The Top 5 Technologies that Will Impact the Multifamily Industry in 2013
Well, 2012 has come and gone, and I think it’s safe to say this has been an amazing year for technology in the multifamily industry. We continue to adopt new and exciting ways to drive customer engagement and interest while continuing to look for ways to optimize net operating income. We are only beginning to scratch the surface of what’s possible. I have no doubt that 2013 will be an even greater opportunity to expand how we use technology in this industry. Without further ado, here are the top five technologies that I feel will have a major impact on the way we do business in the new year.
1. Mobile Devices
Mobile technology is changing the multifamily industry, ready or not. It all starts with the prospect and more prospects are searching for apartments using their mobile devices than ever before. Property management companies know that they have to reach the next generation of renter’s or risk losing them to their competition. If you aren’t already leveraging mobile, it’s time to get in the game.
After a prospect has become a renter, the mobile experience doesn’t stop there. From online payments to mobile maintenance requests, your entire strategy needs to align with the needs of today’s resident. Now in the second decade of the 21st century, mobile usage continues to surpass desktop. It’s time for the entire industry to evolve along with its customers.
2. Local Data
Over the years local search has evolved from print yellow pages, to Internet listing services, and now the focus shifts again as more consumers do geographic specific searches for properties. The multifamily industry has always been local in its origins, and now must match focus to adapt in 2013.
A nationwide portfolio still needs representation on the local level, and that starts with good local data. Understanding variable pricing models based on geography is key, which allows you to target renters in different regions based on buying habits. If you are pricing on intuition as well as segmenting your portfolio based on size and not leveraging local data, you are missing a key ingredient.
3. Reputation Management
A few years ago Google coined the term “Zero Moment of Truth” or ZMOT for short. It speaks to a new moment of truth, where everyone from prospects to possible business partners examines your online reputation to see if you are trustworthy. Everything from social media to bad reviews is on the table, and the Internet won’t hold anything back.
It’s time to quit hiding under a rock and understand that some people aren’t going to be your friend when it comes to online content. In 2013 there is more information out there than ever, and some of it won’t be pretty. Facing your critics head on is the first step in setting the record straight.
In a world where software can examine what everyone in the world is saying about you in any given moment, you need to have a proactive strategy for protecting the most valuable asset you have, your reputation.
4. Rich Media
Can you think of the last time a piece of text went “viral?” My point exactly! Regardless of the industry, consumers are demanding more rich media. More videos, more pictures, and more engagement across everything you publish. If you aren’t engaging people with original and amazing content, why would they pay attention to you?
It’s clear from recent acquisitions by Google, Facebook, and Twitter that the future isn’t in text-based content, it’s in high resolution images and videos. How the multifamily industry adapts will largely depend on their ability to incorporate rich media into their marketing, which will in turn affect their search relevancy to prospective renters.
5. Big Data
Bringing it home with big data! This is the ace that trumps every other opinion in the room. Data doesn’t have an opinion and it doesn’t have an agenda. It is just right, every time. If you empower data, it will tell you which markets to get into, which assets are performing the best, and which areas of your business need improvement. There are more data stream coming online each day including everything from social media engagement, mobile location data, and author rank.
The problem isn’t gathering the data; it’s knowing how to analyze and manipulate it. Most property management companies already have a wealth of information within arm’s reach; they just don’t know how to translate data into actions that impact net operating income. Wall Street has an old adage that cash is king. For multifamily in 2013 and beyond, big data is king.
Do you agree with these choices? What technologies do you see impacting the multifamily industry in 2013?