If you’re over 50, apartment marketing is something you buy from vendors. If you’re under 30, marketing is media you create so you can leverage and exploit the distribution networks of others to get eyeballs.
A decade ago, it was enough to be an expert ad buyer. But no more. Companies like Alliance Residential, Bozzuto Group, and, WC Smith are vertically integrated content shops producing consistently great media – from the written word to imagery, videos or new forms of social and mobile multimedia (see the slideshow below for examples).
The best multifamily marketers are great storytellers, weaving and sharing the narrative of people, product and place at every opportunity. The 2015 multifamily marketing executive is like a movie producer – gathering the resources to tell great stories, making sure the stories get distributed, and making sure the profits from those stories return to the company like any good investment.
Armed with media, marketers can use stories to engage in any channel where renters or referrers are to be found: ILSs, Instagram, Twitter, Craigslist, YouTube, with local bloggers, in the trades and industry publications or on their own web sites and mobile apps. Stories can be used over and over again. They can be adapted and customized for time of year. They can be collated into brochures and books and e-publications. Stories sell. (And so do photos of babies and dogs, but that’s a different blog post.)
In the digital age, consumers get value cues from the professionalism, beauty and targeting of the stories they read about products and services. High-definition photos are easier to understand and thus equate to a better value. A funny or touching story creates empathy and a desire to linger. People still buy from people and identify with others who are engaged in solving the problems they face. The best multifamily marketing teams have recognized a way to convey their humanity most effectively by creating the media that represents their true and authentic lifestyle.
The theme for this year’s conference – The Producers – recognizes this new normal for the in-house producers of marketing across the apartment industry. We’ll celebrate best practices in creating compelling stories, and story elements. You’ll learn how to sharpen your writing, script and shoot a video, take great photos (and aerial photos too) and create new multimedia. You’ll improve how you craft location and amenities into stories prospects identify with. And we’ll take a fresh look at which content goes into which distribution channel for maximum exposure.
To paraphrase last year’s keynote speaker, our industry’s humanity lies in our fundamental stories about homes, security, status, lifestyles and community. Every community is a brand, and every resident interaction is a potential story that can reach the heart of someone who wants to be a member of that tribe. We hope you’ll join us at AIM for an exploration of what could be possible.