Who you calling little? Donald Davidoff, Scott Wesson and Jessica Mills debate the merits of Big Data at AIM 2014.

Who you calling little? Donald Davidoff, Scott Wesson and Jessica Mills debate the merits of Big Data at AIM 2014.

Transaction volume in multifamily is simply too slow for leveraging the buzz of Big Data, and so AIM 2014: Conspire dove into a simpler intelligence behind business intelligence. On the Little Data: Simple KPIs to follow panel, D2 Demand Solutions founder Donald Davidoff, Carmel Partners Director of Revenue management Jessica Mills and UDR chief information officer Scott Wesson made the case instead for little data, based on academic research recently profiled in the Harvard Business Journal.

“There there is so much buzz about big data, and one of the ways we know we don’t have big data is to compare it against other industries,” says Wesson. “When you go into a Nordstrom, they are tracking everywhere you go. Not to make you paranoid, but they have facial recognition software, they know your gender, your age, your purchasing history, and they track the path that you take through the store.”

Characterizing multifamily in terms of gigabytes and not terabytes, the panel stressed that apartment marketers can still make strategic and tactical improvements in marketing by tracking and paying attention to simpler, non-quant data. “We’re really using medium data,” Mills says. “I came from the airline industry and that kind of transaction density is just not there in multifamily as our sales cycle is much longer. But there are big wins to be had with what we already have. You can get very good at tracking simple numbers, and there is a lot of opportunity where we are right now before we move on to something as sophisticated as facial recognition.”

Davidoff agreed, and stressed that apartment marketers need not be perennially caught up in the business intelligence zeitgeist. “As marketers, and in multifamily, you don’t need to master big data,” Davidoff says. “If you can just master the little data, that’s good enough.”

Download the Little Data: Simple KPIs to follow presentation here.

Amanda Zinsmeyer speaks on the "I Stole This Idea" panel at AIM 2014 with Charity Zierten and Sarah Greenough.

Amanda Zinsmeyer speaks on the “I Stole This Idea” panel at AIM 2014 with Charity Zierten and Sarah Greenough.

Calling themselves “creative kleptomaniacs,” the AIM 2014 “I Stole this Idea” panel featuring moderator and Socially Engaged Marketing chief engagement officer Charity Zierten, Behringer Harvard Multifamily director of marketing Amanda Zinsmeyer and Princeton Properties senior vice president and chief marketing officer Sarah Greenough definitely took the conference’s Conspire theme to heart.

The panel addressed how marketers can benefit from stealing adapting and adopting best practices from competitor and even consumer marketing campaigns. “The key is that you want to gain inspiration from others, not blatantly rip them off,” explained Greenough. “Inspiration is everywhere, it doesn’t have to be within our industry. It can be anything that has a good match with your company.”

To that end, Zinsmeyer showcased a pet ambassador campaign based off of a successful model at Kimpton hotels. After a pet ambassador finalist contest, Diego the Dog became an entire integrated campaign featuring a Facebook page, a Bark Box, a Yappy Hour, and messages from Diego directly to resident pets concerning pet amenities, policies and procedures.

“You might think it is hard to keep up with a dog’s Facebook page, but it’s not,” Zinsmeyer says of the campaign, which was spread across 35 properties. “Americans are spending an all time high $55.7 billion on pet expenditures. That’s slated to increase to $60 billion in 2014, and represents 95.6 million cats and 83.3 million dogs. Dogs and cats have become part of our family.”

In addition to pet-centric campaigns, the panel looked at applications of Elf’d, Facebook sweater contests, and other uses of photography for resident contest and participation campaigns. “Hasn’t everyone done photo contest? I don’t know where the start was, but we are all doing it now,” Greenough says. “It shows you don’t have to reinvent successful formulas, you simply need to customize it to your brand personality.”

Download the I Stole This Idea: Adopting and Adapting Great Marketing Strategies presentation here.  

Jill McNiesh and Bill Szczytko on the Digital Doomsday panel at AIM 2014.

Jill McNiesh and Bill Szczytko on the Digital Doomsday panel at AIM 2014.

You are your own best antivirus. With 82,000 new malware threats every day, no computer is ever completely “up to date” on security, and protecting apartment Internet marketing from digital threats requires a proactive stance, according to the Digital Doomsday: Marketing Out of Your Control panel at the 2014 Apartment Internet Marketing panel.

“Hackers succeed because of one thing: complacency,” explains Maryland Management director of IT Bill Szczytko, who joined property management consultant Heather Blume and FPI Management social media and reputation manager Jill McNiesh on the panel that addressed net neutrality, anonymous ratings and reviews, typosquatting, domain hijacking, and denial of service attacks among a host of real threats to apartment marketers.

“We all work really hard at our job, and despite our best efforts, consumers will still tell us that we suck,” says McNiesh, who addressed reputation management in a world of anonymous ratings and reviews. “But even when people hate us, they still may have a point about our service or brand.”

In a survey conducted exclusively for the AIM session, attendees reported broad-based adoption of advanced reputation management strategies, says McNiesh, including:

-       85 percent of those surveyed said there was a reputation management plan in place at their firm

-       100 percent said they try to respond to all reviews.

-       70 percent said the corporate office or marketing is responsible for responding to reviews

“Corporate ownership is great because that is where the messaging and the brand is clear,” McNiesh says. “However, they are less likely to know the resident and be less able to add a personal touch like an onsite manager who has the relationship with the customer, but may not understand the corporate brand as well.”

Indeed, securitizing and strengthening online marketing is a team effort across platforms, disciplines, and systems. “Computers are required in everything that you, and the burden is on you to be smart about it,” Szczytko sais. “But you’re not alone. 97 percent of all Fortune 500 businesses have been hacked, and the other 3 percent got hacked too. They just don’t know it yet.”

Download the AIM 2104 Digital Doomsday presentation here.

The MTEC Best New Multifamily Start-Up Competition. (L to R) Judge Josh McDonald, Winner Dan Daugherty from Remotely, and Judges Carie Powell and Mike Britti.

AIM congratulates our 2014 [M]TEC Best New Multifamily Start-Up Competition winner Remotely.

Through preliminary judging at MTEC and the final round on stage at the 2014 Apartment Internet Marketing Conference, Remotely — a mobile app offering a full suite of home automation including environmental controls, keyless entry, and smart device communication for renters — was deemed by the judges as offering the most compelling and unique value proposition to multifamily.

The MTEC Best New Multifamily Start-Up Competition. (L to R) Judge Josh McDonald, Runner-up Daniel Cunningham from Leonardo 24/7, and Judges Carie Powell and Mike Britti.

The MTEC Best New Multifamily Start-Up Competition. (L to R) Judge Josh McDonald, Runner-up Daniel Cunningham from Leonardo 24/7, and Judges Carie Powell and Mike Britti.

Leonardo 24/7, a web-based application for managing operations, maintenance, and training received the 2014 [M]TEC Best New Multifamily Start-Up Competition runner up award.

“All of the companies that presented at MTEC and the finalists that moved on to compete at the AIM conference had incredible ideas for multifamily,” noted Carie Powell, CEO of Aeris Properties and a judge throughout the two-day competition. “It was extremely difficult to narrow our selection down to just one company, as in the judge’s mind all of our contestants showed up with winning presentations.”

Companies participating in the 2014 [M]TEC Best New Multifamily Start-Up Competition included:

August Presenter: Jason Johnson, CEO

GoToMyApartment.com Presenter: Joshua Swanson, CEO

Happy Inspector Presenter: Jindou Lee, CEO

InRentive Presenter: Melissa K. Moline, Founder

Leonardo 24/7 Presenter: Daniel Cunningham, Founder

Parcel Pending Presenter: Lori Torres, CEO

Property Connect Presenter: Tim Manson, Founder & CEO

Pynwheel Presenter: Jennifer Cox Cyphers, Founder & CEO

Remotely Presenter: Dan Daugherty, CEO Rentbits.com

[M]TEC would also like to thank our 2014 judges, including:

Mike Britti, Senior Vice President Acquisitions & Alliances, RealPage
Josh McDonald, Director of Marketing, Holland Residential
Carie Powell, Owner, Aeris Properties
Eric Silverman, Founder & Managing Partner, Eastham Capital
Dirk Wakeham, Managing Director, Westlake Ventures

Bell Partners CAO Robert Slater polls the AIM 2014 audience during his Sell It! presentation.

Bell Partners CAO Robert Slater polls the AIM 2014 audience during his Sell It! presentation.

As a former trial lawyer and now chief administrative officer for Bell Partners, Robert Slater has seen his share of crazy ideas. “I’ve ran operations for Trammel Crow and AvalonBay and have developed a pretty good detector for that,” Slater said in Sell It! Bringing AIM Ideas Back Home to Executives presentation at the 2014 Apartment Internet Marketing Conference. “I’ve made a lot of pitches and Ive heard a lot of pitches, and I have developed  a fairly fine-tuned BS meter.”

Slater’s three keys for selling marketing ideas to the executive suite: Prepare, Present and Preserve. “You’ve got to know the idea, you’ve got to master it,” he explains. “You’ve got to know the true cost and ROI, and  you have to know your internal customer at your company. Who will you be selling your ideas to?”

Prepare: Be selective with the ideas that you choose. What problem does your idea solve and how well do you articulate that problem? Know your ROI.

Present: Choose a persuadable moment. Are you right in the emotional state? Tired, depressed and angry are not the best emotions to take into a meeting. Likewise is the decision maker in the right emotional state?

Preserve: Don’t put your neck entirely on the line or jeopardize your standing or relationship for a single idea. You want to preserve your relationships, your job, your career and your ability to present again.

Slater adds that bureaucracy can be the idea-holder’s best friend. “Formalized processes are to your benefit. Then you simply have to know your product, know your cost, know your customer and get support for your idea.”

Finally, Slater recommends that marketing executives — or any multifamily executives for that matter — think outside of their own silo when it comes to implementing or selling new ideas, particularly ones that will ultimately impact operations teams. “I’m amazed at how many people still propose initiatives and don’t think about the impact to operations,” Slater says. “Guess what? All great ideas ultimately hit the properties — that is where the customer is at and that is where the money is earned.”

Click here to download the Sell It! Bringing AIM Ideas Back Home to Executives presentation.

The 2014 AIM Video Awards Team (L to R) Sarah Milligan, Lynn Musil, Sarah Greenough, Pete Regules and Israel Carunungan

The 2014 AIM Video Awards Team (L to R) Sarah Milligan, Lynn Musil, Sarah Greenough, Pete Regules and Israel Carunungan

There were slow claps, “us-ies” (group selfies), high-fives and even some air hugs all thanks to The Dr. of Fun, Pete Regules, emcee of the 2014 AIM Video Awards and Lynn Musil, video award sponsor On-Site’s Vice President of Sales. Joining Pete and Lynn this year was our revered panel of expert judges – Sarah Milligan (Preservation Management), Sarah Greenough (Princeton Properties) and Israel Carunungan (Greystar)- who were tasked with judging more than 50 video submissions — more than double the number of entries from last year. Goes to show video is becoming a key strategy in any high-powered marketing program. And we love it!

Pete, Lynn and the judges may have brought the fun and insights, but it was this year’s Grand Winners and Runner-Ups who brought the video marketing prowess. And really, that is what you care about, so let’s check them out:

Best Supplier Partner, Product/Offering

Runner-up: GoToMyApartment: “Camden South Capitol: A Community Tour”

Grand Winner: Property Solutions: “Entrata: Prison Break”

Funniest Video

Runner-up: Lincoln: “Things Residents Say”

Grand Winner: Alliance Residential: “Alliance University”

Best Professionally Shot, Property Management

Runner-up: Guardian: “Linden Lifestyle”

Grand Winner: Camden: “Welcome Home to Holly Springs”

Judge’s Pick & Short Form: Alliance Residential: “Do it at Icis”

Judge’s Pick & Amateur Video: Duraleigh Woods, a Riverstone Residential Property: “Smiling”

Best Company Culture, Supplier Partner

Runner-up: RealPage: “Real World 2014 Da Keynote Speaker Revealed”

Grand Winner: Property Solutions: “2013 Summit Kick-off”

Best Company Culture, Property Management

Runner-up: Franklin Johnston Group: “We Are Franklin Johnston Group”

Grand Winner: The Bozzuto Group: “The Journey”

All of our submissions were amazing and it was a tough task for our judges this year. Be sure to check out soon for updates with all the video submissions for your viewing pleasure. We look forward to seeing what amazing videos are submitted for the 2015 AIM Video Awards! And again congratulations to all of our winners!

DebatesIs there still a golden future for apartment ILSs? Has social media lost its relevance to apartment marketers and property managers? Will Craigslist overcome recent backlash to its posting policies and remain a most-favored multifamily marketing channel?

Find out during The Great Debate Session at AIM 2014: Conspire — a three round bout of hotly contested industry issues to close out this year’s Apartment Internet Marketing Conference. Moderated by Riverstone Residential Group CEO Terry Danner, each of the AIM debates pit the industry’s top thought leaders against each other in the most heavyweight of multifamily marketing arenas:

-       Apartment List CEO John Kobs takes on Property Solutions International CEO Dave Bateman on the continued value of Craigslist.

-       Apartment Finder President Marcia Bollinger defends the ILS title against upstart Move.com Senior Director of Product Management Todd Callow.

-       J.C. Hart Company Vice President of Marketing Mark Juleen contends with Maryland Management Director of IT Bill Szczytko’s challenge on the future of social media.

Only a handful of tickets remain for AIM 2014. Register today to gain access to The Great Debate Main Event and three days of the best multifamily marketing education and peer networking available.  And make sure you stay for the final bell—we promise it’ll be a knockout!


AIM 2014: Conspire announces this year’s power panel line up of apartment industry executives set for an intimate look at the state of multifamily marketing. Addressing integration, changes in mobile and web strategy, you’ll get the marketing low-down from the perspective of multifamily management and ownership leaders including Kettler Management president Cindy Clare, Related Management president Jeff Brodsky and Alliance Residential COO Brad Cribbins.

Just prior to the AIM keynote on Tuesday, May 6, these industry thought leaders will join Joshua Tree Conference Group executive producer Steve Lefkovits for a no-holds barred discussion reflecting on the power of brand, the opportunities and challenges of online apartment marketing in the 21st century, and the evolving importance of the marketing department to executives and owners and presidents from leading multifamily firms.

Remaining space for AIM is limited, and registrations are expected to sell out. Secure your spot at AIM 2014: Conspire by registering to attend today. Full session and speaker information — including a look at AIM Double Sessions, breakfast networking roundtables, the AIM 2014 Video Awards and keynote speaker Danny Sullivan are all available here at aimconf.com and also on the AIM mobile app (sponsored by Apartments.com).

Don’t miss out on your last window of opportunity to attend the multifamily marketing beach blast of the year– register today, and we’ll look forward to seeing you in Huntington Beach.!

Ok, well maybe we really aren’t watching you but we are watching your videos.

Judges are currently head down in a protected bunker at the AIM headquarters viewing and ranking more than 40 submissions to the second annual 2014 AIM Video Awards. Fine, they aren’t really in a protected bunker but they are dedicated to making enough room in their busy schedules to give each and every submission a fair and unbiased look.

So why didn’t Sarah Greenough, Sarah Milligan and Israel Carunungan run and hide when we asked to make these tough decisions again? Their love of creative and impactful marketing messages combined with visually appealing videography, that’s why.

Last year’s winners set the bar high in video apartment marketing and let me tell you, this year’s submissions have exceeded that bar! It is already proving to be a tough, tight competition which makes judging that much more enjoyable but honestly a little more difficult to choose the best – that’s a problem we like to have.  I mean really how does one decide between hilarious parodies of “What Does the Fox Say” and “Ice Ice Baby” to The Office and a play on Chris Farley’s Down by the River? Or how even decide between such visually appealing community videos that you find yourself wanting to live there?

Well there must be winners. And Tuesday May 6 at 4:30pm finalists will be highlighted in the following categories where a Top Winner and a Runner-Up will be awarded:

  • Pete Regules, ready to bring the FUN at the 2014 AIM Video Awards

    Pete Regules, ready to bring the FUN at the 2014 AIM Video Awards

    Best Company Culture: Supplier Partner

  • Best Product/Offering: Supplier Partner
  • Best Company Culture: Property Management
  • Funniest Video: Property Management
  • Best Professionally Shot Video: Property Management
  • Judge’s Picks

This red carpet event emceed by “Doctor of Fun” Pete Regules and sponsored by On-Site is a can’t miss if you want to get your finger on the pulse of where super savvy, creative and visual apartment marketers are taking the future of video marketing. There is still time to register for 2014 AIM: Conspire and get in on this video action!



Customer journey on Virgin Airlines from UX and customer journey mapping board on Pinterest.

Looking for some new Pinterest boards to follow that you can substantiate as “work research?” Of course you are, and AIM is here to help. Check out these awesome boards with detailed maps and graphics highlighting customer journeys and the user experience in all kinds of industries, from the emotional experience of a customer taking their first subway ride to the decisions behind buying a car, which aren’t that far off from renting an apartment.

UX Jam Journeys

Customer Journey Maps and the UX Process

If you’re interested in what a customer journey map looks like for the apartment industry, you won’t want to miss next week’s preview webinar of the AIM 2014 user experience session on (you guessed it) customer journey mapping. Featuring Matrix Residential managing director Tracy Bowers, Berkshire Property Advisors vice president of marketing Lynette Hegeman, CFLane executive vice president of property management Melanie Gersper and moderated by G5 vice president of sales CJ Edmonds, the Customer Cartography: Mapping the Prospect to Resident Journey AIM session will examine the touch points known and unknown where apartment marketers can maximize brand identification, loyalty, and delivery of a superior customer experience.

For a preview of the session and a look at some of the decision making touch points where successful multifamily marketers are communicating brand and strategic vision, register for next week’s AIM 2014 webinar hosted by G5. For a serious deep dive into customer mapping, make sure to register for AIM and join us in Huntington Beach for this powerful and insightful panel presentation on decoding the customer journey in multifamily.