Marketing Automation Jun22

Marketing Automation

Today’s renters expect to be able to find and interact with your company everywhere, all the time. But does that mean you’re suddenly able to hire more staff for around the clock support? Of course not. Marketing automation is your secret weapon in an increasingly busy digital marketplace. Marketing automation streamlines repetitive tasks, follows user behavior and delivers targeted content to get customers into your leasing pipeline and help you keep them as loyal residents once they’ve moved in. It drives efficiency for the marketer and leasing manager while creating a more personalized experience for the customer. Watch a quick video about marketing automation. We talked with Esther Bonardi, vice president of marketing here at Yardi, for her perspective on the evolution of property marketing technology. “Property marketers have to constantly innovate to keep pace with consumer trends and demands,” said Bonardi. “Marketing automation is one way even smaller marketing teams can do that and have a big impact without breaking the bank.” 3 Ways Marketing Automation Is Changing Property Marketing Larger Reach Marketing automation tools like ILS data syndication and social media bulk posting help property marketers reach a larger audience with less effort. Instead of manually entering details like vacancy information, pricing, policies and contact information repeatedly – increasing the likelihood of human error each time – internet listings can be automatically and accurately updated across multiple sites with information from your property management software. Social media posts can be created just once and then scheduled and shared across popular platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Reach thousands of viewers each week without sucking time out of every work day. Better Service Bonardi points out that marketing automation isn’t just a way to work faster, it’s a way to market more effectively. “Marketing...

Big Time Jun06

Big Time

We could all use just a little more time to get everything checked off our to-do lists. If you’re a property manager at any size property, you and your team have a seemingly endless list of daily tasks, from interacting with new prospects to taking resident payments. Fortunately, modern technology is evolving to help speed things up at work. Advances in online services mean many processes that once had to be done by hand can now be automated. Recently, a few clients have shared quantifiable time savings they’re seeing at their businesses as a result of implementing better property management software. Take a look to see where you could be saving hours every month. Online Applications: 15+ minutes per application How much time do onsite teams spend entering application data? Mallory Monsma, marketing leader at NALS, estimates that online applications save its leasing agents 15 minutes each. In August of 2016, the team processed 347 applications, resulting in a time savings of 87 hours. If you’re using esignatures and completing the leasing process entirely online, your time savings will be even greater. Not to mention all the savings you’ll accrue surrounding printing, mailing, paper costs and physical storage. Online Payments: 4+ minutes per payment Monsma says that automated payment processing saves at least two minutes per check and a 20-minute roundtrip to the bank for every 10 checks. These numbers might seem small, but they quickly add up across a portfolio. In a month with 11,000 online payments, the NALS team saved 44,000 minutes (733 hours). Getting onboard with online payments also adds convenience for renters and speeds up cash flow. Roscoe Properties collects 95% of its rent electronically, quickly and on time. Mariana Estrada, vice president of operations, enthused, “That’s massive! That’s money...

RENTCafé Reach May25

RENTCafé Reach

We are thrilled to officially unveil RENTCafé Reach. This advanced set of marketing services is designed to attract qualified prospects to your multifamily properties through SEO, SEM and enhanced online property listings on the RENTCafé.com ILS. As a certified Google Partner, we’re ready to help you elevate your search and lead generation programs to the Big Leagues. SEO & SEM Services for the Real Estate Industry The RENTCafé Reach digital marketing team is comprised of Google certified experts in both Google AdWords for paid traffic and Google Analytics for organic traffic. This allows us to use Google as resource to answer questions and identify future opportunities. Our SEM program is a full-service offering from research to setup and fine-tuning, plus remarketing, conversion tracking and display advertising. The SEO program is also a full-service solution with content optimization, on- and off-page optimization, website health checks and location data management through our partnership with Yext. This ensures our clients receive only the absolute best-in-industry, white hat strategies and tactics for improving their websites’ performance while actively protecting them against black hat techniques that get flagged by search engines and harm the performance of search results, ads, websites and brands. Stay Ahead of the Competition We understand how daunting it is to launch an entire digital marketing program. And the perils of working alone without a partner to guide you. What is a SERP? Or Semantic Search and PageRank? What’s the difference between display network and search ads? Or regular text ads vs. expanded text ads and the comparative click-through-rates? We heard your questions and took them to heart so we can help you, our clients, reach beyond the fold and seize the leads that make the difference and drive business results. Today’s digital space is as...

Insights From AIM May18

Insights From AIM

Multifamily marketers from across the country converged in Huntington Beach for the 2017 Apartment Internet Marketing (AIM) Conference on May 7-10. Several hundred professionals gathered to explore the industry’s latest marketing trends and best practices. Here are three ideas from this year’s event that might buoy your marketing efforts: Tell Your Story Marketing is not just an exercise in generating the lowest cost per lead. It’s a complex combination of creativity and strategy that ultimately tells a story to potential customers. In a world of constant digital distraction, today’s marketers need to have the skills to create content that will rise above the noise. When it comes to creating engaging content, authentic storytelling and video rule. AIM panelists Jamie Matusek, President of Catalyst, Lori Valenti Webb, Director of Marketing at Wood Residential Services, and Anna Geary, Founder of Show My Property TV, explored the ideal customer experience. Matusek explained that experiences progress through the Happiness Halo framework, from anticipation to interaction to afterglow. Anticipation is the process of building excitement, teasing potential customers into wanting to know more. This can be seen in pre-event promotion and behind-the-scenes videos. Interaction immerses customers in an experience, providing emotional direction to aid in decision making. Multifamily application could be a time-constrained promotion, such as a rent discount, or highlighting property perks, such as free recreation classes or dog-friendly happy hours. Afterglow focuses on creating a positive memory, reinforcing brand positivity. As Matusek explained, bad things will happen, such as a poorly executed maintenance request or a negative front office visit, so it’s important to positively direct the sentiments with each resident touch point. Crafting an effective story can combine these three concepts into any medium, from a blog or social media post to a video. At AIM, video was...

YMF Austin May02

YMF Austin

Are you familiar with the Yardi Marketing Forum? This biannual event brings multifamily marketers from across the country together for three days of fun, education and inspiration. We just wrapped up our first forum of the year in beautiful Austin, Texas. If you couldn’t attend, here are the top five marketing takeaways that were shared by our guest presenters. Stop Hunting, Start Cultivating Anders Bergstrom, marketing director for Sanuk, opened the Yardi Marketing Forum with his keynote address on “Surfing the Waves of Consumer Change.” He stressed the need in every industry to build a lifelong fan base, instead of targeting consumers with marketing that kills the relationship after the sale. “When it comes to your audience, cultivate. Think of yourselves as farmers,” shared Bergstrom. “Become aware. Become curious. Become advocates for your clients.” Watch the recording of Anders’ presentation on Facebook. Dial in Prospect & Resident Communications Do you feel like your marketing messages are getting lost in today’s increasingly crowded digital space? For our session on “Getting Heard in a Noisy World,” we were joined by Nikki Crosby from Buckingham Companies, Mallory Monsma from NALS and Yardi’s Nima Farkhak to talk about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to interacting with residents and prospects. The panel consistently reinforced the need to be present everywhere your customers are. Crosby noted that Buckingham properties that use social media remarketing far outperform properties that don’t. Monsma shared email tips that have resulted in a phenomenal 50% open rate for NALS, including keeping subjects snappy, limiting frequency and scheduling the month’s emails in advance through RENTCafé. And Farkhak talked about the importance of live chat, citing a case study that netted a RENTCafé Connect user an $80 return for every $1 spent. “The best...

Pinterest Update Apr06

Pinterest Update

One of the fun facts about working in the 21st century is that new technology emerges every few months to make marketing easier. Several years have passed since companies started using social media like Facebook and Twitter to promote their businesses. Lately, more real estate professionals are turning to Pinterest. Understanding the Pinterest Culture Pinterest is a social media network created from virtual bulletin boards, which make it the perfect visual marketing tool for real estate experts. Recent studies show how brands that engage on social media enjoy greater interaction and loyalty from their customers. But in order to build such a brand, realtors have to take several things into consideration: Don’t expect others to discover you by chance. It may happen but increase your chances by being active on this network. Be a friendly pinner, not a creepy spammer. Post regularly but at hourly intervals rather than back-to-back. Pinterest, like any other social site, is not all about your business. For success, you will have to follow other people and interact with their content. Identify your niche within the real estate market and follow people or boards of interest. Put in consistent effort to build your brand’s presence. A higher number of social media followers tends to improve trust and credibility in your brand. Crafting Content “Content is king” in social media marketing and this goes for Pinterest as well. Explore beyond promoting your listings. Think about the potential of real estate boards. Consider boards for how-to tips; things people need-to-know when buying, renting or developing a property; and infographics on market trends. When you offer valuable information to potential customers, you earn their trust and develop loyalty. They will check your boards often—and perhaps discover the listing of their dreams. Use posts...

9 Responsiveness Tips Mar01

9 Responsiveness Tips...

Want to get in touch with your residents? SatisFacts 2017 Online Renter study reveals that 88 percent of respondents prefer to be contacted via email; 73 percent ask to be contacted by cell phone, and 50 percent request text communication.   Each method of communication has its own best practices. Dive into these nine tips for effective responsiveness. EMAIL Email is old news but effective email techniques constantly change. You must find a way to make your emails stand out in inboxes that are flooded with spam and competitors. These tips may keep your emails from the trash folder: 1. HubSpot reports that 33 percent of email recipients decide whether or not to open an email based on the subject alone. Subject lines matter! Since 40 percent of emails are read via mobile device, keep your subject 30-50 characters max. Make the subject interactive by leading with a verb. “Party with us tomorrow night!” is more enticing than, “There is a party tomorrow night!” If you have an incentive, notify the reader in the subject line, such as “Get 10% off rent next month.” Add emojis at your own risk. Research tells us that readers dread all caps and excessive punctuation. More than 85 percent of respondents prefer an all-lowercase subject line to one in all caps. But emojis are a relatively new terrain. When used sparingly, they can make a good headline stand out. Downside: they might not translate well across devices and carriers. Also, certain demographics (and not others) appreciate emoji use. Lastly, integrate numbers when you can. Numbers stand out among text and they provide context. “2 weeks until your lease renewal” will have a higher click-through rate than “renew your lease soon.” 2. Timing matters. Consider the subject of your email...

Snap Happy Feb15

Snap Happy

OMG’s, LOLZ’s, puppy-dog faces and flower crowns. Snapchat is sometimes reduced to these simple stereotypes and thought of as something to entertain the kids when the adults get tired of the noise at family dinners. But noise and chaos are staples of modern life, for company and consumer alike. And as the godfather of guerilla tactics, Sun Tzu, expounded upon millennia ago, “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” When fully leveraged, Snapchat can be used to cut through the chaotic noise, both at family gatherings and in today’s rental marketplaces, to turn potential opportunity into new prospects. Background All social media platforms once represented an unconventional and unrealized marketing space. This is no longer the case. Snapchat is one of the many recent social frontiers that qualifies as a guerilla marketing opportunity for brands. It’s a place where you can outmaneuver your competition through unconventional and creative means (without a huge budget), thereby gaining greater exposure and winning. Some continue to dismiss Snapchat as “just an app.” At one point, the doubters may have been correct, but as the scope of Snapchat’s business has expanded so has their reach. It’s now a social media platform that competes closely with the companies typically identified as giants in the space. Case Study So you want proof, eh? The intrepid property managers at Continental Realty Corporation (CRC) just so happen to be early Snapchat adopters, and they were kind enough to share the data of some recent campaigns with us. In October 2016, CRC ran two Snapchat filter campaigns for onsite events, one in the commercial space and one in the residential space. At the commercial property, CRC ran a custom filter for the “Jerry Adams Chili Cookoff.” The Snapchat filter campaign lasted for...

3 Big Trends Feb13

3 Big Trends

Team Yardi was lucky enough to attend the 5th annual Multifamily Social Media Summit in Napa during the first week of February this year. This conference brings together a wide variety of speakers from within and without the real estate industry to talk about the impact of social media on marketing, leasing and more. We’re always happy to get out there and hear new trends and challenges being discussed – as well as meet with clients from social savvy companies like Pinnacle, Reside Living and Monarch Investment and Management Group. This year we left the summit with three big social trend takeaways: Live Video Is Happening If you’ve been waiting for live video to go away, raise your hand. (You can’t see me, but I’m holding mine up sheepishly.) You might be thinking, “But I don’t want to be on camera, and the quality is unprofessional. Who would want to watch it anyway?” Everyone, it turns out. Keynote speaker Joel Comm, an author and entrepreneur who has hundreds of thousands of social media followers, was the first to bring it up. “Live video is the most significant leap in social media since the iPhone,” he said. “You now have the power in your hand to go live and reach the world… and your communities. It will give you an unfair advantage over your competitors.” Multiple speakers urged property managers to use live video to get potential residents to know, like and trust their brands by providing useful information. Joel even thoughtfully provided a list of live video ideas specific to multifamily:   Show an empty apartment Showcase a furnished apartment Meet the staff Explore the neighborhood Show building in progress Show new amenities Tour the fitness center or pool Broadcast an event Walk through...

Marketing to Boomers Jan24

Marketing to Boomers

Did you know that Baby Boomers are the second largest demographic in multifamily housing? Most companies only spend five percent of their advertising budget (and even less effort) on this growing group. Don’t be like them. We’ve got eight tips to master online marketing to Baby Boomers. State your cost—clearly—and why your property is worth it. This fundamental tip is especially relevant to Boomers. They have a lot of money to invest in companies that meet their needs. According to this Nielsen report, Boomers currently control about 70 percent of all disposable income in the US. In the next 20 years, they are set to inherit $13 trillion more. If your property meets their needs, they won’t need sales tricks to buy in. Ensure that your marketing story explains how your property can meet and exceed their expectations. They will be willing to pay top dollar. Highlight the conveniences of renting. Many Boomers opt to rent so that they can explore other interests without the burdens of homeownership. The amenities that set your rentals apart from homeownership are valuable selling features. As former homeowners, many Boomers know that property maintenance is hard work. Boomers will appreciate the assurance of prompt maintenance services. Highlight residents’ access to Online Maintenance Requests through Yardi RENTCafé®. The tool will appeal to their desire for convenience. Tell the story of the active, hip Boomer. Boomers don’t want to be reminded that they’re aging. This generation focuses on an active lifestyle and exploring new interests. Feature local hiking trails, parks, and your community fitness classes on your website and social media. Let them envision living the lifestyle that they crave while in your community. Note that Boomers not done living it up. While some are caregivers and part-time babysitters for...

Drive More Traffic Jan12

Drive More Traffic

Remember when property marketing was all about foot traffic? Not anymore. In this digital era, an increasing number of apartment seekers start their search online, long before they ever set foot in your leasing office. And the most recent NMHC Kingsley Renter Preferences Study showed that 80% of renters visited the community or company wesite during their apartment search. As a savvy property manager, you already know that online is the name of the game. And you’ve got a website for your property. But how do you get people to visit it? Not everyone has the budget or staff for paid search ads. Fortunately, that’s not the only answer. Here are three inexpensive things you can do to drive more traffic to your property websites. Go Mobile First things first, you can’t get traffic if it can’t find you. Not only is a mobile-friendly website important for easy viewing from a phone, it’s also critical to help your site get found during mobile searches. In fact, did you hear about “Mobilegeddon” in April 2015? This was when Google updated its algorithm so that only responsive websites appeared in mobile search results.  A lot of US businesses lost search traffic because they weren’t mobile friendly. Don’t let that happen to you! First, update your website to a responsive design that works on any size screen to make sure it appears in all search results. Then be sure to include important details that mobile searchers may be looking for near the top of the page. Give them easy access to your phone number, office hours and vacancies. Brand Everything Your property website is one of your most powerful marketing tools. Are you using it to your full advantage? It’s time to put your website address on...

Kelley Shannon

Meet Kelley Shannon, Vice President of Consumer Marketing at The Bozzuto Group and marketing genius who started her professional career in accounting before changing courses to focus on brand management. “Coming from accounting where you’re looking at numbers all day, I was missing the creative piece. While I enjoyed the problem solving, I missed the human connection. Marketing allows me to be analytical and apply creativity to help people solve problems and meet business goals. It’s the right fit for me.” In her role at Bozzuto, Kelley leads a team that focuses on impacting key touchpoints in a customer’s journey. With dozens of new communities every year, Kelley and team are busy developing marketing plans to deliver quality leads to over 200 communities, creating engaging brands and cementing memorable customer experiences – while ensuring that all marketing is reflective of their diverse and inclusive culture. We recently had the chance to ask Kelley how she manages to keep up with (and support) the pace of growth at Bozzuto. Keep reading to find marketing tips you can apply at your own properties, no matter how big or small. Q: Can you tell us a little about Bozzuto and what makes the company unique? A: Bozzuto is a regional leader with a national reputation. We currently manage more than 60,000 apartments and homes. We pride ourselves on providing outstanding service and consistent value for customers, clients and partners. Jamie Gorski, Bozzuto’s CMO, being the visionary that she is, is not one to rest on our laurels. She is always looking for what is new and interesting, especially outside of our industry. When we find it, chances are we’re going to evaluate it for its relevance to marketing real estate. Q: How does Bozzuto use RENTCafé? We partnered with Yardi and the RENTCafé team to create a property marketing website template that supports Bozzuto’s brand and marketing strategy. It provides us with a pre-approved yet customizable platform that our team can use to reduce the typical time to market, while maintaining our design and usability standards. We can build new sites more quickly with RENTCafé. We can also rapidly convert old websites that aren’t working and bring them to a place that better reflects the brand story and engages prospects instantly. Now site visitors view 23% more pages and spend 20% more time online with us. Q: What are you doing to promote increased session duration on your property marketing sites? Why do you think visitors are staying longer? A: We focus on putting information that prospective renters want front and center…floor plans and visual content. When you visit any of our sites, we’ve made the navigation to these key areas immediately accessible. And we often add video content on the homepage to draw people in. These visuals give you a sense of how the community lives, how people use the spaces. I feel like we’ve won when someone says, “I could see myself living here.” Q: How important is the mobile experience? A: With the growth in mobile as the first point of entry for many people searching for apartments, our goal is to deliver a great mobile experience. This means quick access to photos, contact information and online tour scheduling. Q: What are some advantages that you have seen from working with Yardi? A: RENTCafé saves us time and offers a cost-effective website solution for both new communities and those needing to update their online presence. It helps us keep up with Bozzuto’s pace of growth without compromising our standards or putting extra strain on the marketing team. Yardi has been a great partner! Q: If you’re not in the office, where are you? A: I enjoy visiting the communities, but I’m happiest brainstorming with my team. We talk about marketing pain points and how to fix them. We find ways to automate tasks, and our latest effort is to...

Purposeful Surveys Nov16

Purposeful Surveys

You’ve probably heard the saying, “You can’t manage what you haven’t measured.” What exactly do you do once resident satisfaction has been measured? The data within your resident survey results can pave the road for a more profitable and enjoyable property—if you optimize use of the data.   Make a Plan Before you issue the survey, get team leaders onboard with the process. When leaders are vested in the survey, they will provide enthusiasm, structure and accountability among staff members. Enthusiasm for surveys may be hard to muster. If your leadership sees surveys as a public roast, they are less inclined to throw themselves on the chopping block. The first step is to change the way that the staff sees surveys. Kristin Van Ramshorst, Social Media Specialist at Yardi, encourages clients to see all feedback as good feedback. “Any feedback – positive, negative, or in between – is good feedback and a way to offer better customer service,” says Van Ramshorst. “Respond to negative feedback in a way that is timely, empathetic and identifies solutions. Often times responding in a timely manner can also deescalate complex resident complaints and take the conversation offline faster.” Your plan may also include a strategy for compensation and responsibility dissemination. Consider: Will your property have specific hours for responding to issues brought up in the surveys? How will your staff be compensated for responding outside of normal business hours? Outside of normal business hours, are auto-response messages (i.e. Facebook Messenger) a good option for your property? If there are technical or legal issues reported in a complaint, which individuals at your company or corporate will you escalate the inquiry to? What resources (i.e. training, staff, equipment) do you currently have available at your property to respond to social...

Millennial Renters Sep06

Millennial Renters

“The Millennials are coming, the Millennials are coming!” We’ve all heard some version of this over the last few years, but now they’re here and ready to rent. Are your properties positioned to get their attention? Here are six simple ways to attract more Millennials to your vacant properties. Learn how you can help them find, like, and trust you, so they will take the next step to becoming residents. Be found on mobile. According to Google, more searches now take place on mobile devices than on computers, and 87% of Millennials always have their smartphones handy – day or night. That means if you want today’s young renters to move in, they need to be able to find you when they’re searching on their phones. Is your property website optimized for viewing on mobile devices? If not, you’re missing out on valuable prospects and possibly not even ranking in search engines at all. Display accurate information instantly. Don’t waste anyone’s time by making your unit availability or prices hard to find. Millennials may be online often, but they’re in a huge hurry! Google tells us that while mobile sessions are increasing, time spent per site visit has decreased 18% in the last year alone. If searchers can’t quickly find the answers they need about your property, they’ll move on, rather than spend more time digging for information. Save yourself extra hassle (and data entry hours) by using online property management software that automatically and accurately updates your internet listings for you on multiple ILS sites. Use great photos. Don’t use outdated or blurry photos on your website, and definitely avoid stock photography whenever possible. Millennials are photo-savvy, thanks to their smartphones and photo-sharing sites like Instagram and Snapchat. They expect to see authentic...

Cooking for a Cause Aug18

Cooking for a Cause

The invitation-only Yardi Marketing Forum is designed to help professionals excel in marketing multifamily real estate. Attendees participate in focused discussions, interactive training, and engaging social activities—but first, they designated time to uplift the local community in Seattle. For the second segment of this biannual event, clients representing more than 35 companies from throughout the U.S. convened in Seattle. The forum kicked off with a welcome reception at W Seattle before heading to Cooking for a Cause at Blue Ribbon Cooking School. Cooking for a Cause is a corporate team building initiative that benefits local charities. For this event, the Yardi team volunteered to support ROOTS Young Adults Shelter, a nonprofit organization that fosters dignity for its clients through access to essential services and a safe place to sleep. One of the most essential services is access to a healthy meal. Cooking for a Cause participants prepare top-notch meals for those in need. The menu for the Yardi team included shepherds’ pie, grilled lime-marinated chicken and veggies, truffle mac n’ cheese, and chocolate molten lava cake for dessert—all from scratch. The group divided into teams with a chef at each helm to ensure smooth operations and delicious results. Participants peeled, chopped, diced, grilled, and baked together. A conga lined helped pass the time as the participants waited on the ovens. Cooking for a Cause was a huge success. The group furnished hundreds meals for ROOTS Young Adults Shelter. “It was a really fun experience. The atmosphere was…warm,” laughs Geneva Ives, marketing writer on the Yardi team. “We were in there cooking up a sweat! But it was also fun, friendly, and energetic. It was a nice collaborative effort.” Of course, the novice cooks reaped the benefits of their labor. The team enjoyed a meal...

User Behavior Aug16

User Behavior

If you’re at all involved with property marketing, you’ve probably been part of more than a few discussions about property marketing websites and their ability to convert prospects to leads and leads to leases. Great web conversions depend on your ability to truly understand your website visitors. How do they behave on your sites? What do they care about? How easy is it for them to get the information they need and take the next step? During this week’s Yardi Marketing Forum in Seattle, our very own Tudor Manole, development project manager for RENTCafé, will lead a session that takes a deep dive into user behavior on property websites through analytics, user testing, and real-time recording. For those of us unable to be at the forum in person, here is a quick synopsis of his presentation, “Gold Star for Good Behavior,” as well as a few insights that you may be able put to work on your own sites to increase web conversions. At a glance, can you tell whether a website – in any industry – will convert or not? Yes and no. Great web conversions depend on the ability to craft a simple user experience that is intuitive, uncluttered, and can be navigated without instructions. So visibly, a straightforward site with a clear user journey is a great start. But there is other data we have to take into account to create a successful website too. What is user experience and why is it important? For a website to convert leads, it has to have a user experience that helps prospects complete the conversion process instead of abandoning the site. User experience (UX) design means observing user behavior in many different ways, and natural use of product is one that should not be...

Marketing Q&A Aug10

Marketing Q&A

Our second Yardi Marketing Forum of 2016 is coming up next week, and we couldn’t be much more excited! Multifamily marketers from across North America will meet us in Seattle to talk tech, trends, and best practices during this multi-day conference. Talented guest speakers – from within and without the real estate industry – are a huge part of the success of this biannual conference. In preparation for the fun and learning ahead, we asked three of them to share some insights into their marketing roles. Keep reading to learn how these marketing pros got started, what they love about their jobs, and what’s inspiring them right now (spoiler alert: if you’re into Snapchat and Pokémon, you’re not alone). Meet the speakers: Kelly Cook, Chief Marketing Officer at Kmart Alex McGhee, Digital Marketing Manager at Pinnacle Karen Kossow, VP of Marketing at FORE Property Company Yardi: How did you get started in marketing? Kelly: I actually started out in finance, can you believe it?! From there, I managed a reservations call center, and was eventually asked to come to marketing to manage the new marketing IT systems. In marketing, I fell in love with inspiring our employees to deliver magic to our customers. Alex: I first got a taste of marketing in college when I obtained a minor in Marketing at the University of North Texas. After I graduated, I tried my hand in sales and financial services for a few years then landed a job with a small insurance startup overseeing SEO and SEM. That was really when I got hooked on the marketing career path! Yardi: What do you like best about your current role? Kelly: We have 100K passionate and member-focused employees at Kmart working hard every single day to transform our business. They inspire me to be a better leader, better colleague, better employee. Seeing them be the hero to our member – and seeing the member’s reaction… that’s the best part. Karen: Tough one… there are a number of things. I love that I’m getting to expand my knowledge base by working with new markets. There are a lot of great people here whom I really enjoy. Although it’s not a full rebrand, I am getting to be the driver of a FORE “brand tweak” with new corporate brochure and website. It’s a lot, but I’m a bit of a challenge junky – if everything were easy, I’d be bored. Yardi: Which marketing trends are inspiring you right now? Kelly: I’ve been on Snapchat for a long time, but now I’m getting snaps from our members and their kids. My Snapchat ID is runwayroadkill (nickname –  it’s long story, ha). Our members and their children snap me all of the time telling what they want more of or less of. It’s super fantastic! Alex: Snapchat’s geofilters are very intriguing at the moment. I have also very recently been exploring the benefits of piggy backing off the current global Pokémon trend. Karen: Yes, I’m also excited about Pokémon Go, and not necessarily for all of the same reasons as others. I do love how people have been leveraging it through social and other marketing tools, but for me it’s the fact that it’s such a successful use of augmented reality. Augmented reality has fascinated me for years, and I can’t wait until the costs to create/implement come down enough that we can find lots of ways to apply it to what we do. Hopefully I’ll still be alive and marketing when that happens! Yardi: What are you looking forward to most about the Yardi Marketing Forum in Seattle? Karen: I’ve met and gotten to know so many great people at the forums I’ve previously attended that I’m looking forward to doing so again. I love the ability to brainstorm about the RENTCafé platform products and to be able to talk to the experts about them....

Boost your B2B Jun27

Boost your B2B

By now, you likely know that collaboration between marketing and sales is necessary to achieve and exceed growth goals.  What you might not know is that without that unified approach, companies can lose 10 percent of revenue each year. For most businesses, the challenge is figuring out how to make interdepartmental teamwork effective. Organizations must begin with an equal playing field, where sales and marketing both receive support from upper management. Currently, that is not the case in many organizations. The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Business Marketing Association surveyed 237 B2B marketers for greater insights on workplace conditions. Only 42 percent of marketing respondents are consistently included at the senior management table. An eye-opening 37 percent expressed that senior management offered a “strong endorsement” of their efforts. Marketing and sales share a symbiotic relationship. Once leadership acknowledges their interdependence, both departments can work together to bolster growth. Esther Bonardi, Senior Director of Strategic Marketing at Yardi, offers these insights into bringing sales and marketing into a blissful and productive union: Partnership drives growth. “The goal of marketing is ultimately to drive qualified leads that are ‘sales ready,’” begins Bonardi (pictured, right). “Accomplishing this requires a lot of communication between sales and marketing.  All too often, it can be hard for one group to gain the attention of the other in order to effectively work together on a strategic plan.  A lack of meaningful communication is the greatest obstacle to this success.” The key to purposeful communication is exchanging resources and insights, sharing the same objectives, and consistency. “It is important for sales leaders to put time on their calendars to plan and strategize with their marketing counterparts, and to keep these appointments as if they were appointments with a key client,” says Bonardi....

What’s in a Name? Jun07

What’s in a Name?...

It’s important to think through all the possibilities before you name your community. You don’t want to turn off potential renters. Bart: He lied about his name!  Lisa: His name doesn’t matter, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.   Bart: Not if you called him Stench Blossom.   Homer: Or Crap Weed.   —The Simpsons Names don’t determine the personality traits of a person, but they do matter. And people do judge you by your name, even if it’s subconsciously. That’s why I didn’t name my daughter Kandy Kane Fiur. There will never be a supreme court justice named Kandy Kane (probably). The same goes for apartment communities. People put a lot of effort into naming their communities, which is why it’s sometimes baffling when you see communities that have names that could possibly be misconstrued. And it’s not just trying to avoid names that are offensive to people, which should be an obvious thing to do, but it’s looking in context. Take, for example, Plantation Flats. This name, in and of itself, isn’t so terrible. In fact, it’s kind of nice. But it’s a community located in South Carolina, which, for some people could have some negative connotations when they think of the name. Especially with all the controversy going on there right now. Maybe I’m just sensitive. (I mean, I did just bawl through the newest Pixar movie Inside Out, but, to be fair, I had just run out of popcorn, which definitely isn’t OK!) But it’s important to consider every possible meaning and association with a name before slapping it on a building. Be careful not to offend anyone or turn off potential renters. When naming a community, you should also think of the name’s longevity. For me at least, when apartment communities...

Snapchat Scoop Jun01

Snapchat Scoop

It’s possible you’re not using Snapchat yet for your apartment marketing. Or at all. And, I don’t blame you on that one. It’s hard enough monitoring your community Facebook page. And Twitter account. And maybe you even set up an Instagram account. What about Pinterest? Phew. That’s a lot of social media! Why incorporate another platform? Especially one that, when launched, sounded like it would just be used for teens to bully each other or something. I mean, disappearing pictures and videos? It totally sounds like the social media version of putting a flaming bag of poop on someone’s doorstep, ringing the bell and then running away. Attention grabbing, but ultimately an annoyance where the work doesn’t equal the reward. But, think again. Snapchat is huge right now. (Here’s a tutorial if you’re not familiar.) There are currently millions of users who use it daily. And most of its users are in the 34 years and younger group. Hey, a lot of renters are in that age group! Don’t you want their sweet, sweet eyeballs on your marketing efforts? Sure, maybe the app is just a flash in the pan. But remember, that’s what a lot of businesses said when Facebook started getting a lot of traction. And then, all of a sudden, everyone and their grandmother had an account, and people thought it was strange if they couldn’t find yours. The apartment industry is notoriously slow adopting to new technology. But why not get out ahead of the curve? And since Snapchat users skew a little younger than some of the other social media platforms, it might be a great place to focus marketing efforts for student housing communities. So, you’ve downloaded the app. What are some good ways to use it for...