What is your time worth?
Expert panelists at the 2021 AIM session Marketing Analyst Roundtable gathered to discuss various forms of marketing, such as paid, owned and earned media, better known as POEM, including the money and time that go into those efforts, as well as the benefits of them in terms of cost per lease.
Marketing has evolved, and as Justin Choi, director of marketing for Sequoia noted, you have to look at all of your expenses to determine your cost per lead or cost per lease and then decide where to focus your efforts in advertising.
“For us it’s an operating expense,” he said. “When I look at a cost per lead or a cost per lease, I’m solely looking at digital advertising. We try to keep it simple.”
For others, there are different variables to consider when calculating those costs.
“You have to decide if this is something that’s a conversion tool and will help with your closings, or is it something that is going to drive your initial traffic,” said Eric Clark, vice president of marketing for BMG Investments. “So we’ve really been focusing more on what’s driving that initial traffic when calculating those metrics.”
Panelists highlighted the variances in media, specifically referring to POEM:
- Paid, which is your ILS or websites.
- Owned, which is your social media outlets or blog content; and
- Earned, which is essentially user generated marketing such as online reviews and social media content.
Earned media seems to be a top focus.
“If we put numbers to it, 80% of our effort goes into earned, and we split 10 and 10 between paid and owned,” Choi said. “A lot of those you just set up and there's not much additional effort. Effort goes into earned because you always have to provide service, and a high level of service.”
Having an online presence and utilizing reviews, posts and tags takes a large amount of effort, but it's what drives earned media and produces tangible results.
“At the end of the day, that’s where people are looking when making their buying decisions,” Choi said.
But there’s a drawback.
“When you look at the time involved in generating earned media, it’s probably the most expensive,” said Jamie Conde, vice president of sales for Anyone Home. “But costs on paid media goes down when efforts in earned go up.”
It goes back to that level of engagement.
“We started looking at the earned media piece more holistically and how it impacts all of our customer segments, that being our residents, our team members and our investor partners, and how we can leverage that,” Clark said.
Panelists reaffirmed that customers are unique and you need to know the audience you’re trying to reach. Tracking data and analyzing metrics from the necessary touch points throughout their journey is imperative to effective marketing.
“We’re data heavy, but we do use last-touch attribution models to evaluate what to use. Not only are we getting leads generated, but we’re seeing leads convert,” Choi said.
Put your efforts where they best serve your goals, panelists suggested.
“We also look at last-touch to evaluate against,” Clark said. “And then we look at the actual life cycle of a lease value. If I have a source where the initial cost per lease is higher but they’re renting at $5,500 for a two- or three-bedroom apartment, then to me that has a much higher lifecycle value so I’m willing to pay more for that lease.”
What makes any marketing initiative work is team collaboration. It’s not a siloed approach, panelists said, everyone’s involved.
“We ensure that if we have an initiative to deploy, everybody is working in tandem on it,” Clark said. “It makes it a much smoother process.”
However, according to panelists, seeing positive results is the ultimate driver behind where their focus lies.
“We focus on conversions, because at the end of the day we’re looking at the bottom line,” Choi said.
- Jaime Conde, VP of Sales at Anyone Home
- Justin Choi, Director of Marketing at Sequoia
- Eric Clark, VP of Marketing at BMC Investment