Apartment Marketing for a One-Screen World


When the multifamily industry talks about online or digital apartment marketing, the conversations usually revolve around whether to optimize the campaign and content for Web, mobile, touch, or whatever new technology prospects and renters are using in their physical lives (not to mention the number of screens (or devices) people are using to consume that content) and how to divide the marketing spend among those channels and devices.

I was one of the marketers who embraced cross-platform consumer behavior touting the results from the Google study called The New Multi-Screen World.

However, that all changed after reading Ctrl Alt Delete by Mitch Joel, president of the digital marketing firm Twist Image and one of North America’s leading digital visionaries.

In fact, I think the multifamily industry needs to reboot its thinking and stop worrying about multiple screens and embrace the one screen that matters.

It’s All About One Screen

Image of book cover for Ctrl Alt Delete by Mitch JoelIn his book, Joel convincingly dismisses the focus on the multi-screen world and calls out the one screen that matters — the one in front of the consumer’s face.

Rather than worrying about (and counting) individual screens, Joel advocates adopting a digital-first posture across business units to bring about a holistic change in the customer experience:

“Stop looking at your business as physical, Web, and mobile. It’s about consumers, and the only thing that matters to them is the one screen that is in front of them.”

All those mobile and portable screens you’re worried about – laptops smartphones, tablets, e-readers – are largely useless until they’re connected and networked. The content broadcasted and created on those screens will be dictated by the user’s personal choice and device used.

The way Joel sees it; we no longer live in a world of multiple screens. We live in a world of one screen—whatever one screen is in front of you. And that’s the screen the multifamily industry needs to focus on.

Think of the Mobile Experience First

While the content you create must be accessible and engaging across any and all platforms, you need make the mobile experience your first priority. But Joel cautions against simply making a mobile version of a website, noting that the way someone accesses content on a mobile device is fundamentally different from a Web experience:

“Mobile is not a smaller version of a website…There are varying devices in-market, from mobile browsers that lack a lot of functionality to smartphones that offer unique browser experiences (think iPhone and Android). On top of that, iPad and the new tablet revolutions add a whole other layer of complexity to the equation.”

Do computers and laptops still matter? Absolutely. But as more and more consumers are using mobile as the first gateway to access content, you need to ensure that your apartment communities—your brand—hold up within the experiences provided by smartphones and tablets.

Welcome to Apartment Marketing in the One-Screen World

As the one-screen world gains market share, we are quickly moving to a world where all of our connected (and interconnected) devices will be mobile. This will be the primary way we connect to information, one another, brands, and yes, apartment communities.

Are you ready?

What do you think of the one-screen world vs. the multi-screen world? Do you agree with Mitch Joel? Or is he essentially talking about a multi-screen world but describing it differently?


Image source: iStockphoto



Contributor, Property Management Insider

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Michael Cunningham is Content Marketing Manager at ProofHQ, and the former Managing Editor of PropertyManagementInsider.com. He worked as a social media manager for RealPage, Inc., a provider of on-demand software solutions that integrate and streamline single-family and a wide variety of multifamily rental property management business functions. He is responsible for promoting the company through various media channels, including editorial, print and online advertising, and social media. Michael received his education at Indiana University where he majored in English.

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