After years of being a PR-dominated organization, online real-estate company Trulia has assembled a nascent marketing division that runs parallel to communications.

[caption id="attachment_579" align="alignright" width="252"]Garrett Tillman Garrett Tillman[/caption] The consumer marketing division is being spearheaded by Micky Onvural, senior director of consumer marketing, who joined in April and reports into CEO Pete Flint. On her team is new hire Garrett Tillman, formerly of American Express, who is Trulia’s first senior social media manager. 

Ken Shuman, VP of communications (who also reports into Flint), says Trulia previously allocated no resources to advertising, other than a small team dedicated to email marketing.

“PR and communications can only take you so far,” Shuman says. “We needed a stronger brand voice across all channels.”

Before Tillman joined, Trulia’s social channels were in “maintenance mode,” operated in tandem with community management. Within that structure, social engagement was mostly limited to a few updates per day on Facebook and Twitter and ensuring sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn were running.

“We weren’t really engaging -- it wasn’t campaign-based, it wasn’t strategic,” Shuman adds.

Before American Express, Tillman worked on the FedEx account at Omnicom ad giant BBDO.

“Social can really change the conversation around real-estate because [house hunting] can be a really miserable experience if you’re not prepared for it,” Tillman says. “Our approach will be about using customer service to alleviate that.”