New on #AptChat: Marketing Best Practices for Acquisitions and Management Takeovers
Each week, we monitor the Twitter-based discussions on #AptChat and provide a recap of tips property managers contribute about running properties more effectively.
The theme of this week’s discussion was “Marketing Best Practices for Acquisitions and Management Takeovers.” Acquisitions, takeovers and dispositions often have big implications for marketing, but there are things you can do to smooth the transition and limit disruption.
Here’s an overview of the chat as guest moderated by Lori Valenti Webb, Director of Marketing for Lennar Multifamily:
What are some of the most important marketing considerations to keep in mind before, during and after a property acquisition?
Lori Webb provided the first answer to this question, stressing the importance of organizing all the existing digital marketing assets (photos, websites, social media, etc.) in a Dropbox folder, and knowing what is propriety vs. what will be shared. She mentioned that there may be many leftover printed materials, and these can be offered to the new company as a nice gesture. Depending on the type of takeover or acquisition, some of the materials might be made obsolete due to names or logos that no longer apply. In some cases, takeovers create good opportunities for a brand makeover. In other cases, continuity makes the most sense.
A property manager jumped in to point out the need to ask for access to social media accounts and prospect lists, since most companies are willing to share them.
Another manager advised that staff stay flexible and ready to roll with the changes – and that since change is scary and takeovers can inspire fear, employees should be kept informed and made to feel safe. Rumors help nobody.
The issue of keeping current teams in place vs. moving people around came up during the discussion. One manager said that in some cases, where possible, they might put experienced people at the new site and move “newbies” to a stable asset to train – if, that is, there are sister sites in the market. She mentioned that the current site team should always be debriefed in case any leave, since they know best what has worked or not worked in marketing the property.
Is there an ideal schedule for when you need to complete certain marketing tasks? How do you approach and manage that schedule?
One property manager advised that market studies be carried out, comps shopped, new collateral ordered and advertising plans lined up ahead of time. Guest host Lori Webb mentioned that she uses Smartsheet or Basecamp to manage dates, and holds regular divisional meetings to review action items and deliverables during the takeover or acquisition.
What are some things you can do to make the transition go as smoothly as possible (from either side of the transaction)?
Webb led off by saying that communication between all parties is paramount, as well as knowing who the players are on both sides, along with their contact information. The willingness to share information with the new owner/management company in an organized way was also mentioned. Then the discussion turned to employees’ decisions as to whether to stay on or find another job, sometimes influenced by stay-on bonuses. Sometimes, it was remarked, this comes down to a battle between the fear of being left jobless and the prospect of a healthy bonus.
Thinking digital, how do you leverage anything that was working well (reviews, SEO, social, etc.)? What are some tips?
The consensus here was for managers to find out early on what’s been working and keep it up as long as it falls within the new budget; don’t lose momentum! This led to the subject of letting residents know about the changes to avoid negative gossip, and present these changes in a positive light, including new policies, programs, site staff, etc. Avenues mentioned for keeping residents informed included ActiveBuilding, email blasts, Facebook updates and resident events to meet new team members.
That’s it for this week’s roundup of the discussion at #AptChat. Look for our next segment coming soon!