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Maximize Marketing Dollars: Part II – Evaluating Your Apartment Marketing Programs

[This is Part II of the Maximize Marketing Dollars series.  The first part reviewed the “Power of the P’s” in marketing: Price, Product, Promotion, People, Position, Process and Passion.  Part II discusses how to evaluate your marketing programs and making any changes!]

Solution Two: Honest Evaluation

Endless amounts of resources are at your fingertips to assist in evaluating marketing efforts. The key is to develop a system of evaluation that becomes a part of your routine. By looking at the reports and other key indicators, ask yourself, “What does this say about this marketing source or what about this effort was successful?” When you come to conclusions, record and track them for future reference.

When evaluating whether the P’s and other marketing efforts are really paying off for you, it is essential that you have the correct information. Assuming you are stellar trackers of all marketing sources—where are you getting the biggest bang for your buck? If you are not seeing a substantial Return on Investment (ROI), then pull that money and place it where it is working. Also evaluate if the rent rates are set appropriately, or are you under-valuing your property by offering concessions or offering deals when they are not needed? Look closely if a particular apartment home type is highly desirable then raise the rates. It is a simple supply and demand philosophy.

Property reports are one of the available resources that can help track the amount of qualified traffic from each source, and the corresponding phone conversion and closing ratios.  Zone-in on the marketing sources that are providing the highest percentage of move-ins which is the best qualifier of a good source of traffic.  These reports may tell who is current resident profile and will allow you to better target future efforts. It is necessary to be sticklers about tracking and inputting the information correctly into your system. Reviewing and analyzing these reports with the onsite team weekly with a keen marketing eye will encourage correct data entry and will allow you to make changes quickly as needed.

Resident screening reports, if set up appropriately, can formulate for you which marketing sources are bringing you the best qualified leads, their income bracket and other valuable demographic information. It will also show you what source are drawing the largest amount of unqualified applicants. This should be a red flag to lead to evaluation of the source to determine what needs to be adjusted or changed.

Call Tracking systems reports, such as Call Source or Who’s Calling, are not only an amazing marketing resource but also a training tool to evaluate if the leasing team needs more sales coaching or direction on how to use marketing tools. These reports can also tell you the best lead sources, call durations that indicate a higher quality of lead and will enable you to cross check the correct marketing sources from the call.

Meet with your sales team on a monthly basis to examine and discuss the P’s will uncover the frontline perspective on what is or isn’t working. This review will also keep the sales team knowledgeable on effective marketing tools and motivated to look for trends.

Solution Three: Make the Change

During the review and examination of your P’s, you may find that some changes will be easy or even inexpensive to implement, while others may need a multi-step action plan. Remain dedicated to making the changes-- in addition, remain open to future changes.

Simply put: The areas that receive the most focus will get the most attention. If you focus on these areas of marketing efforts, the payoff from the Marketing P’s will be huge. Good Luck!

The Quintessential Challenge: Make It a Team Effort

Maximize the Power of the “P’s” by reviewing the marketing potential of each element

1. Use a flip chart to write down each of the P’s evaluating them one at a time.
Is this “P” working? How can we improve results? How can we better use this “P” as a tool to lease apartments or increase resident retention? What are the steps?

2. Pin up each of your advertisements (print and online) reviewing each one individually asking:
How effective are these ads? What is the primary message of each ad? Do these ads work together?  Are we maximizing the potential to lease apartments by using these ads? What improvements can be made? If you were an apartment seeker, would you call this community based in the ad? Do you stand out in the market? Why or why not? What are the results YTD in phone calls, qualified traffic and leases?

Continue to do this same exercise with the other marketing components.


Amy Kosnikowski, Principal of Quintessential Marketing and Training, is a national speaker, educator and marketing solutions expert focused on improving the ROI in multifamily real estate assets.  Contact Amy at 704.496.4107 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Very sound approach, Amy. This is from my white paper, "Top Ten Truisms of Apartment Marketing."

10. Advertising decisions should not be determined based on the sales rep who brings the best cookies. Even if you really like cookies.

If you’ve been in multi family marketing for any length of time, you’re not surprised or offended by this revelation. The sales representatives are very, very good at forging and maintaining strong relationships.

And they produce data that clearly shows their website or publication is the most efficient source of highly qualified traffic and leases. But, have you noticed that six or seven or eight reps make the same claim. How can they all be #1?

They aren’t trying to deceive you. It’s just that each one has a different way to measure success. One says a visitor who clicks on a map to your community is a lead. Another says they should be credited for any customer who visited their site in the 90 days before signing the lease.

An objective, independent analysis of advertising results will be far more instructive and enable you to make informed media decisions.

Look at what you’re spending with each ad source. And, look at the traffic and, more important, the leases it generates.

The results may surprise you. And, those cookies may not taste quite as good.

  David Vining
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Nice job Amy. I particularly like where you were going with analyzing marketing data and providing the training necessary to improve. You can spend mucho dollars on marketing, but if the team does not know how to close, answer the phone, return an email etc. then marketing dollars then become a waste. Thanks for the post.

  Jonathan Saar

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