The dust has now settled after an incredible and informative week at AIM, bringing an opportunity to reflect on key insights from the event. AIM always presents multifamily marketers with the opportunity to explore, analyze and plan for the latest digital trends. This year, conversations and sessions at the event felt more focused, meaningful and forward-looking than ever. It was clear that attendees were eager to learn more about the opportunities and risks presented by the fast pace of change in the digital landscape while remaining cautious about some of the unusual macroeconomic headwinds facing the industry. On top of this, while eager to stay ahead of the latest trends, marketers in our industry must continue to focus on maximizing leasing opportunities during this peak season while preparing for the budget season ahead. It is safe to say, multifamily marketers have a lot on their minds!
The Rent. team had substantive conversations with our partners about everything from fragmented media consumption habits amongst the next generation of renters to the impact of AI on marketing to slowing rent growth and increased supply in the construction pipeline. Our teams, from our CEO to Product Development to Sales Consultants to Customer Experience filter their work and priorities through the simple question:
“How can we help today’s multifamily marketers keep up with the proliferation of digital platforms in the most efficient way possible to help them exceed their goals?”
And it all starts with a clear multichannel strategy, versatile content and the ability to execute quickly.
Rent. was honored to facilitate a panel, “The New Science of Multifamily Marketing” on the main stage at AIM with great marketing minds from Google and Cadence Communications. Below is a list of the top ten takeaways from that session.
1. Multifamily Marketing is more complex than ever.
But this presents opportunities.
The proliferation of channels and platforms blowing up in popularity (and sometimes then fading away), including TikTok, BeReal, Bluesky, OTT, micro-influencers and so many more, can seem overwhelming and difficult to tackle. With so many channels impacting the traditional marketing funnel, where do you start? The answer? You start with the renter. The power of an integrated digital marketing approach begins with understanding the renter journey, and making the correct touch points at the right moment. In this digital first journey, your website, ILS and social channels are all hubs for renters to research, request tours and even resolve issues once they become residents.
2. Marketing works. Integrated marketing works best!
Understand that one piece of your marketing might not be as measurable as another, but each touch point can drive business. Focus on big picture results whilst testing and iterating frequently. Be sure to look at the impact on other programs and campaigns when adding and/or removing things from your media mix. Sometimes you see an impact where you least expect it as one marketing channel compliments another.
3. Find the online venues where your renters are but your competitors are not.
Consider new channels and be where your competitors aren’t yet. A first move advantage should not be underestimated, don’t be afraid to test new channels quickly.
4. Marketing is math.
When testing new channels and integrated campaigns, go in with a hypothesis and use data to prove or disprove that assumption quickly. If a channel isn’t working, iterate or move on to a new test. The key is using metrics to quickly understand the impact of your work.
5. Versatile content delivers the most value.
By building versatile, authentic content that can be leveraged across channels, you allow renters to engage in the ways that work for them. Whether they start on an ILS or social media, you can use different digital marketing channels to guide the rental journey and connect prospects to their next home. Think about content from a scaled perspective. Shoot closeups that you can use across multiple properties. Show lifestyle moments and duplicate that content. No need to reinvent the wheel.
6. Engage with your community!
Renter or Apartment Manager content can be generated into authentic and entertaining TikToks and Reels. Renter reviews create some of the best social proof for your communities. Don’t stress about the perfect image – be authentic and align the creative with the platform. There is such a thing as too perfect, especially on some of the newer social channels.
7. Technology is great but it needs to be mapped to human experience.
AI, tour technology, chatbots, geofencing strategy and influencer content can be strategically leveraged to deploy the right engagement at the best time. AI also presents a new found opportunity to scale some of the more administrative elements of marketing work, to help your teams focus on creativity and engagement.
8. Play, learn, adapt.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. This is now a marketing best practice and frequent change is the new normal. Whether or not we like it, today’s channels turn over constantly. As marketers, we need to feel confident to try something new, have the tools to track its success and change course accordingly. Rather than being fearful, flip the switch and embrace the opportunity to take small chances and try new things. Build it into the budget, be prepared with next steps. With the ability to have several tools at your fingertips, marketers can pivot and use the tools that engage in a way that provides results.
9. You snooze, you lose.
Don’t procrastinate, and don’t be afraid to get started! Explore new channels now and take inspiration from inside and outside the industry. There are great examples all around us – don’t limit yourself by being solely focused on examples just from our industry.
10. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Fail fast and fail forward.
Don’t be frightened of making mistakes in marketing. Keep it small and you can test and learn, and if you keep trying new and exciting things, you’ll find new ways to engage with renters, ultimately keeping your staff and residents happy. As an add bonus, you might be surprised how fun it can be to try new channels!