The current housing market represents an unprecedented opportunity for luxury real estate marketing professionals who are interested in catching their competition off-guard and capturing market share. But, the key is to out-think your competition not to out-spend it. By out-think we mean you must stand out from your competition in the minds of your target market. You must be distinct. In fact, our motto is “stand out or bow out”!

A powerful lesson in the parcel delivery service industry can be learned about the pitfalls of out-spending and not standing out from the crowd. After investing and losing 10 billion dollars in the U.S. over the past five years in the domestic express-delivery industry German owned DHL is bowing out of this market segment. DHL is the number one international logistics and express service provider in the world. But they could not successfully break into the US market that is dominated by UPS, Fed-Ex with United States Postal Service as a distance third.

U.S. market share for express mail and ground parcels, for the third quarter 2008

  • UPS: 52 %
  • FedEx: 31.5%
  • U.S. Postal Service: 11.7 %
  • DHL: 4.8 %

Source: SJ Consulting Group

Historically UPS was known primarily for its domestic ground-based delivery services and faced competition primarily from the United States Postal Service in this category. Then, in 1998 FedEx expanded into the ground parcel delivery market by acquiring Roadway Package System and rebranding it as FedEx Ground in 2000.

FedEx was founded in 1971 when they introduced express-delivery service. Over a decade later UPS began offering Next-Day and 2nd Day Air Service. With virtually identical services and identical pricing how does the customer choose between UPS, FedEx and USPS? What was DHL thinking by adding yet another identical service at the same price?

Jack Welch, of General Electric had a philosophy about entering a new business category. Basically, he felt that if GE could not be #1 or #2 in the category he would not even bother.

What category of your real estate market can you own such as Waterfront properties, Equestrian estates, or downtown condos? What can you do better than anyone else? In what category can you stand out as a market leader?

This is part of an ongoing series about luxury real estate personal branding. Get Fluent. Get Affluent! Subscribe to The Language of Luxury by Email or RSS Feed. Comments? Please use form in left column