In the last two posts (Part 1 and Part 2) we talked about marketings role in MFH rolling deeper into operations and what the first things to focus on post lead generation are (speed to lead and communication channel). Today, lets dive into measuring apartment marketing.
So we have a lead, we reached out immediately, and we reached out in the most effective channel available to increase chances of engagement and conversion. Now what? Diving deeper into the lead to tour journey is next on my list. However… before we can do that, we have to talk about how we are measuring that journey.
Measuring Apartment Marketing
The first major conversion in the lead to lease lifecycle that we strive for is a scheduled tour. “Traffic” is a key metric that we measure for onsite team and property performance. When we measure traffic, what are we really measuring? The number of tours for sure and maybe what lead sources are leading to those tours.
Anything else? Have we missed anything? Absolutely. How did that lead go from being created to deciding to schedule a tour? By answering this question we can identify trends and strategies that work and create a repeatable process to help drive even more leads toward scheduling a tour.
How do we do this? Enter: Multi-Touch Attribution models. What is Multi-Touch Attribution? The Nielsen definition works well:
Multi-touch attribution is a marketing effectiveness measurement technique that takes all of the touchpoints on the consumer journey into consideration and assigns fractional credit to each so that a marketer can see how much influence each channel has on a sale.
First-Touch, Last-Touch, and Multi-Touch (really any marketing measurement model) can be applied to any portion of a journey or the journey in it’s entirety. “The journey” being the awareness to lease journey (awareness meaning pre-lead).
For the sake of our conversation, let’s pick on the lead to tour KPI and discuss how we are measuring success today and what the future could look like.
How We Measure Today
Today, the multifamily industry uses first-touch models almost exclusively.
One could argue that we leverage last-touch when measuring the value of lead generation, but from there on out first-touch (or lead source) is king (tour executed, application submitted, and lease signed).
This paints a partial picture and inevitably gives us one lever to pull to adjust outcomes: how much marketing dollars do we put into each lead source.
While limiting the options we have in front of us to change our outcomes is one downside of this inadequate measuring tactic, two other major downsides are 1) a false sense of control over our KPIs and 2) wasted marketing dollars pulling, what may not be, the most effective lever.
Another way to think about this: imagine all the “things” that happen to a prospect after the lead is generated and before a tour is scheduled. With first-touch (or last-touch) models you miss this completely.
- With what channel was the prospect communicated with
- What messaging did they receive?
- Was is unique to them or bulk messaging?
- Was it around amenities, availability, the local area…?
- What characteristic did this prospect have?
- Looking to lease soon?
- Moving from out of state?
- Bringing a roommate or a pet?
- How many times did you reach out before you got a response?
- How much time passed between lead gen and tour schedule?
First-touch attribution models will not take any of the above into account.
Also consider, everything we have talked about in this section is just the lead to tour KPI. What about tour to application? Application to lease signed? Our old-school, first-touch model is hiding valuable data from us there as well.
How We Should Measure
How we measure apartment marketing needs to evolve. A Multi-touch attribution model will paint a complete picture of what is working and better inform where we should invest our dollars, what levers (plural) we should pull, and what tactics work best for each property.
This can become overly complicated very fast. There are so many “multi-touch” models out there. Which do you choose and how do you measure it?
The best advice you will receive here is to start slow and don’t overcomplicate it. “Even Weighting” or “Linear Attribution” is step 1 for multifamily.
A linear attribution model, also known as an even-weighting attribution model, gives equal credit for a conversion to every touchpoint in the buyer’s journey. This can be considered the “standard” when it comes to multi-touch attribution models.Via Hubspot
This step 1 of measuring apartment marketing means creating visibility for ourselves. Understanding what is actually happening between KPIs is critical to get started down the path of marketing sophistication.
In order to accomplish this, you need to track every event that occurs on a Guest Card and be prepared to report on it with your analytic tools. Below is a quick list of data you will be exposed to if you can accomplish this:
- How many touchpoints does the average conversion require?
- What channel is most effective?
- What frequency or cadence of touchpoints is most effective?
- What topic of message/follow up is most effective?
- What time of day and day of the week are your prospects most engaged?
- How soon after a buying signal is apparent does your onsite team act?
A mistake most people getting started in the world of data make, is to read the data and try and understand the answers it gives. Do the opposite. Define the questions you have, then go to the data for the answer to those questions, not the other way around.
Apartment Marketing in 2023: Parts 1, 2, and 3 Summary:
- Marketing role in apartment marketing does not stop when a lead is generated
- Marketing and Operations should share data so marketing understands how to stay ahead of demand
- Speed to first touch point is critical and should be almost instant
- Choosing the right channel for your ongoing lead nurture is critical and we recommend texting (SMS)
- First-touch attribution doesn’t tell us the complete picture
- Multi-touch attribution provides better insight and more levers to pull for marketing teams
- Define the questions you want to answer and then go about retrieving those answers from the data