to see what Valerie thinks of this.



Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) about 8 years ago


Hi Malcolm - Thanks to my parents' choice of nickname, I've been able to cross-market in several directions my entire life - it's not always a blessing, but I've learned to make it work for me.


Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) about 8 years ago

HI Malcolm,

Too Pfunny, you are the McMalcolm Man, and between you and Valerie, you have every creative marketing angle covered...


Posted by Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986., Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490 (eXp Realty, Victoria BC www.pfanntastic.com) about 8 years ago

Malcolm - LOL ..... how funny is that ..... the best advertising is what others say about you. Valerie will get cross country recognition from this post. Now every time I pass a KFC I will Laugh

Posted by Kathy Clulow, Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results (RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage) about 8 years ago

Hmmm... Malcolm "Ronald" Johnston... I think you might be on to something... just don't count on local police to stop the Hamburglar ;-)

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 8 years ago

Great post on effective marketing.  I hope Valerie can find ways to take full advantage of the KFC advertising and promotions.

Dahlias in Kentlands IMG_0185


Photograph by Roy Kelley using a Canon PowerShot G11 camera.

Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) about 8 years ago

Malcolm--I am smiling from ear to ear as I type my comment.  Love both you & Ms Zinger.  Have fun in 2012.  Can't wait to see what VZ comes up with next.

Posted by Mary Yonkers, Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor (Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate) about 8 years ago

This post has made me very hungry Malcolm! Cute costume by the way!

Posted by Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!, So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR (Red Rock Real Estate) about 8 years ago

wow... that must have cost her a bundle.. wonder if it is worth it for her.. I love your "you as ronald" photo.. very cute.!

Posted by Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC, Selling the Upstate since 1989 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner) about 8 years ago

Never even thought of this type of cross-promotional marketing...mmmm, KFC....wait, what was I doing...?

Posted by Karen Hawkins, MBA - Langley & Surrey, BC (Royal Pro Real Estate Network) about 8 years ago

Charlie, indeed, I was chewing on it for a while.

Sally, we are all in Eastern Canada so we can get together and have tea every once in a while.

Wayne, that's a very effective grass roots way of promoting your business, like a min version of a BNI group.

Brian, I hope you have checked back, Valerie has weighed in.

Dick, I would be interested in how you cross marker with your nick name. Don't be a Richard, spill the beans.

Peter and Linda, Valerie has the angles covered, I'm just learning.

Kathy, when you pass KFC, pop inside and get yourself a Zinger meal.


Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) about 8 years ago

Valerie, I knew it all along, you have an inside track with the Colonel, that explains it.

Chris, I was thinking more along the lines of "The McMelancholy meal" courtesy of Malcolm Johnston.

Roy, I hope so too (although this post is tongue-in-cheek).

Thank you Mary, we love you too.

Thanks Wanda, it was a struggle jumping in those shoes.

Sheila, I hope its not costing her anything.

Karen, you were contemplating going out and getting a bucket of KFC.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) about 8 years ago

Malcolm you had us laughing, you are such a 'ham'.  Good luck in 2012!

Posted by Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers, Our Family Wants To Help Your Family! (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 8 years ago


Malcom, This is very impressive.  Also very bold of KFC as well.  I imagine it costs more than one wing and a leg.   I hope it does pay her big dividends. 


Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) about 8 years ago

Thanks Al and Peggy, I'd rather be a ham than a chickeb any day.

Kathleen, it is indeed a bold boxed meal, I'd go as afr as saying it's diabolical.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) about 8 years ago