Future Tech: Marketing Technology Look Forward Through Other Industries

Future Tech: Marketing Technology Look Forward Through Other Industries

Technology has elevated apartment marketing in so many ways, but it remains a dicey topic for many multifamily marketers. “Whenever you pose a tech question to marketing people, or ask them about their thoughts on technology they just freeze,” according to Steven Seghers, president of HyperDisk Marketing. It doesn’t help that there are “a whole lot of buzzwords percolating,” he added.

Also, data has proliferated and marketers are still trying to wrap their minds around the sheer volume of information and insights to be mined, noted Nick Allen, a consultant for Driftworks Digital, on Day Two of AIM | 18. “There’s a rapid pervasiveness of data fueling everything we do,” he said. “It’s absolutely an undercurrent. It’s a big animal to get our arms around.”

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Panelists offered these observations and they opined on the technological tools and strategies that are being used most effectively in other industries. They identified a handful of innovations to key in on: attribution models, programmatic advertising and media buys, personalization and voice search. These are some of the insights and innovations that the panel identified from other industries:

  • From telecommunications, a lesson on the importance of multi-touch attribution: AT&T previously used a last-touch attribution model, as many multifamily marketers do today. But they found that this model gave an incomplete picture. By implementing a multi-touch attribution model, the communications giant found that they could “turn a big floodlight on the question of who was driving value,” said Allen.

  • From the hospitality industry, a lesson on the importance of market spend quantification: Steven Seghers ran a campaign for Starwood. To his dismay, he found an 80 percent rate of ad campaign “spillage.” If Seghers and the client had not been tracking attribution closely, they wouldn’t have been able to track acquisition channels in a reliable way. Multifamily could learn from this: view, call and click attribution are often missing in the traditional model. “If you can’t measure a view, call or click to an individual source, nothing else matters,” Seghers said.

  • From Microsoft, a lesson on the importance of programmatic ad spend and behavioral data: According to Leslie Lee, Director of Development at Microsoft, knowing where your traffic comes from is even more important than actually segmenting it. Above all, it’s critical to track, monitor and regularly analyze your data and metadata.

  • From biopharma, a lesson on calls to action: Television ads for pharmaceutical products often end with the line: “Ask your doctor.” According to Seghers, that’s a key insight that multifamily marketers can adapt for their own needs. Try setting this modest goal: Anyone who encounters your marketing should have an insatiable drive to do one simple thing: visit your website. From that simple action, you can track how visitors behave and push them down the funnel on your own turf.
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The adoption curve for technology in the modern era is staggeringly steep, noted Mike Wolber, Director of Sales Enablement for G5. “Think of 50 million users as a tech benchmark,” he said. “It took two years for Tinder to reach that point. It took nine months for Twitter to get there. And it took 19 days for PokemonGO.”

Sadly, there may be some validity to the cliche that the apartment industry lags behind in terms of tech adoption. Panelists agreed that there’s certainly room to grow when comparing multifamily to the hotel industry, to the search engine industry and even to retail.

“At Microsoft, we have so much information on behavior and data,” Lee said. “We’re constantly creating the types of audiences you folks should be tapping into and taking advantage of. Sometimes, it’s just about taking that first step. There’s so much you can do with data now. Just capture that data and make sure you know where audiences are coming from.”

Programmatic advertising can help apartment marketers connect with prospects. “The reality is, unless you’re a Fortune 500 company spending hundreds of millions of ads, anything non-programmatic is a major problem,” Seghers said. “Everyone here should be engaged in programmatic advertising.” Allen agreed. “Programmatic is taking over. If you’re not using it, you need to turn your scope,” he said.

The panelists acknowledged that conferences like AIM can be both exciting and challenging — you’re exposed to so many thrilling new ideas, but when you get back to the office, it can be overwhelming to think about how to implement. The best place to start is by being realistic. “Measure failure,” Seghers said. “Know what was an abject failure. We as marketers do a terrible job saying what didn’t work. If you can just get in the habit of measuring failure, that is extremely important.”

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