What is the most important word in marketing?

That is it. Everything else is at your fingertips. The Internet. The platforms. The audience. The creativity. Even, the money to do it.

Marketing Apartments with Will

Most important word in marketing?

That is it. Everything else is at your fingertips. The Internet. The platforms. The audience. The creativity. Even, the money to do it.

What is lacking?

The will to go for it. Call it fear. Call it lazy. Call it clueless. Nothing fits as a good logical reason.

Last year was the best time to get started. Now is better than tomorrow.

Drive your own traffic. Forget the ILS. Forget print. Forget those that would suggest they are your partner. Learn it and go for it. And guess what – you WILL be okay.

Your understanding that lazy doesn’t cut it Multifamily maniac,


Solve for Lonely

And that does not mean they need to attend our pool party or resident function.

Roughly 20% of the of the total American population suffers from some form of loneliness. Some healthy percentage of that number live in apartment communities. As we all know, property managers wear many hats. And one of those hats runs akin to the various professional counseling services.

Solve for Lonely

  • Say hello to people
  • Smile when you see them
  • Wave
  • Wave from afar and yell their name out
  • Make random monthly calls to people – just because
  • Drop by someones apartment unexpectedly
  • Pull out their social data – likes, dislikes, what they collect, what they like to do in their spare time.
  • Don’t wait until renewal time to give them the free prize inside
  • Don’t settle on typical renewal concessions, carpet cleaning, or fixture updating
  • Make people feel like a million bucks
  • Go for something people will talk about –

How do you get to that last point?

By exercising all the points before it. If you learn through conversation that Charles likes music – drop him a random iTunes gift card – just because. If Mike loves Starbucks – drop him a gift card out of the blue (My friend Michael Cunningham did in fact send me such a gift). I thought that was pretty darn cool and I still talk about it.

People Need a Push

People are lonely and in the same respect they need a push. And that does not mean they need to attend our pool party or resident function. Sometimes that just means saying hello, smiling or dropping by. Sometimes it means a small token gift card.

In Or Out

Are they In or are they Out?

in or out
I wrote a post on my regular blog, RealLifeSTL.com recently about fashion trends for 2013. We used it to create a game for our podcast called In or Out (kind of playing off the old game show Street Smarts). Basically, we drove around to a couple of different places in St. Louis asking people to give us their opinions on whether certain fashion trends are ‘In’ or ‘Out’ in 2013 as compared to what we read on fashion websites.

It got me thinking about marketing trends and how there are differing opinions on what’s ‘in’ or ‘out’. Some trends are split straight down the middle while others are about 99% obsolete but still used (or worn) by some for lack of knowledge, money or just stuck in their ways.

I know my opinions aren’t the same as everyone, not even everyone within my company, so I’d like to play the In or Out game, this time to get opinions from people, and not just other management companies in St. Louis but people in the multi-family and marketing industries across the U.S., on what marketing trends you believe are ‘in’ and ‘out’.

I’ll start:


  • Engagement through Facebook
  • Promoting Ratings & Reviews on your own website
  • Getting involved with local community events/organizations (ex. blood drives, chambers, non-profits)


  • Car/door flyering
  • ILS print advertising
  • Faxing/e-mailing hot sheets or coupons to local businesses

I’d love to hear opinions of others on marketing trends that are In Or Out?

You can check out the RealLifeSTL Podcast here.

Multifamily Marketing on Trial

OMG – I could get canned for this moments, then do us all a favor and stay in bed this morning.

Multifamily Marketing on Trial2013 is not the year to protect your posterior. It’s not the year to crawl in a hole hoping that all this massive and swift moving change will just pass you by. It’s not the year to play it safe. Don’t be a politician. Don’t get stalled by this party or that party or this ideology or that ideology.

On Trial

Be that guy or gal that politely listens to all the noise – filtering always. Be that guy or gal that acts when the silence comes. Acknowledge the conversation but run in the opposite direction of the crowd.

That idea you’ve harbored for the past 2 months, 4 months, year or 15 years (that’s me) – go for it. Try it. Don’t ask for permission. If the stresses of other people pump your heat instead the OMG – I could get canned for this moments, then do us all a favor and stay in bed this morning.

Cheating Two People

When you are not conducting trials you are cheating two people: 1. You are cheating me out of being exposed to something that might change my life. 2. You cheat you out of being a better you. It’s #gameon time.

Your never want to cheat myself out of being a better me multifamily manic,


The Right Story on the Right Day

Being the first mover in a group means nothing these days.

The Right Story on the Right DayAnother note from the margin entry – being the first mover in a group means nothing these days. It’s more full of meaning to have the right story ready on the right day.

Further Fragmenting

Look around the multifamily space;

  • Every property management company has a website
  • Every property they manage has a property page
  • Every page has a unique URL
  • Some still use print
  • Twitter and Facebook are in full swing
  • Portals are popular
  • Separate landing pages for prospects and residents
  • Online Community on NING or other less mainstream sites
  • Review sites keep popping up all over the place – each one promising a richer experience for the end-user
  • And, the list goes on and on and on…

The otherwise clear point here is that the idea of first mover is a borderline thing of the past. What replaces it? The right story on the right day. Be where the people are with the right story tip of tongue at the precise moment they need to hear it.




Worry About Meaning

I am going to ‘start’ a new quick hitter series (ongoing until I get ready for something new) called – Notes from the margin.

I love books – the old spare a few trees, feels good in the hand, smells good in the nose and write in the margin type books. That is where the material for this series will come from.

If I am reading and feel compelled enough to jot something in the margin – I will share it here. Maybe we get some discussion going – maybe we don’t – let’s give it a shot.

Worry About Meaning

Comes to us from The Icarus Deception – Seth Godin

Apartment Meaning

Multifamily Five Years From Now….

My annual prediction post…of sorts. Just a few quick hitters…

Remembering last year before we look forward to the coming five….

Assume that: 

Predictive analytics point people to the perfect Experiential Apartment Community (EAC) for them. One stop shop – if you will. Marketing as we know it – even today – will be rendered uninteresting and borderline useless.

Experiential Apartment Community

Apartment prices are predicated on twenty times the metrics they are today – think big social data.

Interactive Digital Signage trumps the kiosk and does most of the heavy lifting as it relates to leasing and service after the sale.

People choosing to do business with you do so by telling Siri (or, any equal) what they need and she taps into your community IDS and together these two Digital Experiential Monitors take care of it all.

Personal Experience Agents pick up where the DEMs leave off. If there is anything left to do.

The term social media finally gives way to something deeper and more meaningful.

Business newcomers continue to fragment people’s attention by inventing 300 new variations of review sites, ILS’s and niche communities.

ILS’s, middlemen and other business newcomers stay in better contact with your residents than you do.

ILSs service after the sale.

ILSs create loyalty programs.

Middlemen reinvent themselves such that he comes back with a crushing vengeance.

The Nest finally prices for the masses.

The Internet of things is near saturation.

Smart appliances, mechanics and hardware schedule their own maintenance calls.

Those same appliances, mechanics and hardware, once repaired, follow-up via the preferred method of communication.

They also, order up the part used to repair the problem.

They also, order in bulk for your portfolio assuring you bottom dollar pricing.

Your current apartment related job is either gone or looks 100% different from today.

What then? 




Landlords. Residents. Retain. Retention. Prevention.

Landlords. Residents. Retain. Retention. Prevention. What do all of these words have in common – at least as it relates to the multifamily space? They all involve people.

I’m sitting on a Saturday morning – catching up on reading posts from several of my favorite blogs and skimming my Apartment Maniac tweet stream on HootSuite. While doing so I happened across a tweet from Zillow that reads – Great tenants leave because_________. While I love the spirit and the aim of this tweet. Can’t fault one for promoting their content and their passion. Love that. What I do cringe about is the loose use of the words tenant, landord, residents, retention, prevention, etc..

Reasons Why Great Tenants Leave | Real Estate and Rental Marketing Blog for Professionals – Zillow Pro Blog

When we finally get the “ideal” tenant to sign a lease, we want to keep them for as long as possible. In fact, we probably try to everything to do to retain them and prevent them from leaving. However, tenant turnover happens. It’s part of the rentals game.

Apartment Communities are not Prisons

I read the opening paragraph of the post and I felt as though it could double as a good into to a prison tale. Capture the prospect, keep them encapsulated and do everything you can to make sure they do not escape. Overlord them. Block them. Tackle them if you have to. Cut them off any chance you get.

In all fairness 

I know the author of that post had no ill intent in mind. Nor were they writing the next great prison break novel. In the same respect, I would think that the social nature of business as it stands today would beg a more mindful use of nomenclature to describe human relationships.

Just one guys opinion,



Craigslist…Ideally, you want someone to read your post and think “I need that”

I have a special guest post for you today. It’s on the topic of tracking and more specifically on the tracking Craigslist posts.

It comes to us from Ryan Brockschmitt who spends many of his daytime hours at The Laurel. A downtown St. Louis property that is managed by Mills Properties. Now, I could give you a line or two on Ryan but I think he does a much better job himself:

Ryan is still trying to find his place in life. He went to the University of Missouri-Columbia for journalism like everyone goes to Mizzou for. That journalism passion somehow turned into a Hotel & Restaurant Management degree and five years in the hotel industry. After finding it hard to make a living as a pizza delivery driver, he is trying to find his place in the world of multi-family housing. Ryan runs iLoveSoulard and Welcome2STL in his spare time and can usually be found in Soulard living the high life. He asks that any single ladies who frequently wear sundresses and cowboy boots and happen to read something he has written email him at their convenience.


If there are two things I don’t understand, it’s apartment marketing and dating.

Since this isn’t a dating site, we’ll look at an aspect of apartment marketing. From what I understand and can gather from my brief time in the apartment industry, most companies want multiple posts a day on Craigslist about their apartments. I’ll hold my personal feelings on that back because I enjoy my job and want to keep it.

Ideally, you want someone to read your post and think “I need that”. But how do you make that happen? I don’t think there is a magic pill in apartment marketing. When I was in the hotel industry, I never really had to think of marketing the product. You put your prices in to all of the channels and the people just magically show up. As long as you make sure the people writing reviews are happy, people will keep coming. And really, even if the “Yelp Elites” aren’t always happy, the Priceline and Hotwire folks will continue to show up.

The commitment to stay in a hotel is a lot less than it is to sign a lease on an apartment.

There are plenty of things you could read online and try to emulate, but do you really want to just believe that their market is the same as yours? Circling back to the dating reference, I equate this with sitting at a wedding hearing the bride and groom talk about how they were “so in love” since the day they met and knew they were going to marry each other. If you then go out into the dating world and really think that you are going to meet someone and it will be all rainbows and unicorns for the rest of your life, you are going to be disappointed. You have to live in reality and realize that maybe the people writing that post about what to do and what not to do may be looking at a different market than you.

I wanted a way to track my Craigslist posts and figure out what got people to click on posts and what days/times seemed to get the most views. I ran across MonitorHits.com. It’s a simpleMonitorhits.com script that puts an image in your post that is embedded with a tracking code. From the website, you can track your hits by day/time and by the location of the IP addresses.

I interviewed the guy behind the code, Nick Mote, via electronic correspondence.

How long did it take you to develop the MonitorHits code?

The initial site was coded and launched during a three day weekend last November (2011). I work full time and have continued working on the website on my spare time.

How did you use the code for your own posts?

At the time me and my wife (girl friend at the time) were strapped for cash and needed to sell some things on Craigslist. I started selling electronics including my Kinect, Ipod, Digital Camera, and an old laptop. I really enjoyed getting real time feedback on my listings and soon noticed that this website could be a valuable tool for power users such as car dealers and real estate agents.
How many hits were you seeing on them?
I lived in a small town, Yakima Washington, for the past couple years. The traffic my personal items generated was puny. I think my old Galant received the most views with around 700 hits a week.
What did you learn from using the hits on your own posts?
I really learned the power of being on the top of the list. I wrote a small article on my blog called “the Craigslist Drop-off Effect” describing the importance of re-posting after the 48 hour spam filter. I also learned how large the Craigslist audience was and how few people actually translate to potential buyers.
Have you done any experiments using the stats that you have gathered from users on the site?
I have not. I plan on publishing some overall trend data gathered from Craigslist. I plan on having general user information such as posting time vs. posting traffic and move into more Metro data as the user base continues to grow.
How many codes have been used?
I estimate we have had over 10,000 unique codes that have been active on Craigslist.
How many different people have created accounts on the site?

As of this morning we are at 336 registered users.

What percentage of people have used the premium codes?

In the last 30 days premium codes represented 39% of all active tracking codes.
What is your background? Location? Education? Other Projects?
Me and my wife are newly weds and live in Spokane Washington. I have a Bachelors in Business Administration Specializing in Marketing Management from CWU and am the Assistant Marketing Manager for Tree Top, inc. I’ve been dabbling in app development and hope to launch my first app later this month.
Where do you want to take this site? New features?
I have some new features in the works that I think will really benefit the real estate and car dealer power users. I plan on incorporating an api where users can dynamically incorporate tracking codes into their template software later this year. I also plan on expanding the site past Craigslist to other platforms such as Ebay, Backpage, Facebook, forums, and email tracking.
What’s in your future?
I plan on further developing my professional marketing experience with the goal of opening my own company that pioneers and markets new digital services and products.