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We’ve held that actually auctioneers only need “alpha” and “beta” (the highest possible bidder and the next highest possible bidder) and thus a subject property maximizes price at an auction.

We’ve written prior about alpha and beta a few times, including here:

  1. https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/auctioneer-looking-for-alpha-and-beta/
  2. https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/auctioneers-alpha-and-beta-and-more/
  3. https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2019/04/22/auctions-and-the-chances-of-alpha-and-beta-etc/

Our question today is more so, “Do you (as an auctioneer) have either alpha or beta at your auction?” We would suggest maybe not — that is if you aren’t marketing your auction properly.

Auction marketing has changed substantially — from decades of newspaper advertising … to auction calendars that allowed the bidders to find the auction (shotgun) … to now auctioneers being able to find the specific bidders needed (rifle.)

We would hold that the typical auctioneer doesn’t do a terribly good job marketing. Some are still running newspaper advertising and many have websites with some tied to auction calendars. Here in 2020, that’s not good enough.

However, some auctioneers are putting property on the Internet for online bidding worldwide … or are they? Putting property on the Internet doesn’t mean anyone (including alpha nor beta) is going to find it. Today, auctioneers have to find the bidders likely to be interested in that subject property.

Particularly for personal property (and in some cases real property,) alpha and beta might be in Russia, Korea, China, Brazil, Australia, or anywhere else on earth. Does your marketing reach these places? These people? If not, you might not be maximizing price for your seller.

Some auction platforms have a worldwide marketplace, and some do not. If your auction isn’t on a worldwide platform, what other marketing are you doing? Facebook marketing? Mailing lists? Specialty publications and websites? Push notifications? Anything else?

Russ Hilk and I have talked and written about choosing the right auction platform. We wrote about that decision process here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2020/07/24/russ-hilk-and-which-platform/. You as an auctioneer have to know what you are attempting to sell and how you wish to run your business before you pick a platform.

Of course, any marketing has to make sense. You can’t (shouldn’t) spend
$4 Million in advertising to sell a $1 Million dollar property. There’s always the “right amount” of marketing, and we should be avoiding too much as well as too little. There’s a good chance a newspaper ad and/or merely posting it on your website is far too little.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services, and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, and an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.