Zephyr is a real estate company focusing on San Francisco and Marin counties with a team of over 300 full-time real estate agents. Founded in 1978, the company has always operated with the idea that its agents are its clients, and are treated as such.
Serving the technologically sophisticated and innovative market of the San Francisco Bay Area, Zephyr also takes pride in being a leader in using data to empower its real estate agents and to inform and build credibility with its customers.
Melody Foster is the VP of Marketing & Web Development for Zephyr. She knows the value of finding and providing the right data at the right time to Zephyr's agents and the broader market. "Consumers today start the buying or selling process with a high level of information. Our sales people have to be informed at least as well," says Melody. "You can't get away without being data driven, especially in a highly sophisticated market that’s tech-driven by the proximity of Silicon Valley."
Real estate provides very particular challenges to working with market data. The geography dictates the economy: not only are the three most important factors of value location, location and location, but property law and housing characteristics can vary by jurisdiction. In San Francisco, for example, it is quite common to see TIC properties, which stands for "tenancy in common", a specific type of concurrent ownership. Since different markets have different house types, that also means they have different market data. Local market data is managed by local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) which can also add some challenges.
Real estate, like all industries, also went through a revolution in information technology. "When I started, brokerages still had floor books: binders of one-sheets, arranged alphabetically by street name, which needed to be updated each day to keep track of current inventory," Melody says of her early days in the industry. Today it's easier to get the data you need, but there are still many things to improve."Raw information from a standard industry data source rarely looks good, Melody says, "but at least now I can now make it look good, as well as more accessible, with Infogram."
Zephyr uses Infogram to inform its real estate agents, and to visualize and communicate market trends to its broader audience. For Zephyr, this material includes web sites, presentations, email newsletters, and print marketing. "Infogram makes it simple to get different output formats. I can put the same chart on the web, in a Powerpoint, or in printed materials."
"People actually tell me they want more charts," Melody says about the success of Zephyr's newsletters and marketing materials. "We can create mailings with data and charts that are neighborhood specific, and do that in an afternoon instead of a week."
Infogram also empowers Melody and her team to make sure that charts are a seamless part of Zephyr's communications. "I don't have to tell people what font to use. I don't have to be the brand police with our charts: Infogram does it for me," says Melody in reference to the custom design and style settings in Zephyr's Infogram account.
Melody has big plans for making Zephyr communications even better. "Of course, we're ever-evolving and improving. I always want to come up with ideas for interesting, different content for our communications. Even now, we’re working to present school information in a more visual way using Infogram, which I believe will be very helpful for our agents and their clients." We're happy to support those plans by continuing to develop Infogram to meet our customers’ needs in visualizing and presenting data.