Unblurring the Lines Between Marketing and Advertising in Multifamily

By Ashley Tyndall |

July 15, 2022 |

Updated July 15, 2022

3 minutes

There’s a thin line between marketing and advertising, and these days, it keeps getting thinner.

To gain a better understanding of what type of multifamily marketing strategy your business needs, you must first decipher the differences between advertising and marketing and assess how to use each to your benefit. 

Understanding the Definition of Advertising

While marketing is taking your message and communicating it through proper channels for your audience, advertising is that message

Today, advertising involves using paid mediums such as television, radio, print ads, billboards, digital media and more to spread the word to the public about your business. Advertising is all about convincing your audience that they have a need for a specific product or service. In other words, advertising is a component of marketing.

The Difference with Marketing

While advertising tends to be more about the actual message, marketing is about branding your product or business, providing value and distributing that message in the right way, to the right audience and at the right time. 

Marketing is the way in which you convince prospective residents that you have the right apartment community for them; it is the systematic planning and implementation of a strategy using a mix of business tactics — one of these tactics being advertising. 

Multifamily marketing involves understanding who your target market is and creating buyer personas to establish what they want to get from your property or service. It’s essentially about engaging residents in a wide variety of ways so that they can make an educated decision. 

Once you identify your target market’s values and needs, you can use that information to communicate your multifamily brand message and personality through marketing materials. 

Take for example the apartment community LVL 29 in Plano, Texas. The tagline for this community is “Life Elevated.” This is the advertised message. The marketing component of this, on the other hand, is all the channels that bring this message to the prospective residents, including:

  • Social media

  • Resident events

  • Website

  • Blog

  • Videos

  • Email campaigns

  • Promotional items

  • Literature

Pairing Marketing and Advertising Together

Grasping the attention of your customers has become a tough business. The solution is to pair your marketing and advertising together into a cohesive unit. This is where you will be able to earn the attention of prospective buyers by creating compelling content, nurture them through the buyer’s journey and delight them with superior customer service.

Today’s consumers are tech-savvy and more educated than ever about their purchasing decisions. Residents often flip back and forth on their leasing decision, entering or exiting different stages of the buyer’s journey as they check online reviews, do their own research and evaluate properties.

Finding a Balance

Multifamily marketing relies on the perfect balance of digital strategies, working together to ensure consistent messaging and continued contact with an apartment lead. This means unique content — such as blogging, offers, social media content, email marketing, etc. — should all be tied around a central persona, strategy and buyer’s journey. 

Going an extra step, you can offer these apartment leads a way to get customized information depending on their interests. This may take a lot of work on the back end through use of list segmentation and automation software, but if the framework is there, it’s work that pays off. Offer a weekly newsletter on local activities or maybe a monthly update on housing market trends.

The Multifamily Marketing Value

Ultimately, advertising is just a subset of the multifamily marketing process. Advertising is one piece of the pie in the marketing strategy. All of these elements must not only work independently but they also must work together.

And all of the elements working together is your multifamily marketing plan. It’s the comprehensive plan that you need to solidify and focus on first and foremost. Marketing is that all-encompassing plan which makes it foundational.

So when considering whether to focus more of your efforts on advertising campaigns or marketing strategy, it is ultimately more beneficial to choose the marketing route. Focusing on your marketing efforts first will allow you to adopt the right strategy so that an on-target advertising campaign can follow.

Ashley Tyndall is the Director of Business Development for Criterion.B