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AIM 2021 Session Recap: Fearless Factor: Marketers Who Are Driving Innovation

Multifamily Marketers Embracing Tech-Driven Strategies

The past year saw multifamily teams deploy new technologies at an unprecedented rate, permanently altering operations, marketing strategies and renter expectations. 

During the 2021 AIM session, Fearless Factor: Marketers Who are Driving Innovation, panelists discussed how tech adoptions have redirected marketing efforts, and how apartment operators can take the next step with their marketing approach in 2022. 

One significant impact of technology’s newfound role in the multifamily space has been the improvements in tracking and reporting through digital platforms. Marketing teams now harness and leverage previously unavailable data to hone their campaigns. 

Some of the data revelations have been surprising.

“Traditionally, we thought social ads hadn’t been a strong conversion tool for us. We hadn’t seen great metrics,” said Michelle Moriello, director of marketing at WinnResidential. “But where we’ve implemented social ads, we’ve now found that they are by far the top source of traffic to our website. If you can stay the course, the value is definitely there.”

During the pandemic, technology like virtual and self-guided tour platforms, as well chatbots, were deployed out of necessity, with impressive results. 

“What we’ve seen from our bot is that when it leads to actual touring, conversion is very high – around 60% – and in some cases even higher than our actual onsite teams,” said Joe Coleman, chief operating officer at Decron Properties Corporation. “It has been a very good tool for us. Virtual and self-guided tours allow for our leasing agents to do different things, but I want to be efficient with how we’re using our people hours. Whether our teams and leasing agents are actually going to be leasing, or really focused on service and reputation management, I don’t know that I’m necessarily focused on reducing people hours.”

Continued data collection, as well as resident and prospect feedback, is vital because not every market has reacted the same to leasing technology. 

“We really hoped self-guided tours would stick around, but we’re really not seeing them continue,” said Sheri Killingsworth, vice president of marketing and communications at Lincoln Property Company. “And in some markets, it just did not work. They wanted that person-to-person interaction. The demographics are really important. I still see the value after hours, and there are some great providers out there.”

Virtual leasing platforms and chatbots have enabled 24-hour leasing and in many cases helped operators overcome the current staffing shortages faced by the industry. With the stress placed on shorthanded onsite teams, it has been crucial to support associates with the tools to do their jobs and keep pace with leasing demands.

“I think right now we’re all challenged with finding enough people, so if we can lift some of that very basic lead management off of our teams’ plates, we’re going to have more engaged teams,” Moriello said. “We want to maximize our people hours and really focus on resident retention and reputation management.”

Marketing teams are increasing resident engagement by soliciting resident video content for use on social media platforms. They’re also leveraging associate videos for additional marketing collateral, and enhancing virtual platforms with 3D virtual and 360-degree tours.

Leasing offices are continually striving to captivate online audiences, install automated leasing options and reach prospective residents through their preferred communication channels. 

“We’re seeing a demand from prospects for a non-human leasing option, at least,” said Mark Ham, vice president of business development at LeaseLabs. “Some people are texters, some people are chatters, some people are phone callers. It’s nice to have options for the prospects, based on what their needs are and what they prefer to intertact with.” 

Here is the replay:

  • Mark Ham, VP of Business Development, LeaseLabs
  • Michelle Moriello, Director, Digital Marketing at WinnCompanies
  • Sheri Killingsworth, VP of Marketing & Communications at The Lincoln Property Company
  • Joe Coleman, COO at Decron Properties Corporation

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