AIM Insights

By on May 21, 2018 in Marketing, News

Multifamily marketers gathered in Huntington Beach, California, for the 2018 Apartment Internet Marketing (AIM) Conference on May 6-9. This year’s event focused on the latest digital marketing trends and technologies.

“Marketing executives are increasingly called on to shape the resident experience and manage the pace of innovation,” shared Steve Lefkovits, executive producer of AIM. “We’re delighted to have Yardi and RentCafe as partners in educating the industry about the future.”

Some conference highlights for multifamily marketers:

Customer Experience Matters

Customer experience is the new marketing. At the AIM keynote, Charlene Li, principal analyst at Altimeter and co-author of Groundswell, challenged marketers to examine relationships and experiences. “If you’re not focusing on the customer experience, you’re working on the wrong things,” emphasized Li.

Why does customer experience matter? Because the data says so! According to resident satisfaction data from J Turner Research, Q1 2018 apartment reviews grew by 78% as compared to Q1 2017. The average number of reviews per property has grown 20% since Q1 2017, averaging more than 86 reviews per property. The study found a strong correlation between online reputation and resident satisfaction. Resident experience matters, and it influences renter and prospect purchasing behavior.

In a session on customer engagement and loyalty, Joseph Batdorf, president of J Turner Research, stressed, “Resident satisfaction matters. Making sure they’re happy affects their willingness to renew a lease.”

Customer Engagement Also Matters

To create a better customer experience, you need to engage your customer from the get-go and keep them engaged throughout their time with you. Where can you innovate your customer engagement strategy?

Pictured: Heather Palmer, Director of Leasing Strategies at Continental Realty Corporation, Paul Yount, Industry Principal at Yardi, and Tiffany LaRocca, Marketing Campaign Specialist at Yardi

  • Create a well-rounded engagement strategy. Implementing a multi-source lead attribution model can help marketers more accurately assign value to each touchpoint in the buyer journey.
  • Market to common values to bolster your engagement. Sticking to common themes, such as social responsibility, storytelling and local content, will help build a brand reputation that is
    grounded in core values and authenticity.
  • Engage customers and track interactions on multiple digital channels. Data is power and with analysis, you can understand the types of content and experiences your residents crave.
  • Use your current technology to cultivate positive customer experiences. Extend your CRM system into a long-term relationship machine. Thoughtful interactions, such as text
    message updates and satisfaction surveys, can go a long way.

Marketing Automation Should Be Working for You

AIM speakers Jamie Gorski, chief marketing officer at Bozzuto, and Esther Bonardi, vice president of marketing at Yardi, explored the many benefits of marketing automation to create a more engaging customer experience. Marketing automation reduces repetitive tasks, tracks user behavior and delivers targeted content. It can be used to enhance resident experiences and optimize prospect outcomes.

Pictured: Jamie Gorski, Chief Marketing Officer at Bozzuto, and Esther Bonardi, Vice President of Marketing at Yardi

“There are so many channels where we can use automation. It’s not one channel, it’s across the board,” said Gorski.

Automating parts of your website with nudge marketing and online tour scheduling can help improve the lead-to-lease experience for prospects. Simple changes, such as automating review and survey requests, can help expand your brand’s footprint while also collecting resident feedback.  “With automation tools designed to check in with residents, conduct surveys, provide contact support and offer timed renewal savings, both your retention rates and your bottom line will improve,” explained Bonardi.

Download our free eBook to take your marketing automation to the next level with simple strategies you can implement today.

Never Stop Learning

As marketers, we’re continually learning, and our industry is everchanging. “If you ever get to a point where you feel you’re done learning, you’re in a bad spot,” said Maria Banks, president and CEO of AMLI Management Company. We couldn’t agree more, so we suggest you mark your calendar for the next AIM Conference in May 2019!