Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Episode 30 - Bring on the 2010 Opportunities

We're done discovering, it's time to just do it. And by the way, your plan today will change 6 months from now. It has to. Things are moving that fast!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Episode 29 - Apartment Marketing Gone Digital Podcast

Did you know that Mike Whaling, Eric Brown, Duncan Alney, myself, and an occasional guest do a weekly podcast show? Check it out over on the right hand side of my blog or subscribe to it on iTunes.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Episode 28 - Do you budget for website updates/enhancements?

I'm finalizing some marketing budget numbers and I'm curious, are you budgeting marketing dollars for website updates/upgrades in 2010? What's your strategy for that?

Mobile Post - 6 Months Free ... Really?

Posted via email from Mobile Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd

Episode 27 - Your online brand is just as important as your offline brand

While each company is going to use communication tools a bit differently, your online brand is extremely important. I contest that it is just as important as your offline brand.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Episode 26 - I'm killing the "Building Your Online Brand" series

It just was going too slow, and is just unrealistic. There is no one way to build an online brand. I'm sure I was giving some helpful tips, but it takes so much more than that. Here's why, and I also mention an upcoming project called The Resident Connection.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Episode 25 - There's no cookie cutter approach to social media

Yes, the tools are the same, but with each company/brand your approach will vary (even in the same industry). This is especially true in multifamily. For years we've continued to use marketing sources that essentially level the playing field and mainly compare our communities/apartments by price. Social media allows you to become unique again, and that doesn't happen by just copying what someone else is doing. We will begin to see some best practices, but each company's approach will still be custom and unique. This is why social media is not easy, but also why it pays dividends. Here's my video regarding these thoughts and some more fun stuff.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mobile Post - Duncan Alney from SES Chicago for The Apartment Nerd & The Resident Connection

Check out the audio update from Mr. Duncan @firebelly Alney at SES Chicago.

Posted via email from Mobile Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd

Episode 24 - This is why Social Media is critical to Multifamily

Seth Godin had a great post today, Lead with your glass jaw. I found this extremely relevant to the multifamily industry and share my thoughts for how it applies. Please share with decision makers in your company and those that have a negative opinion about rating sites or social media in general. Thanks everyone and enjoy your day!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mobile Post - These Buildings Are Really Coming Along

These are the first buildings to be delivered for www.homeisthelegacy.com

Posted via email from Mobile Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Episode 23 - Your Current Preferred Employer Program is Backwards (Changed from the Original)

**Not only did I change the title from "A Preferred Employer Program is a Bad Idea", but there's a pretty solid idea in the comments below. Be sure to read the comments.**

After some Twitter conversation, I wanted to sum up my thoughts on this topic. Would love to know yours.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Episode 22 - Why did you ask me to fan/friend your Apartment Community?

A question for y'all. If this is you, it may be time to revisit your facebook strategy.

Building Your Online Brand Episode 6 - The RSS

So, in Episode 5 I indicated that the blog is the most powerful social media tool in your toolbox. Here's why.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Episode 21 - Conference Recap / What's Your Take-away?

What a great week. Tons of ideas. Thanks to the Indiana Apartment Association and to Tami Siewruk and her team for putting together some great conferences. Here's my thoughts. Let me know yours. Enjoy the holiday week!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mobile Post - it's this simple

Thanks Gary!

Posted via email from Mobile Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd

Mobile Post - The Best Marketing Strategy Ever...

I just finished Crush It and wanted to share this.

Posted via email from Mobile Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mobile Post - J.C. Hart Movie Themed Poster

Hollywood is this year's IAA Convention theme, and I went for the Disney Pixar look for our management company poster.

Posted via email from Mobile Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Episode 20 - Craigslist is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

After the podcast last week I wanted to expand on my idea that "Craigslist is the tip of the iceberg" in regards to online apartment marketing. I have a theory, and would love to know your thoughts.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Guest Post from Duncan Alney at Firebelly Marketing on being remarkable

Duncan at Firebelly Marketing shares his thoughts on being remarkable.

Mobile Post - Total Awesomeness

Created with PicSay on my Droid

Posted via email from Mobile Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mobile Post - Droidcast 1

On the go update about my upcoming vlog post, and a nod to the Apartment Marketing Gone Digital podcast.

Posted via email from Mobile Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mobile Post - @firebelly researching some music for www.Passionati.com

I take a visit to Firebelly Marketing and test out the capabilities of my new Droid phone. Hope this works.

Posted via web from Mobile Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mobile Post - Email Strategy With Your Residents

  
Download now or listen on posterous
Recording 3.wav (1167 KB)

Posted via email from Mobile Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mobile Post - @garyvee Time to #CrushIt

Apparently Barnes & Noble in Indianapolis doesn't care about the NYT Bestseller list with book placement, but I found it and finally got my copy of Crush It. Thanks Gary! Keep doin' your thing!

Posted via email from Mobile Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd

Episode 19 - The ILS Conundrum

This may come as a shock, but I've been thinking. After the Rent.com debacle, I started thinking about the ILS models in general. I've shared some of my thoughts about ILS's in a MFI discussion (click here) before, but here are some more ideas and I want yours please. Tell us what you want to see. How do you want to see the ILS's change?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mobile Post - Coming Soon, The ILS Conundrum

  
Download now or listen on posterous
Recording 1.wav (1146 KB)

I don't want to be know as the guy that just rants, but it's time for some change in how our industry adopts technology and the ILSs can be a huge piece to that puzzle if they want to be.

Posted via email from Mobile Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

So The Audio Thing Works on My Mobile Blog

  
Download now or listen on posterous
Recording 1.wav (1068 KB)

Well, this makes things interesting.

Posted via email from Mobile Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Building Your Online Brand - Part 5

In trying to get back on track with the series, recent discussions about tracking traffic and ILSs has me thinking about the most important online tool for your online brand. Let me know your thoughts.

Episode 18 - Follow-up On The Rent.com Post

Thank you everyone for such a great discussion regarding The Rent.com Debacle. In general I think many are now curious about finding a better way to track traffic. As long as we're constantly working to improve I'm up for the challenge.

In today's post I summarize my thoughts after having an opportunity to speak with the good folks at Rent.com. I apologize for the length of the video, but I wanted to make sure I said all I needed to.

Thanks to the Rent.com team for participating in the conversation and taking the time to chat with me.



I'd love to hear your ideas for how the Rent.com model can evolve/improve. I know they would love to hear your thoughts as well.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Episode 17 - The Rent.com Debacle

This is kind of a long video, but I have to get this off my chest. I'm frustrated, and I have a feeling many of you out there could be paying for Rent.com bills that are not justified. The Rent.com model is flawed and needs to be fixed.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Episode 16 - BrandsinPublic and Sidewiki

A couple interesting weeks in social media. It's getting crazy folks. You don't control your brand online, your customer does.

Episode 15/BOB 4 - Building Content

Creating content is a beast. I wrote a guest post on the Firebelly Marketing blog a few weeks ago about how it is so challenging to create the content. What's it take? I have a few thoughts. This is part 4 to Building Your Online Brand and Episode 15 all in one.

Building Your Online Brand - Part 3

There are a ton of free tools to study analytics, keywords, and get alerts. I talk about a few of them her in Part 3 of Building Your Online Brand.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Episode 14 - Crush It

I've stepped away for a couple weeks to celebrate the birth of my new son, Charlie. While I've been able to somewhat follow things and slip in a few comments, it's nice to create some content and start to get back on the grid. Hope everyone is doing well.

In this episode, I want to help support a guy I truly believe in. I know I've shared snippets of what he does before, and those of you that have made social media a passion most likely already know that Gary Vaynerchuk is about to bring it with a new book. So here's some thoughts on the past couple weeks, and what I suggest you do about Gary's new book.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Building Your Online Brand - #2

For part two of the Building Your Online Brand series let's talk about your website. I encourage you to take an honest look at it, and give you 3 first steps to help.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Building Your Online Brand - #1

Well, I took last week off to play a little catch up. I'm back again with the first installment to building your online brand. While I couldn't find my copy of Good to Great, I recommend you find a copy and I also have some other recommended reading for you. Thanks all!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tidbits from The Shock Jock

Here's where I'm going with all this. Thanks Allison for the inspiration.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Episode 14 - The Champion

Most likely if you are reading this you either are or are a good candidate to "champion" change in your branding, marketing, and social media efforts. I'm not sure if I really make a point as much as I just bring up this concept. What I am suggesting is that we need to make sure we are leaders or we have a team that sets out to build on the points I make in episodes 11, 12, and 13 about building a brand, having a plan for training, and just having an overall strategy. I read a post today from Shannon Paul about social media strategy vs. tactics, and just this morning Seth Godin had a post focusing on the same topic. So my question is, are you "The Champion"? Are you ready to build your strategy? Are you prepared to be "The Champion"?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Episode 13 - Let's Not Get the Cart Before the Horse

In Episodes 11 & 12 I talk about strategy. That's one thing some of the best in our industry do. Some of the largest brands in Multi-family have been successful because of their strategy. Whether it's a branding strategy, a training and best practices strategy, or an overall marketing strategy, they are winning today because of a great plan. You don't have to be a large company to have a strategy, and there's no reason a smaller company can't have a better strategy than the big guys.

In Episode 13 I expand on marketing strategy and why getting the cart before the horse with your online marketing and social media efforts can be an issue. As we saw last week with the Horizon Management debacle it's important to participate and manage your brand online, but (as many of us have been talking about for the past year or so) it's not a good idea to just jump right in without a plan. Let's not get caught "Bear Shaving." So let's talk strategy. What are your plans? Do you have a plan? Do you need help? If you'd like to know more about the J.C. Hart strategy for online marketing I'll be sharing those efforts in the coming weeks along with some tidbits from other industry friends. Until then, I recommend you start thinking about a strategy and think about finding an online marketing team to help your efforts.

Episode 12 - What's Your Training Strategy

It's sexy right now to talk about facebook, twitter, social networking, blogging, etc., etc., but what about just having a training strategy. One thing I've learned since taking on my position as director of marketing & training is that training is key to everything we do and not just some of what we do. Each time you launch a new program or every time you hire a new associate training is critical. So let's be honest, how many of you really have a strategy that you love? I suspect that the larger companies feel more dialed in with their efforts than some of us small fries out here. So the topic of the day is training. What are you doing? Do you like it? Can it be better? Tell us about it.



Kudos to CLASS and The Leasing Workshop for helping with our leasing training efforts, and looking forward to learning more about The Training Factor.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"When was caring not a real job?" - Gary Vaynerchuk

The hot topic of last week and last week's Twitter #AptChat topic was the Horizon lawsuit. After watching all of this go down and having Kate Good give me a nod in her latest post I've been inspired to write my own piece. I've given some advice about responding to our critics that I'd like to share, and also share why it's important to your brand.

So, in her post, Kate mentions something I said during my "Corporate Mullet" presentation from the Realpage User Conference. At some point I paraphrased Gary Vaynerchuk and said, "When did it no longer become our job to show our residents we care?" Man did it feel powerful to say that. I think I may have even got a few applause from the audience, but who knows. ;) Anyway, after my presentation was over a couple people that liked what I said came up to me and asked, "What should we do on ApartmentRatings.com if someone gives us a bad rating and we know some (or all) of what they say isn't true?" My response was, "Apologize." (CLICK HERE FOR EXAMPLE)

To me it doesn't matter if it's just a disgruntled ex-employee, or a real concern. I say apologize. Tell them you are sorry for their concern, thank them for taking the time to voice their concern, and tell them that you will be researching the situation further as it's your goal to continually improve the service you offer. With this response you don't admit that you've done anything wrong, you show appreciation for people voicing their concerns, and you highlight your goal of continuous improvement (as I hope that is what we're all striving for). Do you want to be known as a brand that ignores your customers, or as a brand that listens and responds?

In addition, I highly recommend ALL ApartmentRatings.com reviews be responded to. Even the good ones. Thank them for taking the time to provide feedback, and even give them your email address so they can contact you anytime if needed. I say give your email address to the critics as well. Ask them for suggestions, and have them email you. It all goes back to "caring" as Gary said, and I say "caring about your brand." Gary Vaynerchuk can be somewhat obnoxious at times, but the guy brings it and he definitely cares. Watch this clip for about two minutes and you'll see him make the point.

The whole thought of caring brings me back to my first job out of college. I was working for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., and the first role they give you in the "management training program" was as a Customer Assistance Specialist. Yep, the 1-800 line operator. Rule #1: Apologize. I never connected that with caring until recently. Put yourself in the customer's shoes. They want to be heard, and it's someone's fault for not listening or not making the information easy to find. Now they're calling you. When it get's to you, i think you have to apologize to show you care. At Toyota, even if someone was just asking us the MSRP of a new car, we'd apologize first. "I'm sorry you were unable to find that information."

Regardless of the communication tool the concern comes in on (phone, email, apartmentratings.com, Twitter, etc.), make sure people know you're listening as it shows you care. Just because we have a policy, it's the way we've always done it, or it's a stretch of the truth, doesn't mean the customer's voice should not be heard. Even if the customer is wrong, SO WHAT! Let's remember what our real jobs are here, caring. It's not easy as we have a history of relying on policies and contracts in our industry, and it's easy to make all our decisons based on those. However, caring more can be easy as well if we just listen, show some empathy, and try to help people. Let's use these as opportunities to improve, as moments of misery that can be turned into moments of magic, or as ways to turn a dissatisfied customer into a lifelong customer. The brands we read about in business books, hear stories about from our friends and family, or just the ones we admire don't get their recognition and reputation from having incredible policies. I think they just care more.

Enjoy your week everyone!

Mj

Friday, July 31, 2009

Episode 11 - Your Brand, It's Not Just About 1 Community

I've had some conversations lately about our Corporate Mullet presentation, and Duncan recently presented the concept again to the Social Media Club Philly on the invite of Beth Harte. In our apartment space one thing that I think many companies are missing with the business up front is a good brand foundation. At J.C. Hart we've been working hard on building our brand name and making sure it is associated with all of our properties. In Episode 11, I'm asking everyone how they feel about the concept and where you think your brand is from a recognition standpoint. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Interview with John Hinckley of Irio Mobile Marketing

At NAA I met with the guys of Irio Mobile Marketing and here's what John Hinckley had to say about the offerings of Irio.

Interview with Ed Spiegel of RentMineOnline

At NAA I was able to meet up with Ed Spiegel of RentMineOnline. Hear what he has to say about his company and check them out at www.RentMineOnline.com.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Episode 10 - It's Happening So Fast & The Topic of the Day

I'm sure many of you agree with me that things are moving quite fast in the online marketing word. While it's overwhelming at times, it's a lot of fun. So let's have some more fun with it. Two things today. One, I'm going to try and bring more frequency with the vids. The feedback I'm getting is that people like the concept, so I'll try to dream up some more topics. Two, have you seen the @AptGuide Twitter contest? I give my thoughts and would love yours. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Building Your Online Corporate Mullet

Yesterday was a lot of fun. Realpage was very gracious to invite us to speak at their 2009 user conference, and we ended up having standing room only for our presentation. Very humbled for the excellent turnout and kudos to Kate Good and Lisa Trosien for recommending our session during their presentations.

When thinking of what to speak about I somehow immediately thought of this concept my good friend Duncan Alney, with Firebelly Marketing, had been brainstorming about, The Corporate Mullet. It's a metaphor for your business and how wearing some business up front and a party in the back is a great way to build a brand and relationships offline and online. We focused on building the corporate mullet online specifically for the apartment industry, and used case studies from Urbane Apartments, J.C. Hart Company, and some non-apartment industry companies. Below is our slide show sharing some of our data. If you have any questions about our presentation please feel free to write a comment or email me directly at mark@theapartmentnerd.com. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your day.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Episode 9 - Realpage User Conference

Hello everyone. This week I'm at the Realpage User Conference in Dallas, TX. I get to see some of my favorite people like Lisa Trosien and Kate Good, as well as have the opportunity to speak with my good friend Duncan Alney about "Building Your Online Corporate Mullet." We'll be sharing our slides and possibly have some video clips for everyone in next week's post.

Anyway, I did a quick video regarding todays's keynote presentation. If you have any questions or comments let me know. While I'm not an expert in Realpage products, we do use a number of their offerings and I'm happy to help. Enjoy your week!

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Corporate Mullet

Wow, the past couple weeks have just flown by, and I'm ready for another whirlwind tour. My good friend Duncan Alney (Firebelly Marketing) and I are speaking at the Realpage User Conference next Tuesday. The topic, "Building Your Online Corporate Mullet." Yes, you read that right, Corporate Mullet. It's an interesting metaphor for how to look at your business. Yes, there is a corporate image with clean logos, bullet points, copy, legal, etc., but there has always been a social aspect to business and now even more so with the online tools at our fingertips. After the presentation we'll share with everyone some highlights and our slides.

So, with the idea of the "Corporate Mullet" I ask the question, "Do you have a policy or a strategy?" I believe too many businesses are waiting around trying to develop a policy so that the business up front doesn't get associated with the party in the back. Why? Do we have a policy for how to talk with our customers face to face, or is it a strategy? How is using facebook, Twitter, blogging, or replying to ApartmentRatings.com reviews any different than emailing, talking on the phone, or meeting face to face? You do know that email is a form of social media, right? Social media, or whatever you want to call it, (as I agree with Gary Vaynerchuk it should just be called business) is what we do. We are social beings, especially in real estate. We interact, we discuss things, we debate, we sell, we give, we care, we use new communication tools, we do business. What's your strategy?

Friday, July 3, 2009

How Can You Help Turn Our Industry Upside Down?


I was fortunate enough to meet Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com last weekend at the NAA Conference in Las Vegas. What an incredible mind and an incredible business model he's helped build. He shared some tidbits about his company culture and offered to send anyone in the audience a book containing stories about company culture that every associate at Zappos has contributed to. Just amazing. So amazing, that right now they want to include 20 fortunate individuals in a 2-day bootcamp to learn how to apply elements of that culture to their own companies. Here's some details:

Our core curriculum will show you:

  1. Instructions in how to discover and create your culture

  2. How to know, live and track your values

  3. How to deliver WOW! service

  4. How to get your customers talking about you

  5. Superior Management Techniques

  6. Inexpensive ways to reward your employees

  7. Much More

Who's in?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Episode 8 - NAA 2009 Highlights

So last week's NAA Conference was an amazing think tank for me. Some great ideas were shared, and there was some specific highlights for me I'd like to talk about. If I missed you, I'm sorry we didn't cross paths. Hopefully next time. Enjoy.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Episode 7 - NAA Direct Mail

With the NAA Conference this week I thought I'd touch on a topic that relates to the conference. Over the past couple weeks I have received dozens of direct mail pieces from vendors that have booths at the trade show. So in this week's video I'm reviewing my favorite and asking you about yours. Look forward to seeing/meeting you at the conference.

Mark

Monday, June 15, 2009

Is Social Media Stretching You Out?



Let me preface this post by saying that I wrote about half of it a week ago and decided to sleep on it to see if I was just in a funk or if my thoughts have changed. Some recent readings have allowed me to make some revisions and additions so I can let ‘er fly. I will apologize up front for the length of the post, but it is what it is. No video this time, just The Apartment Nerd in black and white. Enjoy.

Recently I have felt super stretched for the time to dedicate to blogs, twitter, email, and just my regular job and personal life. It’s been frustrating to not read blogs that I used to somehow find time to read and comment on, and to find myself getting buried in emails that require my attention but don’t get the immediate response they probably deserve. Then, by chance, I saw a tweet this weekend by Jeremiah Owyang*. He linked to the most recent post on his Web Strategy blog speaking to the scalability of humans. While he references how difficult it is for his peers online and in the blog world to scale what they do as they grow and do more, I think we can look at this as an example for why online Social Media and Social Networking is so challenging for anyone.

A couple weeks ago Lisa Trosien had an interesting post with "Maybe It Should Really Be Called Social NOTworking?" After commenting, feeling the way I have in recent weeks, and reading Jeremiah’s post, I want to ask the question a bit differently and more in general for all business and marketing. Should it really be called Social NOTworking because people just don't have time? And I'm not just saying us as companies trying to use the tools for networking and marketing, but also as a consumer.

We know it takes time from a business perspective to participate in social media, but are we making an assumption that consumers aren’t stretched for time as well? Maybe it’s too much to participate in social media and fulfill the needs of our day jobs and personal lives? I find myself up at midnight writing things like this blog post wondering if it's just a bunch of nerds getting psyched about social media for marketing and trying to push everyone else on board. How many everyday people really have the time or desire to participate online as a hobby or even regularly? Yes, the number of accounts and the growth has been staggering, but what about the ongoing usage and the falloff? Is social media just another fad?

Are we mainly connecting with a small group of nerds that will always think it’s cool, or is social media really sticky? How many of your friends on facebook never have new status updates? How many people do you know that don't even have a facebook account and never intend to? How many of you have completely abandoned your MySpace account? How many people do you know that have created a Twitter account, but have never posted to it and most likely never will? (And one post that says “Checking out this Twitter thing” doesn’t count.) Have you read about the recent studies on Twitter usage? How much time per week would you say you "waste" using social media sites? Do you feel guilty wasting that time? As a consumer, do you engage with any brands online consistently? I’m an Internet nerd and have never used Yelp!, ever. Is there too much focus on online reviews?

I may be contradicting some of my opinions and thoughts that I shared in commenting on Lisa's post (and in my general point of view), but I'm thinking things through a bit differently and playing devil’s advocate to myself I suppose. I love the multi-family, marketing, and social media relationships I've built using Twitter, facebook and www.multifamilyinsiders.com, but I don't take any time to engage with brands like Lexus, Apple, TaylorMade Golf, HyperLite Wakeboards, Nintendo, Samsung, Taco Bell, Gatorade, Budweiser, etc. Am I fans of these brands on facebook? Maybe. But that's as far as it goes as I just don’t have time. If we ourselves are not engaging with our favorite brands, why would we think our customers would do so? And even if they do, is it sustainable?

I believe there is a niche for social media in every business’s marketing plan, and I also believe that companies can leverage these tools to build keyword rankings on search engines, provide content for their brand, and communicate with customers. Let’s just not lose sight that there is a total plan and that there are many pieces to the puzzle that we still don’t do well in our industry as a whole. Email being one example. Heck, most statistics will tell us that just answering the phone is a challenge.

Unfortunately, I view social media as more of a challenge than a solution today in marketing apartments as well. It is a challenge as it fights for time with the phone, email, and good old face to face communication. It is also a challenge in that our customers face the same battle for time as we do in using the tools. Until social media tools can be used to consistently SAVE people time, I believe its best use is to enhance search engine optimization for a company and/or communities. There are exceptions to the rule, but I think those exceptions are rare and have not experienced the scalability challenges Jeremiah suggests in his post. I’m sure there will be an evolution in social media that addresses the issue of time and scalability, but until then I’m not certain the majority of consumers and businesses will completely embrace the tools available as we see them today. Thus, Social NOTworking.

*(If you’re not familiar with Jeremiah Owyang visit his blog with one of the links above or visit the NAA Education Conference website to learn more about him and his participation in the upcoming panel discussion on Social Media with Tony Tsieh - CEO of Zappos.com, Pete Flint - Founder of Trulia.com, and Moderator, Eric Wu - Co-Founder of RentWiki.com at next week’s conference in Las Vegas.)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Episode 6 -Twitter #AptChat

I know, it's crazy! Two posts in one week, but I had to do it. @LisaTrosien is rockin' it with her Friday #AptChat on Twitter. While I have yet to be able to participate, I like to go back in and read through the stream. This last Friday was all about Twitter and using in to market your properties or management companies. I have a few thoughts on the topic and would love to know your opinion as well. You may want to read this article as well for some food for thought.

I look forward to someday participating in one of these #aptchat sessions, but 4 on a Friday in the summer is tough. We'll see. So here's my thoughts on one particular aspect of the chat and I also pose a question to everyone in regards to being or not being on Twitter. Enjoy!

Episode 5 - Integrated Marketing Communications

OK, Beth Harte is on a roll in recent weeks. As I dug deeper into some posts I had not read, I found this topic that I believe really hits home in our industry.

For me, I feel many departments are interacting more with Marketing due to technology, websites, social media, and the Internet in general. IT & Marketing, Marketing & PR, Communications & Marketing, HR & Marketing, Customer Service & Marketing, etc. I think Beth references an interesting topic with integrated marketing communications in her post "Communication Silos Don't Work". One of the biggest complaints we continue to hear in our industry is communication breakdown. What I am suggesting in this week's video is, while Finance dominates our industry, Marketing needs to take its place as the glue and hub for company communications. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Episode 4 - PR and PR 2.0

I was reading some recent posts from Beth Harte about PR and PR 2.0, and at J.C. Hart we have recently been focusing some more of our efforts on some traditional PR.

So in this week's episode, I'd like to address Public Relations and what it means to everyone today. With social media continuing to grow we're essentially becoming PR agents for our own personal brands as well as the companies we represent. I'll take a quote right from one of Beth's posts:

Now, I know what you might be thinking. “I am not in PR.” Well, guess what? If you are engaged in social media, you are in PR now.


Here's the video, and I hope to hear your thoughts on PR for your management company off and online. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mobile Marketing (Episode 3.5)

Hello everyone. I was able to get a pretty good take here from my response to the questions I posed about mobile marketing last week. Of course you'll hear my radar detector in the middle, but that's what I get for filming these in the car. Anywho, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the mobile topic. Thanks!

The Apartment Nerd (Episode 3.5) from Mark Juleen on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Are You Going Mobile Yet?

Hello everyone, I've done at least 3 retakes for this week's Apartment Nerd post and I just can't get it right so here it is in writing with some screen shots from the outtakes.

Anyway, what I'm looking to throw out there this week is the concept of "Mobile". A lot of chatter last week on Twitter was about iPhone apps, and I know many of us have discussed mobile websites and text marketing. I have an opinion (of course) about where this is all going, but I'd like to know where everyone stands on the topic today.

1. What are your thoughts on text marketing? (i.e.- what the listing guides provide you, or what you may or may not already be doing similar to real estate agents)
2. How does your website look on a mobile phone? Are you taking steps to make your websites mobile? If not, I'd like to know why you don't think this is a good move right now.
3. Is an iPhone app a good investment for your company? How would you intend to use it? And how would you measure the return on your investment?

These are the main questions running through my mind on mobile, and in an upcoming (hopefully video if I can get it together) I'll share my thoughts as well. Thanks for stopping by.

Mj

Monday, May 11, 2009

Apartment Internet Marketing (AIM) Conference - Mike Whaling

At this year's AIM Conference I had a chance to sit down with Mike Whaling of 30 Lines and talk about social media. Here's what Mike had to say.

Apartment Internet Marketing (AIM) Conference - Mike Whaling from Mark Juleen on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Print Doesn't Have a NEW Partner, The Internet Has an OLD Partner (a comment for TotallyToni)

Apparently my comment was too long to make the cut on Toni's NAA blog post. So here it is for those that would like to hear my thoughts.

















It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought... it figures

A blog post about print not being dead. Hmm, a bit ironic, don’tcha think? Well, it is what it is.

So, here goes. As Level One pointed out last week at the AIM conference, our industry has a very difficult time measuring traffic sources even with the technology of today. Only 29% of leads are tracked properly to the source according to their data. http://www.apartmentinternetmarketing.com/resource-library/slides/?action=view&id=41 I believe this is interesting as the data we collect, even today, cannot be trusted. This actually helps validate an argument for print (sort of).

That being said, I know with our experience we have continued to see the quality and quantity of our online leads/leases increase over the last few years. We've also seen the number of print leads/leases decrease over the past few years. This is, at least, according to our inaccurate numbers that apparently are only 30% correct. However, when quality goes up, the ROI bell goes off in my office. Where there is a disconnect for me is with the quantity argument and “The print medium is vital to the flow of traffic to your property!” comment. Are we looking for quantity or quality? I would prefer 5 quality leads over 10 mediocre leads. I will argue that the listing guides and other print forms of advertising provide less quality leads compared to online sources strictly due to lack of information that the print provides. Print may drive people to search online, but if we can be found online without having the expense of print to get people there then the ROI just makes more sense.

Here’s my mini case study that is still a work in progress, but I believe it will be even more relevant by the fall. During the last 3 months the majority of our portfolio is no longer using the listing guides (or any mass print advertising) as marketing resources. While we have taken a portion of those huge savings and invested them into other online listing services and enhancements to our company online presence, we have still reduced our marketing costs per unit by more than $30 on average. So, what’s the result? Only 1 community out of all that dropped the print listings has had fewer traffic/showings compared to the same period last year. And they weren’t off by much. This is also in what many call a “down” market. Pretty amazing in my opinion.

Does this example represent all markets or all property types, no. However, it does show that print is not a necessary piece to marketing an apartment community, and without it those savings can be spent in other places that have a better impact on quality of leads vs. quantity. Sales is a numbers game, but there is also a marketing ROI that can’t be overlooked.

OK, now onto your “Online Ad” argument. You make a great point. Online ads do disappear into cyber oblivion. However, if you look at where online is going you’ll see the best marketers saw that many moons ago, and they are now focused on search results, creating online community, or embracing customer testimonial/ratings sites like Yelp! It’s not about shouting your message, it’s about sharing your message. We dropped all our banner ads online even before dropping the print. Messages now need to be targeted and specific. They cannot be an interruption to one’s regular activities. I would even argue that the listing guides are actually great permission marketing sources. No one is going to just pick one of those up for leisure bathroom reading or as coffee table d├ęcor. People pick it up for a reason, they need an apartment. However, the ROI for these print listings continues to slip, and it’s easier than ever for marketers to reallocate just a portion of those dollars for results that are equal to or greater than before.

From my perspective this isn’t a question of evaluating whether or not print is DEAD. The question management companies need to ask themselves is if they can continue to justify the ROI for print marketing. If you can justify it, great! If not, don’t be that guy continuing to do things the way we’ve always done it. Go for it! Do your homework, find an online marketing consultant to help you if necessary, and change the way you share your message. Print doesn’t have a NEW partner, the Internet has an OLD partner.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Question: Are You Overwhelmed by Social Media?

In Episode 2 here of The Apartment Nerd, I ask your thoughts on Social Media and where you're going with it. Enjoy.

Mj

The Apartment Nerd - Episode 2 from Mark Juleen on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Revenue Management in a Declining Market

Last week I had an excellent opportunity to participate on a panel at the AIM or Apartment Internet Marketing Conference 2009. It was a fantastic experience and I felt honored to have been able to share my company's experience with revenue management. Below are the slides from my presentation, and when the video becomes available I will share it as well. In the mean time, you may visit www.apartmentinternetmarketing.com for information about the conference, and to view all the presentations (when they are available). Also, for you Twitter nuts, the hashtag from the conference was #aimconf and there was a special social media tag during the social media presentation #aimsm. Check those out and let me know if you have any questions about revenue management or about the conference in general as I'm happy to share our experience. Enjoy.

Friday, May 1, 2009

AIM Conference 2009 - Interview with Conference Executive Producer Steve Lefkovits

This week at the Apartment Internet Marketing Conference (AIM), Steve Lefkovits, Executive Producer of the Conference, took a few minutes to speak with us about the conference and share with us some other thoughts. To check out some of the information or chatter from the conference on Twitter do a search for #aimconf.

Apartment Internet Marketing (AIM) Conference - Steve Lefkovits from Mark Juleen on Vimeo.



Thanks, Steve, for taking the time to speak with us.

Mark - The Apartment/Marketing Nerd

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Well, I've Got to Start Somewhere

I bounced around all sorts of ideas for the first post here, but really just couldn't get comfortable with some gimmicky plan. So here it is, down and dirty, casual in the car just telling you what this blog is all about. I look forward to sharing some ideas.

Thanks.

Mj


The Apartment Nerd - Episode 1 from Mark Juleen on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Welcome

Welcome to Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd. While some visitors may have followed me at Tidbits from The Marketing Nerd, this blog is geared strictly toward Apartment Property Management. My goal is to focus on the Apartment and Multi-family Housing Industry providing interviews with industry leaders, those on the front lines getting it done everyday, and general tidbits from me for the industry. I hope you enjoy my approach from an owner/operator perspective, and gain value from the information shared here. Thanks so much, and enjoy your day.

Sincerely,

Mark Juleen - The Marketing/Apartment Nerd