People: Alumni

She saw the sign

By Rachel Stengel ’14

Jersey Shore real estate mogul Diane Turton ’69 has a knack for creative advertising.

Owner of Diane Turton, Realtors, she began her unusual methods early in her career. When buying newspaper ads was out of her price range, she would purposely deliver Tupperware orders to the wrong houses. She always managed to ask if the homeowner was looking to sell or buy a house.

During family outings in Point Pleasant, N.J., she’d roam the shoreline asking beachgoers if they had seen her children — who she knew were safely with a relative — and slid in a pitch for her business.

Her latest campaign began last May after receiving a message from a man explaining that one of her real estate signs washed up on a beach near Bordeaux, France.

After asking the sender to email a photo of it to see if it was true, there was no doubt that the green and blue sign — despite missing about a third of its structure — was hers. “What are the chances of not just it getting there, but someone finding it and contacting me?” she says.

It has been estimated that in October 2012 the sign, which imparted a listing in Brielle, N.J., made the same transatlantic voyage as Christopher Columbus approximately three times following Hurricane Sandy before landing more than 3,000 miles away in France in 2018.

The sign’s treacherous journey struck a chord with people, Turton discovered after flying to France to retrieve it. While enjoying a meal before departing, another diner said, “You’re the woman with the sign!”

Before long, “the woman with the sign” was in mainstream media — The New York Times, USA Today and People magazine, just to name a few.

Turton capitalized on the serendipitous opportunity. Her latest marketing campaign says the firm is “recognized worldwide” and “our service and signage can’t be beat!” Her team earned the “Most Innovative Marketing Technique” award from Luxury Real Estate Company in 2018.

Turton has wanted to build her own path since she was 16, when her father first introduced her to the industry.

“I want to own my own real estate company. I want my logo to be blue and green, and I want a billboard with my face on it,” she recalls telling her father.

At just 19, she earned her real estate license. At 22, she graduated from Rider with her bachelor’s in real estate and insurance. And, at 23, she secured her broker’s license, which allowed her to work independently and hire other agents.

Turton has been named “Top 25 Women of Influence” by NJ Biz and “One of New Jersey’s Leading Women Entrepreneurs & Business Owners” by NJ Monthly. The awards are nice, but, for her, it’s always been about the love of the field. “You have to do something you really love.” she says. “I don’t know anyone who’s successful who hates their job.”

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