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The Marketing Initiatives That Should Be on Your Radar

2019 Marketing Initiatives

By Donald Davidoff, D2 Demand Solutions

Email re-marketing and five other things you shouldn’t forget about when you are planning your marketing budget.

Last month, I talked about how our recent white paper, 20 for 20: Where multi-family housing operations is heading by 2020, identified sales (leasing) performance improvement as a key COO objective for 2019. That paper and its conclusions were based on 20 interviews with leading COOs and CIOs.

This month, I’d like to focus on something missing from those executives’ priorities: Any significant initiative in marketing. That’s not to say that COOs and CIOs don’t care about, or are not doing anything significant, with respect to marketing. I’m sure they do and are. However, we cannot escape the fact that very few of them mentioned anything about marketing within their “top three” for 2019.

So, here’s a list of a few marketing initiatives that I think should be on the radar of COOs and/or CIOs this year:

Email re-marketing.

We’ve studied and reported on this before. An alarmingly small percentage of multifamily housing operators employ automated email (what are often referred to as “drip campaigns”). They spend all their money to get a lead and then rely exclusively on individual associates for follow up. Rarely do any other large companies in other industries do this. Why do we? Whether you have five or 50 or more communities, there’s simply no reason not to have an email drip campaign.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

While CRMs did a get a couple of mentions in our interviews, they were not top of mind for nearly as many C-suite executives as they should have been. As an industry, we finally have several high-quality, off-the-shelf CRM options specifically built for the multifamily housing sales process. If you’re using one of them, you are already ahead of the game. If not, commit to choose and implement one in 2019.

Lead-to-lease analytics.

While still not as good as I’d like, the capability to link leases to leads and analyze attribution is getting better and better (the aforementioned CRMs help). You can’t manage what you don’t measure, so this needs to be a key focus for 2019.

1:1 marketing.

I’m constantly amused that, as a small business using Hubspot, I get more information on who does what on my website than I ever got when running marketing at Archstone back in 2011. That information helps me to see the prospect journey and know what they care about. This frames both the sales conversation and gives feedback on what content is interesting and useful to people. Multifamily housing marketers need the same thing on their websites.

Calculating the value of a lead.

We can count leads and we know what they cost; but do you ever calculate what the value of that lead is? Especially when combined with appropriate pricing and revenue management systems, understanding the value of a lead can be powerful and you can use this to establish a threshold for which marketing channels you’ll use and which you’ll drop.

Creating an explicit “level 2” marketing tactic list.

If you think about the value of leads, you’ll quickly realize that they are worth more when you’re at higher exposure and less when you’re at lower exposure. That’s because incremental leads reduce vacancy loss in the former scenario whereas they drive important, but smaller, rent growth in the latter. Once you realize that, you can establish those activities you will do all the time (“Level 1” marketing) and those that you will use only when necessary (“Level 2”). Pilots don’t start to figure out what to do when an engine goes out. They turn to a checklist that was carefully crafted before the crisis. Creating this kind of playbook, yourself will enhance the speed and effectiveness with which you attack exposure problems.

The last two items on the list are things that happen more naturally in organizations that have a high degree of collaboration between revenue management and marketing. That is a completely different subject and one that is covered extensively elsewhere, including in the “20 for ’20” white paper, which is available for download now.