They’re still in college but have already launched a successful business. Brothers Matthew and Patrick Nelson are learning even more about how to operate their company through their courses at Penn State Wilkes-Barre.
Matthew, a senior, and Patrick, a sophomore, teamed together to establish and operate Marketing 54, which offers photography and virtual tours to the real estate industry in northeastern Pennsylvania. The business got its start after Patrick began taking photos for their father, Jonathan Nelson, a real estate agent at Century 21, and his colleagues.
“The realtors at Century 21 wanted to change the way potential homebuyers view properties. With that in mind, we investigated virtual tour technology and how it could be implemented into listing their properties,” Matthew said.
Blending Patrick’s expertise for photography with his knowledge of technology, Marketing 54 was launched. The pair created a social media page, built a website, and set up a Google business page, all to showcase their work and offer services.
“We took some time together to learn the ins and outs of virtual tours with the intention of implementing virtual tours as our main service, all while offering services that increase virtual tour engagement, such as real estate photography and drone services,” Matthew said.
Patrick said, “Marketing 54 focuses on the marketing side of real estate, so realtors do not have to. We offer everything realtors may need to increase both their client engagement and sales all while making their lives easier.”
Virtual tours boomed in popularity this year after the emergence of COVID-19 and resulting quarantines.
“It’s a great area to be in right now, for people to have the opportunity to view a house and tell if they like it right from their phone or computer,” Matthew said.
“Our dad sold a property to an out-of-state buyer who saw the tour,” Patrick said. “It’s amazing how technology changes a market.”
The brothers live in West Pittston with their family and are graduates of Wyoming Area High School. Both initially planned for different majors, but soon decided to study business instead.
The two are choosing different paths, both available from Penn State Wilkes-Barre: Matthew is staying at the local campus for all four years, while Patrick plans to use the 2+2 plan—completing his first two years at Wilkes-Barre before transitioning to University Park.
“I like the small class sizes and how the professors will always take time out of their day to help with whatever you need,” Matthew said.
Patrick said, “I like being able to talk to professors and also the outdoor setting where I can see deer and a lot of nature. I also want to go to University Park and have that experience, too.”
On campus, Patrick serves as president of the Blue and White Society. He is also involved in the Lion Ambassadors, The Revolt, Business Club, THON and Four Seasons.
While studying at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, the brothers have accumulated additional knowledge that helps guide how they run their business.
“Through the time I’ve spent here, I have absorbed a lot of information that I didn’t even realize I was taking in. We have taken the experience we’ve gained here and learned how to put those ideas into our own business and work with that,” Matthew said.
Patrick said, “It helps that we’re both business majors and learning many of the same things.”
Both brothers mentioned Theresa Clemente, assistant teaching professor of business and business program coordinator, as particularly helpful to them both inside and outside the classroom.
“She’s very educated in the business field and helps and guides students along the way,” Matthew said. “I was introduced to 360-degree technology in her class and learned a lot about imaging and cameras, which later we used to build into our business.”
After college, Matthew aspires to become a real estate agent like their father. Patrick plans to remain involved with Marketing 54 and would like to pursue a career in sports management or marketing.
They hope to see their company grow and expand to new markets.
“Right now we are only focusing on the real estate market, but in the future we can expand to other markets,” Matthew said. “For example, we can offer three-dimensional virtual tours to insurance agents to estimate vehicle damage. We want to have the ability to change and expand our market whenever we’re ready.”