Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your marketing. – Mike Volpe, Chief Marketing Office – Hubspot
Not another social prediction post! No, there are many really good ones already out there such as the one Mark Juleen posted with the help of Mike Whaling and Duncan Alney. Another fav is the one Brian Solis penned on the subject of social and how it relates to business in 2012.
I’m not heading for the broad angles or general predictions that seem to affront us all this time of the year. No, I would like to get a little more intimate and little more bold. To me 2012 will be the true year of pain for many of the tried and true resources that many of us have leaned on over the years to market our apartments and communities. The simple premise being that the proliferation of DIY platforms and DIY tools along with a growing level of comfort in using them have made it easier to compete.
The barriers to entry have crumbled and it’s time to ROCK!
My prediction comes in the way of a question -
Who will be your biggest apartment marketing competitor in 2012?
Print and Internet Listing Services
If you are anything like me you pay attention to everything the traditional ILS’s and print media outlets are doing in the social space and otherwise. In 2011 some of them made shrewd moves like employing our very own leasing consultant and management forces across the country to build Google Juice on their behalf. Brilliant but very un-partner like in my opinion. And, still others have stumbled; for example absolutely refusing to unbundle print from internet offerings until it was just frankly to late. Certainly soured my opinion of that specific group.
You just can’t see them as partners anymore [remember - they have to pay the light bill too] and to the extent that you can embrace that, use them where you need to [print and ILS are not broken and are still effective] and build a plan that brands you and your company first you will be better off. It’s frankly as important as sending out renewal letters and collecting the rent at this point.
Just know, anymore it’s not the building next door or across the street from you that is your biggest competitor. It’s more and more so the print media and ILS providers.
The Re-imagination of Locators in Secondary, Tertiary and Hyper Local Apartment Markets
Back in late 2004 or 2005 I met a guy named Eddie Passadore. Brilliant guy and passionate about the multifamily space. He came to work for Equity Residential and quickly went about producing some off the wall results. How? Craigslist. And, Rentwitheddie.com. That’s right he built out his own website, put his personal cell number on it, made himself available 24/7 and syndicated it via the emerging social platforms of the time. Namely Craigslist and MySpace. Result? He now runs his own property management firm in Portland, Oregon.
I recall spending countless hours brainstorming with Eddie about marketing oneself in lieu of physical buildings. It’s what inspired my personal blog [at the time called mike brewer on stuff and things] and the Portland Rocks Newsletter blog we ran back then that promoted Equity Residential’s Portland employees and properties. We talked about everything from using print to advertise our agents in lieu of our communities to building out personal websites for every single one of our agents. An idea I still think has some crazy potential [time and date stamped for future development]. And, he went and did it.
All that to suggest that the locator will have a major play in our space and many of our current day leasing consultants will be the people doing it.
If we are to contend with the fire hose of data and change that will come our way in 2012, we have to invest in ourselves. I think this is the year that those who have sat on the sidelines as observers and passive participants are going to come alive. They will finally get that if they don’t they will be cooked and standing in the unemployment lines across this great nation. This is the year that organizations raise the bar for talent. No longer will mediocrity be tolerated. And, no longer will it be just okay to muddle along.
You are your biggest competitor in 2012. You are your own benchmark. The you that you look at in the mirror today should be a distant memory by the time you make it out of bed tomorrow. And, in a more beautiful way!
Here is to us in 2012!
Go – and make it relentlessly compelling!