2009 A Year of Opportunity

I came across the following quote on the blog Customer Experience Matters today. The quote originally came from the Harvard Business Publishing site where they were showcasing a book called “The Forever War”

“One day near Kandahar I came across a minefield, which was hardly
extraordinary in itself, and next to it a man named Juma Khan Gulalai.
The field was bright and green. Gulalai was a butcher and he’d set up
his table there, his apron and knives at the ready. Every day, Gulalai
explained, a goat would wander into the green grassy field to graze for
its meal and step on a land mine and blow apart. Gulalai would walk
into the field and retrieve the carcass–braving the mines himself as he
did–throw the old goat up on the table and carve up its meat for sale.”

What will it take to grow revenue in 2009

I tend to think about things from 30,000 feet and many times miss or overestimate the logistics of ripping off a cool new idea. In that respect I tend to do better at visualizing things as opposed to hammering out the details. I say all that to say this. 2009 will be the year of innovation in the multifamily space. I think we will see a number of new and exciting technologies come to fruition one of which will be that our various property management systems will finally talk to each other. Hats off to the MITS initiative. Moreover and really where I am looking to stoke up some conversation is innovation around the various social technologies we employ today and how we can use them to add value and subsequently more revenue.

As it stands each of us are trying to find our way with social technologies. Some of us are doing better than others while many are still sitting on the sidelines waiting for the right time to participate. I applaud those who have at very least put their toe in the water. Conversation is really the premise of our uses today. We are looking to engage our residents, prospects and vendors in conversations that add value to their experiences and more importantly their lives.

What will tomorrow bring

How do you see the use of social technologies bending the way we lease apartments, serve residents and stay in touch with vendors? I am looking for ideas beyond the conversation. What will each of the aforementioned parties add to the multifamily space or your community specifically? Innovation will be key and it will be collaborative by the nature of the technology we employee. So, what will it yield? Will each of our communities have its’ own specific rating structure built into its social mediums? Will we each have our own [communityname] rating link built right in? Will it be video driven and text supported? Will we see instant interaction with the raters? I think the possibilites are endless.

In closing I think 2009 will be an absolute amazing year to be alive and involved in the multifamily space. I look forward to participating with each and every one you. And, like Juma Khan Gulalai, let’s find the opportunity in an otherwise bleak circumstance.


ForRent.com Dominates Social Media in the Multifamily Housing Industry


A big note of congrats to the insanely great team over at ForRent.com The Magazine….You gals/guys ROCK! M

NORFOLK, Va.—(November 19,
—No other Internet listing service
in the multi-housing industry has engaged its audience through social media
quite like ForRent.com.
According to Vitrue, Inc., a social media marketing company, ForRent.com is
dominating the multi-housing sector’s social share of voice. As a product of For
Rent Media Solutions, a division of Dominion Enterprises,
ForRent.com, utilizes tools such as Twitter, MySpace®, Facebook and
YouTube, to achieve this accomplishment.

ForRent.com’s ranking was
determined by Vitrue’s
Media Index™ (SMI), the recently launched free tool that measures a brand’s
online conversations. Based on patent-pending technology, scores are comprised
of various online conversations ranging from text-dense micro-blogs to
multi-dimensional video sites.

“We are thrilled with the results
found by Vitrue’s Social Media Index,” said Brock MacLean, vice president of
national sales and development, For Rent Media Solutions. “Social media is a
very effective way to communicate with our core demographic of 18-34 year old
adults. For Rent Media Solutions’ involvement in social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and
video sharing sites like YouTube allows us to
participate in a true dialogue with consumers, giving us more insight into our
audience and their needs. We plan on expanding our social media efforts in the
future. The Social Media Index will help us gauge the success of our efforts and
how we are resonating with our consumers

Generating more than 83 percent of social media
activity, video sharing makes up the largest portion of ForRent.com’s SMI score.
Apartment property video commercials seen on ForRent.com, called Community
Theater, are distributed to an extensive network of channels
including major
search engines like Google and Yahoo!®, social networking
sites such as MySpace, and video sharing sites including YouTube. During October
alone these videos were viewed more than 17,000 times a day.


Generating more than 12 percent of the SMI score,
communication through social networking makes up the second largest method of
social activity for ForRent.com. MySpace has played a significant role in the
success of For Rent Media Solution’s social networking efforts. More than 40
profile pages have been set up, representing more than 40 markets where the
company’s anchor publication, For Rent
, can be found. Through these efforts, For Rent Media Solutions
communicates with more than 5,300 consumers. 

The remainder of the score is comprised of blogging and
micro-blogging. This number includes activity from blogs, such as the ForRent.com blog, and key influencers who
chat and push content through micro-blogs, such as Twitter. Twitter is a service that
allows its users to send updates to their “followers” while trailing other
individuals as well. For more details, please
view the full Social Media Index

“The Vitrue Social Media Index provides invaluable
insight for marketers to understand how they are stacking up in the social media
space,” said Reggie Bradford, chief executive officer of Vitrue, Inc. “Brands
are being talked about in social settings and we are providing the ability to
proactively track these conversations. We firmly believe understanding and
measuring your performance in these environments is key.”

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Apartment Executives: Are you ready for the conversation?

Not to speak for Eric Brown over at Urbane Apartments but I think he and I agree that it is time for the conversation to start. Let me back up…the conversation has begun and we wonder when the big players will join in. You look around the landscape and missing from the conversation are the likes of Equity Residential, Riverstone Residential, UDR and AIMCO just to name a few.

I know I would enjoy engaging in conversation with some of the leading apartment executives in our industry. And, I am very certain your resident base would enjoy the conversation as well. I mean, imagine unlocking the potential marketing force of two-hundred thousand plus residents? Imagine converting just one percent of that number into evangelists for your brand. Imagine letting the apartment searcher tell you, in public, what makes for a better search experience. Imagine giving them a forum where they give you unadulterated and real time feedback. Imagine being able to respond rather than react to the issues concerns and success stories they would share. Resident portals are a great first step but blogging in the open for all to see is much more authentic and transparent.

For those that have no idea how to get started let me point you to Debbie Weil – She wrote a great book on the subjects called The Corporate Blogging Book: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Get It Right.

In a spirit of competitiveness I look forward seeing who has it in them to be ‘first.’ Let me pre-applaud you for your foresight and courage.

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Social Marketing + Care + Time = Success

When you CARE, you MAKE the time. –Tom Peters

I read Tom’s quote of the day and thought; this is what social marketing is really about. If you care to have a successful social marketing presence then you will take the time to build it. You would put time and effort into not unlike the great team over at Urbane.
Who knows what is to come of this social media/marketing reality we live in. A couple facts to note; it is here, it is real and it is real powerful. If you don’t believe it, look no further than Obama’s campaign strategy. They  employed social media/networks more effectively than ever imagined. It was brilliant.
I look forward to all the discussions to come and more importantly the generation and execution of some amazing game changing ideas.
Make time to care about your position in the world of social media/marketing today and thank you as always for taking the time to read our blog. Have an compelling day today. 

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Apartment Leaders: Q vs. Q

Q stands for Quantity and it also stands for Quality, which is more important? Tom Peter’s suggests the following;

“You will be remembered in the long haul for the quality of your work, not the quantity of your work … no one evaluates Picasso based on the number of paintings he churned out.”

The quote made me think long and hard about a lot of things but most specifically the space we work in. I have noticed over the years an ever growing number of demands being placed on site teams and yet the number of hours in each day does not change. We ask, we direct, we expect many times without thinking about who suffers at the end of the day? Is it the quality work or more importantly the quality of the experience our consumer has with us. Is either acceptable? Or, are we in an age where quantity trumps quality?

I wonder what the group thinks. 

Do you see an ever growing number of demands being handed to your site teams? Do you see quality suffering as a result? Does it matter?

Let me know your thoughts and have a compelling day!

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Apartment Management: Feedback for the leader

For you leaders out there, how many times have you thought to yourself, ” I wonder what the team thinks of my ability to lead?” “I wonder if they think I am doing a good job?”

I am pondering a piece on leadership feedback and would like to hear your thoughts. Drop me a quick comment if you have time today and we will see what comes of it.

Have a compelling Monday.

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I find this whole thing highly engaging. This article comes from The Tribune, somewhere near Houston, Texas best I can tell. So far I would agree with this the argument articulated in this article;

“The law should respect and protect the right of Roommates.com, or any
other such matching service, to design a questionnaire that suits their
customers’ needs. Roommate seekers who object to a particular
questionnaire are free to find another matching service, or to start
their own.

“This case illustrates why the
Fair Housing Act, which does nothing but infringe on freedom of
contract in the housing market, should be repealed.” [read the rest here]

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High Debt at Graduation

From the pages of the St. Louis Today;

Many in the next generation of workers will be so debt-burdened they
will have to delay home purchases, limit vacations, even eat out less
to pay loans off on time.

Kristin Cole, 30, who graduated from Michigan State University’s law
school and lives in Grand Rapids, Mich., owes $150,000 in private and
government-backed student loans. Her monthly payment of $660, which
consumes a quarter of her take-home pay, is scheduled to jump to $800
in a year or so, confronting her with stark financial choices.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am not a pessimist by nature but this may be a trend that will drive the age at which our coveted demographic chooses to lease an apartment home.