Consumer Priorities

It seems my title has changed this year to Consumer Engagement Officer (CEO) because that has been a high association priority for my 2013 president. And judging from my conversations with other AEs over the past couple of years, consumer engagement is a priority for many of us.

Consumer engagement can fall into one of several related buckets:

  1. Informing consumers about housing market conditions
  2. Informing consumers about the home buying and selling process
  3. Engaging in consumer research to benefit REALTORS®
  4. Engaging consumers in public policy advocacy
  5. Empowering and recognizing REALTORS® for community service

At my association we’ve enjoyed some components of consumer engagement success in advocacy, media, public affairs, and community involvement. But there is much more to be accomplished and we are just finding our way in other aspects of consumer engagement. Fortunately, there is help on the horizon.

This year the AEC activated the Consumer Engagement Work Group to identify strategies and best practices that local associations can implement for greater consumer engagement and outreach. The group will create a how-to resource guide that utilizes NAR consumer engagement tools and resources, all focused on benefitting REALTORS® in their business lives (see p. 14).

The work group gathered the components for best practices and a how-to resource guide and ­collected information and examples of successful programs or initiatives from associations across the country. The programs and initiatives fall under these three categories:

  • Education: Educating consumers that REALTORS® are their real estate and community resource.
  • Advocacy: Conducting research and building consumer support for real estate issues.
  • Market Information: Empowering REALTORS® and REALTOR® associations to be the source for local market information and trends.

Thank you to Ginger Downs, the chair of the Consumer Engagement Work Group, along with vice chair Steve Klaniecki, for leading the effort.

And now on to 2014

As we approach year end, I want to thank all of you for the privilege of serving as your AE Committee chair. I have had the good fortune to work alongside Andrea Bushnell, AEC vice chair; her skills and attributes will serve us well in 2014.

I offer a huge thank you to Cindy Sampalis, managing director of the Association Leadership Development department. Her wealth of knowledge, dedicated effort, guidance, and especially patience are greatly appreciated. Like we are to our respective association presidents, Cindy was all that and much more to me. And thank you to the entire Association Leadership Development team; you are extremely talented, a joy to work with, and invaluable to all we accomplish within the AE community.

I look forward to seeing you all in November.

—Mark Allen, 2013 Chair, AE Committee

Mark Allen, RCE, CIPS, CRS, is CEO of the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®. Contact him at 952-988-3134 or

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