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.


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.


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