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Auctioneers are charged with maximizing their client’s (seller’s) position — raise the most money, clean the warehouse completely out, minimize holding costs, and/or a host of other solutions for problems.

Marketing is a primary directive of any auctioneer. Auctioneers are to endeavor to find the best marketing venues they can in order to help their client — but there’s a caveat here — the marketing monies allocated for this effort must satisfy the “cost/benefit” analysis.

What is this “cost/benefit” analysis? In this regard, the benefit has to exceed the cost. Selling a $250,000 real property and spending $7,500 in signage, newspaper, various websites and social media is likely prudent. In other words, can our seller get a better than $7,500 return on the $7,500 spent?

However, for this same $250,000 real property, is spending $50,000 for a worldwide social media campaign and Saturday college football television advertising prudent? Will the seller net more than $50,000 in the sale price for spending this $50,000? Almost assuredly not.

In this regard, we see some auctioneers essentially boycotting certain advertising opportunities because they don’t like the platform’s owners’ political views, the site/platform won’t allow certain features and/or denies advertising for certain items (firearms, for example.)

I find this fascinating. You as an auctioneer won’t advertise my farm equipment auction on a certain platform because of their political views, features, or restrictions even if the cost is outweighed by the benefit? Maybe a better question here is: “Who’s this marketing all about? You the auctioneer or me the seller?”

Alternately, are you as an auctioneer not advertising on a certain platform because you own/operate another competing platform? Just imagine me advertising solely in a small town low circulation newspaper in the 1980s and not in the major metropolitan newspaper because I am part owner of that “other” paper?”

All auction advertising and marketing should be placed with the seller’s interests in focus, and it would seem to us not because the auctioneer doesn’t like a certain platform or the cost/benefit is about the auctioneer or auction company instead of the seller — such a structure being a clear violation of fiduciary duty.

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 and Western College of Auctioneering. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.