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Big Data Rule No. 1: Use the Data You’ve Got

Big Data Rule No. 1: Use the Data You’ve Got

You can hardly open a trade magazine, read an online article or go to a conference in the multifamily industry these days without hearing something about data.

“Big Data” has become the buzz phrase in the industry, promising benefits of using data to improve customer experiences and increase revenue as it has in many other industries. While Big Data does have to be analyzed and transformed into real business intelligence, there’s no questioning the importance of data to marketers in all industries, including multifamily.

If you’re not using accurate data to market your apartment communities, you’re missing out on a number of important benefits:

Improved channel selection. Selecting the right channels for your integrated marketing communications is vital to its success. Unfortunately, a lot of the data being distributed to apartment marketers is skewed or just plain inaccurate. Data accuracy is of the utmost importance to any apartment marketing program to ensure you’re spending your money on the sources that produce results. Because data can be manipulated so easily by making inappropriate comparisons and changing the definition of a metric, it’s important to dig deeper about any number you’re given – especially leads and unique visitors. Leads should only be counted if they result in connected phone calls and delivered emails, and visits are not the same as unique visitors. The key is to do your homework about marketing channels and ask a lot of questions, especially about those bold-print numbers being shared with you. Just because a channel is receiving a lot of unique visitors, it doesn’t mean it’s delivering real, quality leads. Just because a channel says they’re delivering the most leads, it doesn’t mean they’re counting them properly. You want both – a lot of unique visits and a number of high-quality leads counted correctly.

Better targeting of messages. Once you’ve selected the right channels, it’s important to know your audience and ensure that relevant messages are reaching them. For example, you want to make sure prospective renters in the early search stages are getting the basics, such as pricing, specific location details, and amenities offered. In the latter stages of their search process, they’re going to want more granular information, such as ratings & reviews and whether your furniture is going to fit. Having data on where prospective renters are in the decision process can enhance your ability to target them better with email messages and even phone calls from leasing associates. To get that data, your onsite associates are going to have to be more vigilant in gathering it during conversations with prospects.

We’re pretty sure the Big Data discussions will continue to rage for the foreseeable future. But what apartment marketers really need to do right now is gather as much relevant data as possible and use it to their advantage.

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