Meet Our Speakers Series: Will Duderstadt

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Will Duderstadt is the
Marketing and Development Manager of Web Platforms at M/I Homes, Inc.—one of
the nation’s leading builders of single-family homes. He oversees online
marketing efforts for 14 divisions in 11 states. He will be speaking at the NAHB International Builders’ Show® (IBS) in January. We recently caught up with Will to ask him a few
questions and get his perspective on the industry … and having fun. 

NAHB: What
is the one thing you are looking forward to the most while attending IBS?

WILL: Hands
down, the access IBS provides to some brilliant people in the industry is
unrivaled. I’ll enjoy the conversations, trading of success stories and
coaching we will all share within our peer groups. 

NAHB: What
is a favorite podcast that you listen to regularly?

WILL: Up
until this year, I’d actually never listened to single podcast, and as a tech
guy, that’s hard to admit. Colleagues always made podcast recommendations,
which helped me wade through the sea of content that’s out there. But I never
found the willpower to sit down and listen—mostly because the 60- or 90-minute
runtime felt so daunting. But then came Spencer Rascoff’s “Office
Hours
,” and I got hooked. He’s a
brilliant articulate and the sharpest thought leader in our industry. He also
broke down some of the barriers that held me back; his podcasts run only about
30 minutes, the production quality is top notch, and his guests offer poignant
and relevant advice. While he has only produced a few episodes, I know I’ll be
tuning in for the long haul.

NAHB: What
is your favorite vacation spot and why?

WILL: My
wife and I just returned from a trip to Boston for our 12th anniversary. I’m a
big fan of that town; the history is just so rich and fascinating. Being in the
housing industry, it’s absolutely awe inspiring to walk through homes and
buildings from 300+ years ago. I highly recommend hiking the Freedom Trail,
visiting the USS Constitution and of course, grabbing a lobster roll for lunch. 

NAHB: If you
are a stranded traveler during the next Polar Vortex, what three items do you
want with you?

WILL: I
enjoy dodging hypothetical situations as expertly as possible. So while this is
probably cheating, I’d take VIP lounge access in the airport, a hotel reservation
at the near-by Ritz Carlton and a personal driver on standby. 

NAHB: Do you
have anymust see” places you’d recommend
to out-of-town visitors.

WILL: I live
in Gahanna, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. Gahanna is the Herb Capital of Ohio,
and it was voted one of Money’s
“100 Best Places to Live” in America in 2007. Anyone visiting
Columbus should absolutely check out Schmidt’s
Sausage Haus
and the Short North. I’ll happily give a personal tour to any fellow new home
builder marketers who find themselves in Columbus. 

NAHB: Fill
in the blank: Favorite ____.

WILL: Social
media channel. Currently, I am enamored with Twitter. It is my favorite social media
channel and has virtually replaced my need for RSS news feeds. It has the added
value of allowing me to interact quickly with a targeted and active audience.
For Twitter newbies, I recommend following @NewHomeSource, @Zillow and @ThisOldHouse for great real estate tweets and engaging with your
favorite brands. Of course, you can follow me too at @willduder. The best advice for those comfortable with the
faster pace of Twitter is simple: don’t be stingy with your likes. Jump in,
start sharing and have fun. 

NAHB: What
industry trends are you most excited about?

WILL: Content
… and I’ll be excited about content even when it’s not a trend. Our industry is
blessed with a product that has such a strong potential for quality, engaging
content. We talk today about the core elements: photos, rendering, tours, videos,
written descriptions, etc., but the standard is quickly evolving to encompass
richer multimedia, storytelling and emotional testimonials. New home builders
can take cues from content leaders outside our industry, primarily e-commerce
and retailers. I look at products as simple as Pilot G2 Pens (my favorite),
Moen faucets or Johnston & Murphy shoes on Zappos.com. They crush it on
compelling content. I urge everyone to compare the content of their most
popular floorplan to the content from these other products. 

NAHB: What’s
one item you really wish would be invented and why?

WILL: I’ve
always wondered why cars don’t have screen windows … not sure if there is much
of a market there. 

NAHB: In
three words, describe your prediction of the building industry in 2017.

WILL: I’ll
go alliterative with my three words: Epic. Enlightening. Expansive. 

Will
is participating in two sessions at IBS: “A Builder’s Guide to Killer Content”
and “Extreme Makeover Live: Social Media”—with Dennis O’Neil and Paul Fireman. Both
sessions are being held on Tuesday, January 10. Get the complete details on his
sessions here

When
you select “full registration” for IBS, you get access to over 130 sessions across 8 different building
industry topic tracks. Register for IBS today.

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