Marketing Department Update (4/18/11)

Happy Monday all! As you may know, the Marketing Department was pretty swamped earlier this April as we prepared for our annual Awards Gala. (For more about the event click here). However, last week we started playing catch-up and are now rolling out a few new additions to you:

QR Code Labels
If you’ve been wanting to go sticker-crazy with QR codes you can now download these customizable labels from the Resource Center.  Stick them on the back of business cards, on flyers or pretty much anywhere. 


QR Code Signs
These 8×5 x 11 QR Code signs are now available on the Resource Center.  Download, customize and place them on Flyer Boxes at your listing.  

QR Code PREA eCards
You can now generate a QR code for each PREA eCard you create.  These can be placed on any printed materials and will take the user directly to the eCard on their mobile device.  While I haven’t yet determined the full scope and intent of this addition, a few top-of-mind thoughts include directing visitors to a J.D. Powers video eCard or the PREA newsletter eCard.  

QR Code Just Listed Cards
Out within the next week or two, the Just Listed cards through Xpressdocs will have the option to include a QR Code that can direct to the listing detail page.  I’ll shoot out a sample to you when available. 

Six Flags Client Discount
Back by popular demand is the Prudential Select Properties Six Flags discount for your clients which gives $45 off a season pass and $31 off a one-day pass. This eCard is now available in your website’s letter library.




Open House Survey
This open house survey is now available in a customizable Publisher format on the Resource Center. 


Creating an event with you in mind; the PSP Awards Gala

In the Prudential Select Properties marketing department there are five seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Awards season. Every year about mid-January we begin thinking about our annual awards banquet.  As we approach mid-April I sometimes wish we could shut down the department for a week. I actually tried that a few years back by sending a “The Marketing Department is Closed. We’ll return after the Awards” message out to the admin and mangers. . . .  no one found it quite as funny as we did. 🙂


I took a stroll down memory lane this morning and got out all the Awards Programs from years past.  The work that goes into these little books is surprising.  Over the years we’ve picked out special papers, troubleshot printing issues, collated, folded, stapled, hole punched, bradded, gold leafed, and more.  

In 2006 the booklet was designed to look like a picture frame and after ironing gold metallic on vellum and x-acto kniving each cover individually, Kinko’s botched the job and ruined all the meticulous work.  Kinko’s and PSP Marketing have had a few issues over the years. . . another year they cut they books in half instead of folding them.  Nowadays we don’t leave the store before threatening the manager. . . I’m sure we’re intimidating. 

In 2007 we were printing the books in the evening so we wouldn’t interrupt the agent’s printer usage during the day.  Some faulty designer (cough, Joe Cordeal) decided to create a black background for every page. . . . which caused the printers to overheat and the pages to melt together.   I think we were there half the night printing a few pages at a time then waiting for the printer to cool. Thank goodness for Matt Muren, one of our sales associates, who jumped in to help Sara Fedele and I with refreshments of pizza and bud select. 

And here’s 2008, one of my favorites.  We had the event at Mad Art Gallery, once a jail, which corresponded perfectly to our Monopoly theme. Alex Cota, our designer at the time, carried the theme meticulously through the event.    From customized PSP Monopoly board table covers to burlap money sacks filled with gold coins –  it really was outstanding.  Sara Fedele spent serious time hunting eBay for spare Monopoly houses while Jana Rice remembers cutting burlap circles for the favor bags until her hands were raw. 


The picture above is from earlier this month.  I had just finished cutting out the playing cards which were personalized with award winner names.  The cards were spread out on the floor of my office in an attempt to organize them by award winner order.  I’m sure I got strange looks from visitors passing by who probably thought I was playing a rather overzealous game of solitaire. 

Despite the work and occasional mishaps, each awards event is well worth the effort because we get a chance to celebrate YOU at one of my favorite parties of the year. This year’s Gala took place at the Nightclub of Ameristar Casino in St. Charles.  George Bruns and Maryann Vitale acted as MCs for the night and started the event off by giving away cash if you could answer their trivia questions. 

Our winners at a glance:

  • Top Team in GCI: Diane Denny Team, Des Peres 
  • Top Team in Units: Leslie Cheek Team, Jefferson County
  • Top Individual in GCI: Cindy Baker, Town & Country
  • Top Individual in Units: Theresa Curtis, Troy
  • Rookie of the Year: Mark Warren, St. Charles
  • Administrator of the Year: Julie Morrow, St. Charles
  • Top Sunshine Kids Listing Agents: Linda & Kelly Boehmer Team, St. Charles
  • Top Sunshine Kids Pledge Agent: Cindy Baker, Town & Country

After the awards presentation we mixed and mingled in the ‘Lounge’ with hors d’oeurves and cocktails aptly named the ‘Citrix Meltdown’ and ‘Tuesday Morning Meeting.’   This year’s addition of a photo booth provided a lot of entertainment and some great shots.  Take a look at a few select moments here:

For more pictures from the Awards Gala visit our Facebook page here.

To view and download your shots from the Photobooth, visit Click ‘View Your Event” and select ‘Prudential Select Properties.’  Enter passcode 040711 to enter the gallery. 

A big thanks to Jana Rice, Nancy Logan, Susan Cardwell, Susan Dempsey, Stacey Folk and Maureen Adler for helping to make the event a success.  George and Maryann, wonderful job, as always. 





What makes a ‘not to be missed’ experience?

We returned from the Prudential Convention 2011 in San Diego the week before last.  God, never take a 6:35 a.m.. flight back from a trip. Especially if it’s the morning after Fat Tuesday.  After three days of non-stop classes, presentations, sight-seeing and team-building activities (read that as bar hopping ) I was ready to collapse. George, of course, managed to spend the afternoon in the office.

Have you been to a Prudential Convention?  This was my second.  Last year, my first, was in Austin.  (Music, Mexican food, craft beer, and hole-in-the-wall bars; I was in heaven). But if you haven’t been, the Convention is simply something you need to experience.

As you would expect it offers you classes, introduces you to new tools, updates you on trends and presents networking opportunities.  The presentations are usually over the top.  Fireworks, smoke machines, light shows and big name speakers.  This year found us partying at PetCo Park one evening (by the way stilettos and in-fields do not work) and entertained by Jay Leno another.  Although my favorite presentation had to be Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, subjects of the motion picture The Blind Side.  They combined the perfect mix of comedy and purpose. 

However, it’s the intangibles that really make the experience.

For example, I think the convention is one of the best ways to renew your energy for the business. You get to look at what you are doing (and what you are not) with fresh eyes; it’s motivating.   I don’t think you can walk away without at least one new idea. Here’s a handful: 

·   Use your email signature to connect, especially in regards to social media. Seek out companies like WiseStamp, or connect to online profiles such as, Dooid, Google Profiles or Follr

·   Dive into social networking.  Prudential is even on board with a new online social networking site ( It rolled out on the 18th of March.  I’ll let you know more as I experiment with it. 

·   The person you just walked past is the one who can change your life.  So every once in a while stop and turn around.  

·   Ever just wished you could avoid talking to someone by leaving a message?  Try Slydial, a free online service  for going straight to voicemail.  Or if you’re like me and hate listening to voice mails, use a free voicemail to email converter from Google Voice, Phone Tag, YouMail or Jott.

·   Review your website and make a game plan.  Try Amy Chorow’s “5 Critical Elements of Your Website” for the best practices for 2011 below.


Download this file



I have to admit though, my favorite part of the convention is the opportunity to connect with your collegues. Oh the stories I could tell!  But don’t worry my convention buddies, my lips are sealed on most accounts and I’m only sharing these few pictures.  And Seeger, I’ve even resisted the urge to include the one of you on stage at the dueling piano bar. 


I want to thank George Bruns, Maryann Vitale, Deb Colburn, Angie Ignatowski, Jana Rice, Jim Von der Haar, Sarah Seeger, Ann Cordeal, Jim Dillas, Betty Urban, Pat Sobelman, and Laura Wilburn for such a wonderful time.  Hope to see you next year in Orlando. 


Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing
Prudential Select Properties, Your local choice for real estate |





Updates from the Marketing Department (3/16/11)

Last week I promised you an eCard campaign.  Today we’re taking our first steps at rolling that out.  The first four cards in the series include a St. Louis Cardinals baseball schedule,  a River City Rascals baseball schedule, a St. Patrick’s Day eCard and a Photos with the Easter Bunny eCard (for offices with client events)  These are now both now in your website system for you to use. 

How are these different from what we’ve been doing in the past?  For the last few years we’ve been making eCards as they are needed.  Every eCard has looked different than the one before; never providing that all important brand-identity we need in order to make an impact on consumers.

The new cards will be part of a branded series, focusing on our ‘St. Louis’ campaign and offering calls-to-action on the right hand side.  

Please note that the ‘login’ button and “apply for a loan’ button can be customized for your website.  It’s a quick edit and directions are below.  

Download this file

Business Cards

A few of you had requested business cards that reflect our ‘you know you’re from St. Louis when’ campaign. These two business cards are now available through Xpressdocs and you can choose one of two backs that have different ‘you know you’re from’ phrases.

However, if you want to order one of the standard business cards we’ve also created optional backs for you to use. Three of these backs include room for a ‘contact’ QR code. This is one of my favorite uses of QR codes. When scanned it adds your contact information into the user’s phone contact list.  Very practical. 


I’ve also spoken to Xpressdocs on having a QR code options on the Property Business Cards. Coming Soon. 


Listing Presentation: Your Voice Needed

Monday I sent out a poll asking you which CMA / Listing Presentation tool you use. . . Toolkit, eNeighborhoods, MARIS, Resource Center materials, etc.  I simply need to find out what is being used so I have the right materials in the right place.  A HUGE thanks to Art Vibulakaopun for being the ONLY agent to respond to the poll. If we end up with a listing presentation with every page customized to him, you’ll now know why! 🙂

A special thanks to Doug Hippler, Greg Bowen and Glenn Miller for the email follow-up on listing presentation ideas. 

If you want to take the poll on your preferred CMA options and voice your wish-list for the company listing presentation please do so here:


Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing
Prudential Select Properties, Your local choice for real estate |

Tuesday Tech Tip: Facebook Page Changes – A Quick Guide

Facebook Pages Updates – A Quick Guide

Facebook has major

changes to the design and functionality of its Pages, bringing them closer to individual user profiles in look and functionality. The changes impact the user experience visually, giving a more compelling look and feel to Pages; functionally, allowing brands and companies to operate more the way individual users do; but also by greatly increasing your ability to build richer application experiences using iFrames. In addition to having applications that perform better, brands will also have greater flexibility in the way they name them.

The changes go into effect for all Facebook Pages on March 10. Below is a map of the new features, followed by an additional summary of the changes:

1-Photo strip above the Wall (with most recent photos you posted or tagged)
2-Tabs move over to the left panel, in the form of a list (maximum of 6 above the fold)
3-Profile picture reduced from 200 x 600 pixels to 180 x 540
4-Blurb box that was below the Page picture moved to info tab
5-Pages can Like other Pages, not just favorite them
6-Featured Pages and Admins
7-Page category
8-Choice for Wall posts between “Everyone” and Page posts only
9-Mutual Friends and Interests section
10-Ability to interact on Facebook as your Page
11-Ability for admins to post and comment around the site under their Page’s alias
12-News feed of updates from Liked Pages
13-Pages can now feature iFrame tab applications
14-Email notifications when users post or comment

Note, very important: You can preview the new layout but once you upgrade, there is no way to revert back to the old design.

Photo Strip Instead of Tabs Above the Wall
The replacement of tabs with the photo strip at the top adds a dynamic, colorful element that will significantly improve the look of the average Facebook Page. The photos are drawn from the most recent ones you posted to your Wall and those you tagged, but does not include photos posted by fans. Users can hide undesirable photos. The new left nav placement of tabs also allows for longer tab names.

Expanded Functionality For Fan Page Admins
By enabling Fan Page admins to comment in the name of the page itself and to interact with other Fan pages, Facebook has finally made it possible for brands to truly engage in tremendous interactive engine which powered its growth among individuals. Your power as a page administrator is increased in a number of other ways, including the ability to set filters on your Wall so that visitors see relevant posts first, and to view all the content and get notices whenever someone posts to your wall.


Finally, you should review the new policies. While many applications like Flash will now function better on your Page, Facebook’s restrictions require you to limit their functionality until a user interacts with it.

That small black and white box

When we recently offered a ‘Select Circle’ class on QR Codes, the level of interest forced us to create two sessions.  I think the newest marketing craze has fully hit St. Louis real estate.

QR codes – that small black and white box –  allows a user with a smart phone equipped with a QR application to view a webpage when the user holds the phone over the QR code.

I know a few of you have been experimenting with code providers, namely Scanlife.  The PSP Help Desk ( been attempting to help you navigate through the difficulties you’ve encountered, but it’s been hard to trouble-shoot on platforms that we don’t control.  

However, this week our website system will launch an application that automatically generates a QR code for every listing. The application allows you to print the listing’s QR code (small, medium, or large versions) for wherever you want to use it.


Additionally the Print or Email Flyers section of the listing manager provides a flyer with the QR code built onto it.




Below provides an example of how the listing appears after scanning the QR code with a smart phone.



I’m hoping this enhancement not only helps you in your marketing efforts but allows us to support you better since it it though our website provider, Reliance Network.  This is one of several enhancements that make their debut this week.  If you’re into that type of thing there is a full technical brief here:

Download this file


But if you want the 5 second version:

  • QR Code Generator (discussed above)
  • Mailing Labels, now generate mailing labels from your website contact list
  • eCard Stationary


  • Listing Management Enhancements.  For example you can now use a niffty report to find out which of your listings do not have a seller’s report set-up. 
  • Frame for Custom Websites. If you don’t have a custom website, hosted outside of us, then this doesn’t apply to you.  If you do, now you can frame the full Reliance search to integrate their mapping capabilities and contact management tools. 


This release should be out today.  If you experience bugs or issues please email the Help Desk (   



Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing
Prudential Select Properties, Your local choice for real estate |




It’s only been a year. . . .

I’m pretty much expecting a call from Rick Colburn the second I publish this blog. He’s been teasing me that he’s tried pushing ‘refresh’ on my blog page in anticipation of my second entry. . . for a year now.


Last year, about this time, I spoke to you about a new marketing plan based off the familiar “You know you’re from St. Louis when. . . “ phrase.  In 2010, we rebranded our website and placed ads in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Your Next Home Magazine, and Feast Magazine discussing what makes St. Louis unique.  If you missed this one in Feast, it was one of my favorites. 



(For a full view, click here


Our campaign focus has been how well we know and love our city.  To truly capture this we created a ‘You Know You’re From” Facebook Fan Page and gave away Cardinals tickets and Ted Drewes concretes to consumers who shared their favorite ‘you know you’re from StL ‘moments with us.   And today, we have over 2,280 Facebook fans.  Visit us here and if you haven’t already, please share it with your friends.


In 2011, we’d like to continue branding ourselves as the local choice for St. Louis real estate. In the next few months we’re going to be delivering to you an eCard campaign, updated PowerPoint Listing Presentation, a PSP Marketing Plan brochure and new website enhancements, including QR Code marketing integration.  So stay tuned.


Just for fun here’s a brief look at the fans of other real estate companies and St. Louis institutions.


134 RE/MAX Properties West

287 Prudential Alliance

516 Crown Candy Kitchen

637 Coldwell Banker Gundaker

1,152 Boat House Forest Park

1,608 St. Louis Homes & Lifestyle Magazine

2,280 Prudential Select Properties ‘You Know You’re From St. Louis When. . . “

3,240 Blueberry Hill

4,554 St. Louis Magazine

5,074 Soulard Farmers Market

8,464 Riverfront Times

9, 083 St. Louis Post /


Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing
Prudential Select Properties, Your local choice for real estate |


Prudential Select Properties & Prudential Patterson Realtors Join Forces

St. Louis, MO – December 12, 2010 – Prudential Select Properties and Prudential Patterson Realtors announced today an agreement to create a St. Louis real estate leader. The combined company will be the #1 locally owned real estate company in St. Louis and operate as the largest Prudential affiliate in Missouri and one of the top Prudential affiliates in the nation. The new Prudential Select Properties will offer residential and commercial real estate services to the greater St. Louis area.  

The agreement is expected to expand the market coverage and stimulate continued growth of Prudential Select Properties. The new company will have operations in St. Louis, St. Louis County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County and Lincoln County with over 650 sales associates. The company is headquartered in Des Peres.

George Bruns, president and chief executive officer of Prudential Select Properties, will be president and CEO of the new Prudential Select Properties. Maryann Vitale, Deb Colburn, Angie Ignatowski, and Sharon Huber are owners of Prudential Select Properties.

“We are very excited about the combination of Prudential Patterson Realtors and Prudential Select Properties,” said Bruns. “Because we are locally owned and operated, we focus all of our attention on delivering the most professional real estate service to St. Louis area homeowners. St. Louis is our home and our sole priority. ”

What exactly is a ‘manly’ city?

Over the past few years I’ve watched St. Louis rank in a number of national lists as one of the ‘best’ or ‘top’ cities in some category or another.  Our hometown has achieved a lengthy number of accomplishments including being noted in 2010 as having two of the best places to live (O’Fallon and St. Peters) and having one of the nation’s best housing markets.  

However, a new survey by Mars Snackfood rates St. Louis as perhaps one of my favorite things to date.  This year, St. Louis has been named the 6th manliest city in the United States.

I know what you’re wondering. What is it exactly that makes us so manly?

The study looked at the “. . . number of professional sports teams, popularity of power tools and frequency of monster truck rallies. Cities also lose ranking points for emasculating characteristics like the abundance of home furnishing stores, high minivan sales and subscription rates to beauty magazines.”    

So, take pride, men of St. Louis! Today, not only are we considered as having one of the ‘great streets in America’ with the Delmar Loop, the 4th top music venue with the Pageant, and the 3rd best zoo in the country. . . we can now proudly add to our list that we are #1 in the most sports bars per capita.    

By all means let’s grab a brew and some chicken wings to celebrate while watching the Carindals wipe the floor with the Cubs. . . .. . . who ranked significantly below us in the survey I might add. 

Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing
Prudential Select Properties, Your local choice for real estate |


Just take a look at St. Louis’ accomplishments. . . . 



Forbes Magazine ranked St. Louis #8 on the list of the nation’s Best Housing Markets.

Forbes Magazine ranked St. Louis #22 on the list of  Best Places for Business and Careers.

Money Magazine ranked O’Fallon and St. Peters as two of the Best Places to Live

Bicycling Magazine ranked St. Louis #38 of Top Places to Ride in the United States.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation ranked St. Louis as one in a Dozen Distinctive Destinations.

Convio ranked St. Louis #8 in the nation’s Most Generous Large Cities.



The League of American Bicyclists ranked St. Louis the 15th Bicycle Friendly Community in the United States.

Relocate America named O’Fallon one of the Top 100 Places to Live.

Forbes Magazine ranked St. Louis the 16th Best City for Singles

Art Fair Source Book named the St. Louis Art Fair in Clayton the #4 Top 25 Fine Art Events.

The Los Angeles Times named St. Louis as one of the Most Underrated Destination of the World.

Central Connecticut State University named St. Louis as #2 in America’s Most Literate Cities.

The Corporation for National & Community Service ranked St. Louis as #13 in Highest Volunteer Rate in the nation. 

Parenting Magazine named St. Louis one of the 100 Best Places to Raise Kids.



Forbes Magazine named St. Louis the 15th  Best Cities for Young Professionals

The National Association of Home Builders named St. Louis the 2nd Most Affordable City.

Best Life Magazine named St. Louis one of 100 Best Places to Raise a Family.

Money Magazine named St. Charles, St. Peters and O’Fallon as some of the 100 Best Places to live.

HomeVestors of America Inc. named St. Louis No. 8 in the nation for Real Estate Investing 

Pollstar ranked the Pageant #4 on the Top Club Venues in the World.

Pollstar ranked  The Fox Theatre ranks # 11 in the Top 100 Theater Venues in the World.

Pollstar ranks Verizon Wireless Amphitheater # 9 on the list of Top Worldwide Amphitheaters.

Money Magazine ranks Arnold #13 in Most Affordable Communities. 

Parents Magazine names the St. Louis Science Center #5 on the 10 Best Science Centers for Families list.



Forbes Magazine named St. Louis the 7th  Most Affordable U.S. Real Estate Market.

Forbes Traveler Magazine named the St. Louis Science Center one of the nations’ Top 25 Most Visited Museums

The American Planning Association named the Delmar Loop one of the 10 Great Places in America. 

Parents Magazine named the St. Louis Zoo the #3 Best Zoos for Kids.



Win Ted Drewes & Cardinals Tickets All Summer Long

You know you’re from St. Louis when. . . 
. . . you think mostaccioli is traditional wedding food. 
. . . you can pronounce the words Gravois, Chouteau & Des Peres.

Share your original ‘you know you’re from St. Louis when’ with us between April 25, 2010 – August 30, 2010 and we may just send you a prize. Someone each week will get to enjoy Ted Drewes and someone each month will be attending a Cardinals game . . . on us. 

Enter in any of the following ways: 
Fan and share at:
Follow and share at:
Register (for Property Watch) and share at: 

Weekly Drawing: Each Monday we’ll draw a winner from the entries received during the last week. Participants may have multiple entries, offering them multiple chances to win. Winner will receive a $10 gift certificate to Ted Drewes. Winners will be notified over email or contacted through Facebook/Twitter and the gifts will be sent to your mailing address. Drawing dates are May 3, May 10, May 17, May 24, May 31, June 7, June 14, June 21, June 28, July 5, July 12, July 19, July 26, August 2 , August 9, August 16, August 23 and August 30.

Monthly Prize Winners: Once a month we’ll award $125 in Cardinals Cash (to purchase the tickets and refreshments of your choice) to ther person that submits our favorite entry. Winners will be notified May 31 , June 30, July 31 and August 31.

Prudential Select Properties employees and sales associates are not eligible.