As you can tell by the title, the length of this series is still TBD (edit: turned out to be a 5 parter!). But what I do know is that after several years of immersing myself in apartment marketing, I have some thoughts and observations I am really excited to share with everyone!

For a little background on myself, prior to entering multifamily, I wracked up a decades experience in the marketing technology, or MarTech, world. From solopreneurs to Enterprise B2B customers, I’ve been involved in a broad spectrum of marketing worlds.

The first observation I have been thinking a lot about lately is where we draw the line between marketing and operations in multifamily.

My hope for this post is that I can share a compelling argument for moving the marketing role deeper into the lead to lease lifecycle, and yes, even into the resident lifecycle along with some ways we can leverage modern tactics to be more successful.

A Marketer’s Role In Apartment Marketing in 2023

Let’s define this. A good place to start is with a generic or broad definition of “marketing’s job”. I think most of us are comfortable with The Hartford’s definition, a team that defines and manages a brand, manages social media, and producing promotional material. But this definition is old and outdated.

A marketers primary job is to produce Marketing Qualified Leads, or MQLs, full stop. This can be broken down further into 2 primary steps.

  1. Generate a lead
  2. Determine if the lead is a potential customer if nurtured correctly (MQL)

However, in multifamily, marketing’s job should stretch a little further, marketing’s job is to produce Sales Qualified Leads, or SQLs. So lets add a step to our breakdown

  1. Generate a lead
  2. Determine if the lead is a potential customer if nurtured correctly (MQL)
  3. Facilitate nurturing the lead and moving them into a sales pipeline.

Generating Leads

Talk about a problem that doesn’t need to be solved. We know how to generate leads in multifamily. So instead lets re-title this section to Optimizing Lead Generation.

A property’s need for leads changes every month. The worst thing we can do is to not be aware or to be reactive to this on the marketing side. Paying for 300 leads a month when we have one vacant unit might not make sense. BUT it might also make total sense. Confusing? Let me explain.

The operations side of the house has all kinds of data available. Most importantly, when leases are up for renewal. In addition to that, operations also has an accurate understanding of the coming months ATR.

Marketing on the other head, should have a general understanding of how long it takes to turn a lead into a lease.

Combining these 2 data points is critical to taking a proactive rather than reactive approach to lead generation.

An example:

  • Today there are only 2 available units
  • In 90 days there will be 10 available units
  • Leads take 45 days to turn into leases
  • Marketing needs to generate enough leads to fill ten units starting in 2 weeks, not in 90 days

Having leading indicators visible to marketing to optimize lead spend so prospects are ready to lease when they are needed is a BIG win for marketing <> operations cooperation.

Most apartment communities today run their lead generation efforts at the same cadence with the same strategy all year long. This just doesn’t make sense. Apartment vacancy is cyclical and seasonal. Staying ahead of operations needs with a variable strategy lets us fill units as fast as possible in the most cash efficient way.

Apartment marketing peeps should always have their fingers on the pulse of their property. Some examples of what I mean here are:

✅ What is current occupancy
✅ Where is occupancy trending
✅ Loss to lease and what that means for renewal prioritization
✅ Lead to lease speed
✅ Lead to lease conversion
✅ Highest converting lead sources
✅ Most capital efficient lead sources
✅ Highest converting communication channels
✅ Online reputation
✅ What does a prospects who chooses to rent look like (data wise)
✅ What data do you have on your prospects and are you utilizing that for custom nurture strategies

The lead to lease lifecycle just starts with generating the lead. There are a lot more topics to cover and I look forward to diving into what’s next in Part 2 of Apartment Marketing in 2023!

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