Apartment Marketing for the Class of 2016: Adjust your Mindset


What Do the Initials LBJ Mean to You?
AP PHOTO: President Lyndon B. Johnson, left, on Nov. 17, 1967, and Miami Heat basketball star LeBron James on Aug. 12, 2011. The Beloit College Mindset List is a reminder that the initials LBJ that once stood for President Johnson, left, now make teenagers think of NBA star James.

When you see the initials LBJ, do you think of President Lyndon B. Johnson or NBA star LeBron James? How you answer that question is a reminder that today’s college students—your future and potentially current renters—see the world in a much different way.

And it’s this contrasting mindset from yesterday to today that could drastically affect the success of your future apartment marketing.

This week, Beloit College released its annual Mindset List for This Year’s Entering Class of First-Year College Students. The list was first created at Beloit College in 1998 to reflect the world view of entering first year college students and to remind teachers how differently their students view the world.

In addition to making me feel old, I realized that property owners and managers should keep that different world view in mind and maybe reference this list when putting together their apartment marketing plans.

One Size Fits All is Not a Valid Apartment Marketing Strategy

One trend I noticed when reading the most current list for the class of 2016, is that the new generation of renters are technology-focused. Okay, you knew that already, but take a look at these items and tell me if you notice a common theme:

  • This year’s entering college class of 2016 was born into cyberspace and they have therefore measured their output in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds
  • They have never needed an actual airline “ticket”
  • They prefer to watch television everywhere except on a television
  • Having grown up with MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for a radio at all
  • Before they purchase an assigned textbook, they will investigate whether it is available for rent or purchase as an e-book.

What’s the theme here? The ability to choose when and how to access the “bits, bytes, and bauds” they are interested in. So, are your apartment marketing and leasing processes designed to meet this focus on choice and self-service? Does your marketing copy emphasize these points? Do you hire/train staff to be up-to-date on the latest lingo and trends?

The Most Tribal Generation in History

Another point I found particularly interesting is that the new generation is probably the most tribal generation in history and despise being separated from contact with friends.

This explains why social media and mobile devices are so prevalent with Generation Y and younger. It’s the most convenient way to stay connected next to living together on campus in student housing.

But what happens when they’re ready to move into their own apartment? That tribal mentality isn’t going to go away after graduation.

Does your apartment marketing plan include a strategy to leverage social network resident referral campaigns? You want your residents to be brand evangelists, right? Why not help your existing residents build a tribe at your apartment community?

Adjusting Your Marketing Mindset

I’ve read plenty of articles and best practices on this website about managing and working with different generations in the workplace. But the bottom line is to always remember that each generation has different values, backgrounds, and…wait for it…mindsets.

It seems logical that by learning and embracing the mindset of today’s renters, you can adjust your apartment marketing strategy and content to maximize the impact it has on them.

What do you think? Do you take renter mindset into consideration when marketing and leasing? If so, how? Do you use different phrases or keywords for Generation X versus Generation Y?

To learn more about The Mindset List, and to read the entire list for the class of 2016 (not to mention feeling a little dated), visit www.themindsetlist.com.



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.

9 responses to “Apartment Marketing for the Class of 2016: Adjust your Mindset”

  1. Apartment Marketing for the Class of 2016: Adjust your Mindset: Today’s college students—your future and potenti… http://t.co/oU92LSHR

  2. Apartment Marketing for the Class of 2016: Adjust your Mindset http://t.co/qC1LRrDR

  3. Apartment Marketing for the Class of 2016: Adjust your Mindset http://t.co/iBgNLLsF via @propmgmtinsider

  4. One Size Fits All is Not a Valid Apartment Marketing Strategy –

  5. The tribal nature of these young adults is a key. It seems like having an inviting common area lounge where residents can hang out would be very helpful. Are you seeing that in new designs or rehabs?

  6. #Apartment Marketing for the Class of 2016: Adjust your Mindset http://t.co/0kFdTRsS #multifamily

  7. Sean says:

    Having neglected the social media connection for too long, I am now beginning to notice the positive effects with the younger generation. Need more ideas to reach Generation Y!

  8. […] “Apartment Marketing for the Class of 2016: Adjust your Mindset.” From Michael Cunningham, a couple of important insights about the most recent generation–not only how to understand their marketing needs, desires, and issues, but how to adjust your marketing approach to reach them. […]

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