Bridging the Gap: Multifamily Marketers & Operators

Combining Forces: Marketers & Operations Panel Discussion - Digible Summit

At our 2023 Digible Summit, we heard from multifamily professionals on how to bridge the gap between operators and marketers. With education and greater insight, both operators and marketers can gain a better understanding of each other’s roles for effective collaboration, drive goals, and achieve successful results. Kind of like, “Undercover Boss” but not so undercover.

In the multifamily industry, to better understand how to combine strengths and collaboration among marketing and operations professionals, we’ll start with the why. 

Watch the full panel session here. 

Through the Lens of Multifamily Marketers

Marketers are doing more than they have ever done before. From campaigns and providing solutions to meet your apartment marketing goals, to brand experiences, industry trends, outreach, reputation management, and organic media – the list goes on you. In other words, marketers can help you but they can’t save you. We’ll start with the why behind many pain points.

      • Educate. It might be a challenge getting operators on a call, but sit down with them to educate and inspire them with marketing language (there’s no shortage of acronyms in marketing) and the why behind the marketing dollars.

        As for marketers, understand how to read financials or operations on-site, to better understand and communicate the fluctuating budget based on seasonality, leasing cycle, and historical data. It’s not stretching the job, it’s stretching the knowledge.


        • Communicate. Be more in tune at the property level rather than just being engulfed in the data, numbers, and spreadsheets.

          There is often a large disconnect with onsite team members and understanding what is going on at the property level, along with resident sentiment, location factors, current events, possibly natural disasters, or how the political climate could be affecting the city or region of the property. That being said, ignorance is not bliss, my friend.

          • Implementing Campaigns. We all have that friend that lives on island time – they’re always late. However, involving marketers earlier in the campaign plan sets the apartment community up for success to ensure goals, both short and long-term, are on track and anticipate changes in the market or seasonality.

            Marketers seek to draw out information, but data does not always tell the full story, so it is crucial to have a conversation to understand the full picture, from operations to on-site. For example, by looking at the data, understand how the lead-to-tour rate is now around 16% and previously 40%, which comes down to the future resident getting in front of an actual on-site team member.

        Marketers have a plan, but limited authority. By seeking to understand, reviewing budget spend, and vacancies, and communicating and fostering a trusting environment with all parties involved, allows marketers to provide optimal solutions.

        Through the Lens of Owners and Operators

        For operators, it’s not only staying up to date with market trends, policies, and technology, but collaborating with marketers to set goals, measure success, and make better informed, data-driven decisions. 

            • Data-Driven Decisions. Ubiquitous are those very words in the multifamily marketing space.

              Operators often use data to make informed decisions, but it should not be the only factor when making decisions about a property or portfolio. Often it’s aware of the market trends, employee-centric decisions, being technologically adept, and strategic foresight. It combines data analytical skills and creative solutions that allow leaders to make emotionally connected and informed decisions. Moreover, it ensures operators and marketers have a voice at the table when budget and other crucial decisions are made.

            • Strategic Foresight. For some property management companies, a General Health Report is a great tool to analyze data and performance.

              At a minimum marketers and operators should align or discuss once a month. Operators do need to be aware of ever-changing policies in the multifamily industry, such as eviction moratoriums, renovations, and environmental policies. Operators and marketers alike can’t control the market but can provide solutions and action plans to work together to navigate fluctuations.

            • Measuring Success. First off, defining what success looks like varies from organization to organization and the leasing phase of individual properties. Consider asking:

              Is the community successful?
              Is the community short-term or is it the legacy?

              For operators to better collaborate with marketers, provide pertinent information not just data. Understanding at the property level up to operations will equip operators and marketers with the tools and understanding to measure success. Goals should always be aligned between parties, to ensure no one is rowing in the wrong direction.

          How to Combine Forces

          The commonality of operators and marketers: Seeking to understand the bigger picture. Both operators and marketers know when to pivot goals and focus on leads and when to budget accordingly for resident retention.

              • Communicate. This is the biggest hurdle among many industries and roles. Communicating among various roles, and goals, and when to pivot, measuring success, and KPIs involves being aware and on the ground at the property level. Has the on-site team not answered calls the last few days? How many of us jump to conclusions when in reality, a storm knocked out the transformers near the property. Exchange not only data but information and insight to provide a bigger picture crucial for strategy and goals.

                • Goal Setting and Strategic Planning. This could look like marketers and operators discussing a common goal to ensure expectations and alignment while keeping KPIs clear. Deciding on a cadence of how frequently to meet and pivoting goals when necessary. That both parties have a seat at the table when budget and decisions are being made at both levels.

                • Education and Training. If there’s no exchange of knowledge or education between marketers and operators, expectations are warped. Marketers can learn more about operations, from financial literacy to policies impacting campaigns, such as eviction moratoriums, renovations, and so forth. Operators can learn more about the why behind marketing, budget, and data storytelling.

              Bridging the Gap

              To better collaborate, both parties can continue to expand their industry and leadership knowledge through books, podcasts, and most importantly, the people around them. Lean on each other’s strengths, knowledge, and open dialogue to make better-informed decisions for the multifamily industry. Bridge the gap between multifamily marketers and operators by seeking to understand the bigger picture.

              Want to learn more about multifamily marketers and operators? Let’s connect.

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