Beyond Traditional|Commercial Real Estate|Thought Leadership|Trends|

Of all commercial real estate pros, marketers might be challenged the most with striking the right balance between artificial intelligence and personal touch.

“This is heavy,” Marty McFly says multiple times in the movie Back to the Future. The future is now for the real estate industry with artificial intelligence and tools such as ChatGPT looking to make a heavy impact, although not including time travel back to the heyday of malls. Real estate people are currently assessing AI, where it fits and how far it can go.

AI’s use to date has been to lighten the load. Until the last year or so, the real estate industry predominantly used it for processing and analyzing large amounts of data. Then came along large language models or GPT tools “that use deep learning to generate human-like text” and training, not surprisingly, on huge amounts of data to “understand and analyze natural language, generate coherent responses, provide insights, and assist in various tasks such as content creation, customer support and data analysis.” 

AI’s real estate application seemingly and perhaps dazzlingly blew up overnight. “Everybody wants to experience it,” Amit Koren, JLL Technologies CEO, Leasing & Capital Markets Technology, told Bisnow. “The degree of wonder associated with it is quite high. Relative to any other tech in recent years, it is capturing people’s attention.”

The systematic, time-saving uses for CRE companies include creating marketing materials and site selection based on lack of supply and/or competitor locations. The big opportunity involving such powerful technology does come with some no-no’s though. As Bisnow reports, JLL will roll out staff guidelines for using new AI tools, including the hopefully-goes-without-saying rule against entering confidential client information into one of those systems. 

The content-creation side of AI should definitely get the attention of marketing professionals, including brand makers, storytellers and creative advocates for real estate firms. Its current value though seems to be again in time savings, helping things along versus overhauling the process and its parts.

“It’s OK for a first draft, but it’s a long, long way off from replacing any of my team,” WiredScore Global Head of Product, Jules Barker, told Bisnow. “It wasn’t better than if a senior member of the team had written [a commercial real estate company persona], but it may have been better than a new grad.” 

There’s so much more than the black and white of the written word, of course. Tone, for example, which can depend on event, platform and more.

“What surprised me most is, while the general messaging was there, the tone was always wrong,” said Yoo Capital Director of Communications and Social Impact, Louise Page-Jennings. “It felt unauthentic, formulaic and almost heartless. We want to truly engage with the communities we invest in, and this should translate across all our communications. ChatGPT didn’t strike that tone for me, and to nurture relationships over written communications, genuine emotion and passion is key.”

Pros across the real estate industry will continue to conduct “their own tiny experiments” to assess and evaluate AI’s utility and applicability, asserts Bisnow. And why not? Tech is there to help companies improve performance, and those passing on a major innovation like AI will be playing at a disadvantage. Yet, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

“ChatGPT can help draft marketing pieces, but it may be a light year or two away from developing an integrated marketing strategy for a luxury residential community or helping a client reimagine the shopping experience,” said Tim Patton, CEO at infinitee. “Our team’s belief in endless possibilities and great ideas and always delivering service with a personal touch is here to stay.”


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