May. 6, 2015
By Leah Etling, Contributing Editor
Huntington Beach, Calif.—The 2015 Apartment Internet Marketing Conference wrapped up for another year under overcast skies, but the takeaway from the last few days was that creative, technology-forward marketing for the multifamily marketplace has moved into the sunshine.
While the real estate industry is often accused of lagging behind in adopting modern processes and clever marketing techniques, it may be time to let that assumption die a quick death. From the ideas and techniques presented by dozens of industry speakers, to the excitement over drones, smart locks and other new technology, to the conversations attendees had in the halls, it’s clear that the apartment industry has bridged the technology gap.
Here’s a few of the industry lessons that AIM 2015 brought into the spotlight:
- Forget Facebook. Trendy marketers in multifamily are using Instagram to build their brands. With lifestyle images that capture a desirable day-to-day existence at their properties, special events, and the people who already live there, Instagram has appeal for most target renters. Alliance Residential (@AllianceLiving) is an exceptional example, with a stylish Instagram account featuring the pools, people and play offered at its apartments.
- Application of technology can be totally practical or a little bit on the playful side, and it’s happening both in operations and marketing. Automatic moisture detectors, which can alert managers to property damage before it occurs, were one of the home automation devices heralded for rental properties. And the winner of a brand new drone wasn’t kidding when he leapt out of his seat in delight – drones are being widely used for photography and will become more prevalent as their prices continue to drop.
- Video is the next big thing for cutting edge marketing teams, who are using it successfully to tell stories about their properties. The winner of the AIM Community Marketing Video Contest, Midwestern manager Mac Properties, is a love letter from residents to the historic buildings they live in. The residents are real and their emotion for the properties authentic, allowing prospects to easily connect. See all the video entries here.
- Multifamily is ready to dive into its data, and many companies already have projects underway. OkCupid co-founder Christian Rudder’s keynote talk on Tuesday primarily focused on the endless possibilities for mining data to better understand who people are when they think no one is watching. Our industry is interested in their true preferences for home life, from commuting distances to apartment size to lease renewal potential.
- Finally, never underestimate the power of connecting with others and bringing excitement and energy to the boardroom or the ballroom. AIM is widely known as one of the most hip and fun conferences around, and it lived up to that reputation this year with a superhero themed party Monday night, yoga classes in the morning, and Top 40 tunes at high volume between every session. Opening speaker Susan RoAne first published her book How to Work a Room in 1988, but her tips for better business relationships are still solid. “People don’t do business with companies, they connect with people in the companies,” she told the AIM crowd. It’s great advice for multifamily, a business that is based on housing – but really about people.