It’s a Data-Driven World: Apartment Industry Marketing Trends


2015 AIM Conference Recap

Leave it to apartment industry marketers to find levity at any conference. May’s Apartment Internet Marketing (AIM) conference in Huntington Beach, Calif., was no exception. Co-founder of dating website OkCupid, Christian Rudder, entertained the group during his keynote on how he uses data to cultivate his site, and some front-office “PenFu” fighting over a cheap ballpoint pen generated a few laughs during the 2015 AIM Video Awards.

Changes coming to multifamily

Prevalent themes from this year’s AIM conference centered on emerging technology trends, big data, and changes in consumer behavior. Also behind conference doors, data analytics and digital marketing gurus, meanwhile, talked about another kind of race, a digital one that’s on in multifamily housing.

Making it through “Mobilegeddon”

After news trickled down on the day that Google announced more searches for information are taking place on mobile devices than computers, a handful of panelists encouraged marketers to ready themselves at the starting block and sprint toward the abundance of available data to drive revenue without being solely driven by cost.

We spoke with Rich Hughes, RealPage’s head of data science, on how data is changing the way multifamily industry markets. Hughes says there is a better way to market apartments than the cost-based approach centered on generating leads by the cheapest means possible.

Data drives marketing

Marketers that try to reduce the cost per lead as much as possible to stretch the budget may be paying more in the long run.“Rather than say my objective is to buy my advertising as cheaply as possible, I should make marketing a strategic function,” said Hughes, who presented at the AIM Conference panel, “Marketing Analytics: It’s a Data-Driven World”. “The lens that we’re marketing through, this cost-based accounting lens, does marketing a disservice.”

Hughes said the bigger mission that people often forget is the importance of interfacing people and products, and that apartments shouldn’t fall into the role of being order takers. Instead, marketing plans should get to the finish line by spending wisely on how they advertise based on needs. Not everyone wants every type of product, he says. Honing in on exact needs and drawing from the increasing pool of data generated by the industry for precise targeting is a much better approach.

Rich Huges, 2015 AIM Conference

“If I have availability for two bedrooms, I should be targeting people who want to live in two bedrooms,” he said. “If I have a renewal problem, why aren’t I targeting people who I think will be great long-term tenants that will sign multiple leases?”

Apartment ILS data and market intelligence firms like MPF Research are overflowing with information that can supply property owners and management companies marketing intelligence. Hughes says that data that can give apartments a big advantage with the right marketing spend, not one just based on quantity instead of quality, is ripe for the picking.

“Spend your money wisely.”

(Image Sources: 2015 AIM Conference Facebook Page, Shutterstock)


Contributing Editor, Property Management Insider
President, Ballpark Impressions, LLC

author photo two

Tim Blackwell is a long-time publishing and printing executive in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who writes about the multifamily housing and transportation industries. He has contributed numerous articles to Property Management Insider, and worked as a newspaper reporter in the D/FW area. Blackwell is president of Ballpark Impressions, and publishes the Cowcatcher Magazine. He is a member of the Fort Worth Chapter/Society of Professional Journalists.

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