A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of attending the Digible Annual Multifamily Marketing Summit in Denver Colorado. When you get a team of multifamily marketers and technologists together you know it’s going to be a great time! In this month’s article I will focus on sharing some of the learnings that emerged for me as a non-marketing professional; many thanks to the entire team at Digible for putting on such a tremendous gathering of amazing people with so much to share. And with that, here we go:
1. Connectivity of the Entire Leasing Life Cycle Requires Communication
In the Multifamily Industry we are entrusted with one of the most important assets in many people’s lives, their home. As housing providers we have a tremendous responsibility to ensure that the homes we provide are safe, clean, and well maintained. As easy as that sounds, if you think it’s hard to get your kids to keep their bedroom tidy, imagine the undertaking of keeping a 100+ unit community humming. The staff, the residents, the competing pressures of market conditions, investors and regulators, plus all the innumerable, unpredictable daily events that happen at every community (Flooding in the lobby! A feral cat just had kittens in the maintenance shed! All of the managers in an entire region are out on maternity leave at the same time!) can result in stress, chaos and confusion.
It’s exhausting to think about all the minutiae that can, and does, occur at every property, let alone how much and what exact information should be pushed from the staff to their regional managers at the management company, and then to ownership and their asset managers, and finally to the investors. Connectivity of data sources can help surface issues, but does not necessarily tell a whole and complete picture. Rather the use of technology assists in removing the noise created by repetitive tasks that still need to be done, allowing us to focus on the things that are important and need to be shared to improve the housing experience for everyone.
2. Centralization = Efficiency, With Clearly Defined Roles and Responsibilities
As a startup founder and serial entrepreneur, I can best describe myself as a generalist. In the world of startups, founders wear many hats; sometimes we wear all the hats! Sina Shekou, the founder and CEO of Aptly, shared in his keynote presentation that when hiring remote teams, it is critical to provide a narrow job focus and detailed documentation. Centralization requires discipline and clarity, which can be hard in the ever changing world of startups. But when hiring remote workers, it is critical to provide detailed, well defined workflows to set people up for success. By providing narrow tasks to each role, the team member can focus and master the steps before adding more.
Sina’s platform provides automation, another necessary tenant of centralization. Not every operator has the size and scale to go all-in with centralization. Still, there are many steps in the resident life cycle that can be centralized (accounting? marketing?) and automated (lease signing? renewals?). Such practices warrant serious consideration for operators of any size.
3. Marketing Attribution For Residents is Still a Challenge
Lots of discussions were had about the issues related to marketing attribution. It continues to be a problem as there is often no way to nail down the originating source of a marketing lead online, and getting teams to manually code the attribution does not lend to high levels of accuracy.
4. AI Will Drive Us to … More Human Connections?
As the landscape of marketing continues to evolve, professionals in the multifamily property industry have a unique opportunity to leverage cutting-edge technologies like big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to transform their marketing strategies. By harnessing the power of these innovative tools, property owners and managers can gain invaluable insights, enhance their targeting capabilities, and ultimately optimize their marketing efforts. So what does that have to do with driving more human connection?? The group posited that layering in more and more technology touchpoints will result in an inert craving for human connection, and perhaps result in a drive for more people to pick up the phone and reach out on a personal level. Whether that is the unintended consequence of layering in more AI to our workday routines remains to be seen, but it would still be nice to get a call every now and then.
5. Authenticity and Vulnerability Rock… And Are a Little Bit Scary For Most of Us
We had some inspiring keynote from Cyndie Spiegel, author of the book Microjoys, that challenged all of us to rethink and relearn our perception of leadership. Cyndie challenged us to face our fears, throw our vulnerabilities to the side and acknowledge that our shared experiences are what make us human. She enlightened us that when we do these ‘scary’ things, the reward is uncovering an authenticity that builds teamwork, trust, and community.
The proof of this concept in practice was the Digible team – led by Reid, David, and Nicole. Theirhonest caring and concern for one another, their clients, and heck, even other vendors like us who were invited to speak, was self-evident in the execution of the Summit. There was no sales pitch, nor much mention of Digible and it’s products, rather the Summit served as a testament to how authentically caring for one’s community is, and continues to be, the best marketing tip of all.