Don’t Bing it On

You have probably heard commercials for this or seen it on the internet…Bing It On. Essentially, Bing is conducting a blind test of your preference for Bing  or Google search results.

It is the ‘Pepsi Challenge’ of the 21st century. The only problem is, even if the challenge favors Bing more often, like it did Pepsi in the 80’s, there is a major flaw in their logic. I think Bing is under the assumption that if proven in a blind test, web searchers will actually start to change their behavior and choose Bing. Coca-Cola made a similar assumption when people started preferring Pepsi and nearly killed their brand to try to save it. Because, even though people prefer the taste in a blind sip test, that does not necessarily predict behavior. In the real world we don’t actually search for things blindly. That is to suggest that the experience means a lot more than simply the words on the page.  Mainly, the power of the Google brand is being severely underestimated as was Coca-Cola.

Current contest explanation:

In the test, participants were shown the main web search results pane of both Bing and Google for 10 search queries of their choice. Bing and Google search results were shown side-by-side on one page for easy comparison – with all branding removed from both search engines. The test did not include ads or content in other parts of the page such as Bing’s Snapshot and Social Search panes and Google’s Knowledge Graph.

In my opinion, sensation transference has a huge impact here. Real or not, people have a strong emotional attachment to Google and the aesthetics and experience associated within. So taking all of that away would obviously have an impact because it is no longer Google. Same thing with Bing. Frankly, I hate Bing for many reasons one of which is actually the relevancy of their results to my search query. Which even in this test I noticed was an issue. While I agree this marketing campaign probably brought some additional recognition to the brand, the actual conversion will be minimal at best.

Blind Apartment Test

With Bing’s logic, we could stick anyone at our apartment communities and they would sell. We all know it takes a lot more than a pretty property or even one that meets all our ‘search criteria’ to get the sale. The experience (sensation transference and all) will make the sale in my book, every day, all day long.

In the blind test I still chose Google. Try for yourself – share your results with us! My advice to Bing is to take the approach that Pepsi did. Instead of trying to take customers from Google, create your own niche. Pepsi went for the younger generation and it worked. Coca-Cola still has more market share but the gap between them is less significant.

Will you change your search behavior based on your results?

My results…








(side note, Bing you have terrible apartment search results – thank you Google for including Mills Apartments on page one)

We Care

How do We Care? How do You Care?

How can we show that – We Care:Smile and you will make more sales

1. Sweep your crib lines – every curb line

2. Paint your curbs – all cribs that have or need paint

3. Blow off your sidewalks and entry ways daily – all sidewalks

4. Power wash sidewalks and entry ways weekly – except in the winter months where there is a chance for freezing (don’t want to create a slip and fall situation)

5. Vacuum all common area carpets daily

6. Use smell good stuff in the common areas – daily

7. Conduct a ‘road map’ meeting every morning

8. Answer on the third ring – every time

9. Stand and greet everyone – vendors included

10. Smile

Your remembering that the smallest details have the biggest impacts multifamily maniac,


Apartment Budgeting: Corporate Rent Premium

Corporate Rent Premiums are convenience fees added to your Apartment’s Market Rent.

Over the last couple of weeks we have discussed premiums that apply to such things as Month to Month Leases and Short Term Leases. Today we take a similar angle in the Apartment Budgeting Series as we are penning on the subject of Corporate Rent Premium. In the spirit of consistency, we will start by putting some definition around the term and then we will dig into some budget strategy and possibly some thoughts on marketing.The Boulders at Katy Trail in Missouri

Corporate Rent Premium Defined

Corporate Rent Premiums are convenience fees added to your Apartment’s Market Rent. It is a little bit different from the last two fees that we penned about. In this case,  apartments are generally leased and paid for by third-party agencies.  National Corporate Housing and Oakwood are a few examples of the aforementioned third parties. You, in a sense, up charge the agency for the convenience of getting out of the lease(s) with just a standard 30 or 60 day notice.

I have seen the fee applied by way of flat rates and/or percentages with upsides of $300 or 10% of the market rate.

Corporate Rent Premium Budget Strategy

Like all other rent premiums this can be a tricky thing to budget for and it definitely something you want to control. To budget, I would refer to a twelve month trailing all the while considering current economic conditions. If the economy as a whole is downtrodden that the likely hood of a boom of corporate leases landing in your lap is between nil and none. If the economy is gaining traction and or booming you will likely see this business experience an uptick. But, it is always open-ended.

Remember to control this. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat in an owner’s meeting trying to remind them of their generosity in giving up 20% of their unit count to a corporate housing provider only to have that provider pull the rug out from under them. How quickly it becomes the other’s guys hot potato to deal with and explain. 5% is a good number to manage. 10% is pushing the risk handle. Anything beyond that is pure gamble in my book.

Corporate Housing Marketing Strategy

No ballyhoo with this one. It’s a simple down to earth Dale Carnegie approach to getting your foot in the door. Do a little research and find out what the owners and account executives grapple with. What are the biggest problems that they deal with? What keeps them up at night? What rattles their brain(s)? Get into that in the way of solutions. Solutions that you can play into their real-time business transactions and make sure your company and community are associated in some way. Be swift with any help that you can give to them. And, don’t be shy about asking for the business.

Your always looking for some premium to rent multifamily maniac,


Using Social Media to Market Apartments Redux

Assiduity – constant or close attention to what one is doing.

Back in 2009 I penned a post about using social media to market apartments. Back then the groundswell was happening and everyone had an opinion about it. And, over the past three years, I think we have all learned a lot. Some of it good. Some of it bad. Some have taken the lessons and left the conversation. Others have bet the farm. While others dipped their toe in, listened, learned, participated, grew and are now providing real value. And, while we were all quietly churning away in our social media bull pens another more than mentionable groundswell was taking place. Fewer multifamily starts and a generation ripe with numbers that we have not seen since the baby boomers hit the scene.

Fast-forward to the second half of 2012, the coastal markets are booming again while the somewhat insulated Midwest lays in wait. In St. Louis specifically, most sub-markets that have hit bottom and are now bouncing along. Some city central, mid-city and west county properties are sporting occupancy gains and rent growth they have not seen in three years plus.

Get these two things (marketing apartments using social media and the near perfect storm of fundamental metrics) in a room together and you have the makings of a home run. At least in my opinion.

Not Using Social Media to Market Apartments?

Now might be a good time to rethink that position. Don’t take my word for it. Take a look at this recent post over at Business Grow (a great blog by the way – subscribe and read every word). I pulled out a quote that I think speaks to my real point.

If you think about, using social media at the university level is the perfect test case for what all our organizations may be seeing just a few years from now:

  • Its primary audience uses the social web as its primary tool for communication.
  • It is an essential strategy for connecting with, and nurturing, its “customers.”
  • The relatively low-cost effectiveness of social media fits with programs under constant budget pressures.

Assiduity and The Why Behind the What

How many of you knew what that word meant? Me either. But, I fell in love when I looked it up. Assiduity – constant or close attention to what one is doing. As I read the word then the definition and then the word again it made me think – get off your ass-n-do-it.

To the point: your near now, now and future residents are growing up digital. Miss the point and miss some real opportunity.

Your big believer in using social media to market apartments,



Apartment Marketing: O.B. Triple Sorry Brilliance

#gameon to the apartment marketing campaign that mimics – in an apartment marketing appropriate kind of way – the O.B. Triple Sorry Coupon marketing story. Love love love this angle – very cool stuff.


That is all I could say. I had a border line crocodile tear in my eye as I watched this video song apology. O.B. Mighty Small Campaign

Check it out here. 

Just a heads up – if you are guy – you might want to use a girl’s name. And, don’t forget to turn up the speakers on your device.

Your crazy impressed with O.B. today multifamily maniac,


We Care

Have you checked your commode room (restroom) (bathroom) lately? I have this saying about the subject of curb appeal – curb appeal runs curb to commode. And, that commode includes the one in your apartment business office as well as the one in your display and or vacant ready to rent apartments.

The little things are the big things all the time.

Want to know how to bag more leases? Want to know how to renew more leases?

Send a



How do I do that? What is a WE CARE message?

Simply put – pay attention to the details. Invest in the minors so that the majors take care of themselves. Get relentless about your curb lines, curb paint, grass, weeds, landscape, beds, mulch, tree suckers, faded paint, rusted BBQ grills, piled up rocks (no matter how small they are) in your parking lots, cig butts, trash (no matter the size or level of gross), door knobs, clean windows, crooked door numbers, broken door casings scratched up striker plates, marred tile floors, stair kickers, thresholds and so on and so forth…

Get the team around today and stress the details. And, don’t tell me it’s summer and there is/are to many other things to attend to. It’s precisely the right time to run a drill and stick a friendly reminder in the minds of those that serve the ones that pay for a tip-top experience.

Your trying to stay cool in #STL multifamily manic,


Apartment Podcasting Marketing

“For corporate marketers, podcasting is low-hanging fruit.” – Paul Gillin

Low Hanging Fruit

Caught this video over at businessgrow where Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner throws down his 18 to 24 month content marketing prediction. It’s an interesting thought and one that I am trying to wrap my head around as it relates to marketing apartments. His thought comes in near the end of the four-minute vid:

Your wondering about apartment podcast marketing multifamily manic,



Cold Calling – New and Improved

I am consistently baffled by cold calling efforts in a business climate that has turned radically social. Vendors can get to know anyone on the planet by simply dialing into twitter, facebook, linkedin or otherwise. And, if they take the time to set back and listen, dive in and participate, provide value, give and take feedback and over a bit of time – sometimes a very long bit of time (@30lines took the time) (@jonathansaar took the time) they earn business. key word being ‘earn.’ Mike and Jonathan respectfully spent the better part of two years nurturing a relationship with Mills Properties and it has paid off in a good way for them. And, equally important to this point – the time they invested has been equally rewarding for Mills.

Cold Calling Giving Way to Cold Email

The following approach via the ‘contact us’ button our company website bakes my insides every time –


I wanted to take a moment of your time to introduce myself and [don’t want to or am afraid to reach out via other more appropriate media – Graphics]. We are printers and graphic designers long specializing (since 19##) in the Multi-Family and Senior Housing industry.

We have lowered the prices on our FULL COLOR Marketing Business Cards!
500 = $50.00*
1,000 = $65.00*
2,500 = $110.00*
5,000 = $180.00*

Prices DO NOT include Taxes, Shipping, Redrawing or Creation of a Logo.
Marketing Business Cards

Great low budget marketing tool!Cold Email Apartment Vendor Marketing

This product’s features include:
square corners
2 sided cards same price as one sided
your choice of 3 types of paper:
14pt uncoated cover – traditional, non-shiny paper
14pt matte coated cover – satin finish
14pt coated cover with UV – very shiny
I invite you to check out our newly revamped website at [www.imacoldcaller].

Multi-Family and Student Housing Specialists.
Long the focus of ***, our multi-family clients will love the extensive on-line shopping experience afforded by this new store. Printing, promotional products, signage, and more are offered here in an easy-to-order format, tailored for your industry.

Promotional Products. Easy On-Line Ordering.
All of our customers can pick and choose from over #00,000 advertising specialty/promotional products. Shopping has never been so easy.

Let me know if there is ANYTHING I can help you with.

Man I Don’t Like Cold Calling
Project Consultant at ***** Graphics

******, ** *****

The ONLY THING you can help me with is – helping me understand why this approach to business seems at all appropriate in today’s business climate?

Your – ranting on cold callers – multifamily manic,



Relationships Are Hard Work

“More contact means more sharing of information, gossiping, exchanging, engaging – in short, more word of mouth. – Gary Vaynerchuk

Relationships Are Hard WorkHard Work Relationships

Gary is right and the implications are huge. And more contact means more relationships.

But, do you want to know why so many relationships turn sour? Simply put – they are often times emotionally messy and full of hard work. Be them with family members, BFFs, marriage partners or otherwise – when the honeymoon phase wears off they become work.

And, to the extent that you pour your body, heart, mind and soul into them – the more or less successful they are. Make no mistake – relationships are not for the weak-willed or weak-minded. There are full of give and take and require constant contact in order to be fully productive.

Apartment Marketing Word of Mouth

Pre-supposing that we all agree that relationships are hard work, we can likely also share in the fact that the socialization of the apartment business is hard work. But, work that is necessary if you really want to capitalize on the powerful effects of word of mouth or WOM for short.

I won’t go to great lengths discussing the how to’s and the what for’s of word of mouth as it relates to marketing and leasing apartments but rather the need to ensure you are where you need to be. Word of mouth as it relates to marketing and leasing apartments now demands that you be everywhere on every platform that people want you to be. It’s the now old axiom “communicate with people how, when and where they want to be communicated with.

Barriers to Contact

With the advent of the internet and the proliferation of social platforms comes a whole new level of business never before experienced. The barriers of have all but fallen into oblivion making it possible for apartment marketers everywhere to be in direct contact with everyone that wants to do business. And, with that comes the necessity and responsibility to work harder at relationship than you ever have before.

Your business depends on it. #gameon

Your – working for #gameon – multifamily maniac,



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