By John Hall - December 3, 2018
This is Part 4 of Your Unique Marketing Advantage. If you missed any of the first three parts, you can check them out here:
Hopefully, we have rekindled your interest in brainstorming, and working to find the amenity that makes your leasing shine.
Now, let’s take a look at where you can start to look for new ideas.
Are you getting any good ideas from reading this list? Is there anything we missed? We would love to hear from you!
By John Hall - November 26, 2018
This is Part 3 of Your Unique Marketing Advantage - where you get to generate ideas! If you are new to this blog, take a look at Part 1 and Part 2, which are about Information Gathering, a very important part of the process.
Ready to generate ideas for your next great amenity offering? Here is the best way to find them:
Don’t let that be a dirty word! You may have had experience with brainstorming sessions that are poorly run, but when well-executed, there is still no better tool for the creation of innovative ideas. There are so many articles out there about how to brainstorm effectively - and you should definitely read up before you start - but let’s talk about what your particular brainstorm session should encompass.
1) Collect your raw data
In other words, everyone makes lists. Lists of information gleaned from talking to prospective residents. Lists of any competitive data they can find. Lists of neighborhood information. Before the session starts, have every participant put all of their intel into lists, and then put that data on to a master list. Don’t assume that any of it is meaningless. You want all of it!
2) Categorize it
Look for common threads in the data, and put it into different categories. There are different ways to do this, but the classic method is called a SWOT analysis. What is SWOT?
Identifying strengths and weaknesses in conjunction with opportunities and threats will give you a better handle on the best solutions. Here is a cool thing about SWOT analysis: most of the things that you discuss will fit into more than one category. This creates a discussion that inevitably brings you much closer to finding great new ideas.
3) Collect ideas
At this point, you will have identified a handful of areas that you can take advantage of, and it is time to generate ideas. Like you did with your raw data, you need to go back to collecting as many ideas as possible. When brainstorming fails, it is usually because people are afraid to throw things out there at this step. Hint: Start with your weaknesses, but keep the main focus on your strengths.
4- Narrow those down
Once you have a list of ideas, you can start to hone in on specific ones, and put people in charge of further research and implementation. Some ideas will be eliminated, but more will often end up being combined into better ideas - usually much better than what one person will have come up with on their own. And, when participants have truly participated in the process, they have a sense of ownership in carrying out the appropriate action.
So, to put it simply, make sure that you include your entire staff in all four of these steps: Collect (lots of) information - Narrow it down to categories - Collect (lots of) ideas - Narrow those down to working solutions.
Need more inspiration? Next week, we will talk about where some of the game-changing amenities that we have seen come from!
[Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash]
By John Hall - November 15, 2018
Our last entry was about market intelligence, and where you can find it.
[READ PART 1]
Now, we will look at some of the questions that you should be asking.
When you gather information, remember that you have a goal in mind, so the information that you acquire should serve to help you with that goal. In this case, your goal is to identify strategies that will set you apart within your market. So, there are two basic questions you need to ask:
1- What is your market?
2- What is currently being offered to your market?
This is the information you need before you can ask the most important question, which is: What can you offer that will give you an advantage in your market?
Here is the thing: You sort of need to avoid asking that question at this stage. You need to tailor your questions to learning about possible differentiators, but you need to do so without specific differentiators in mind.
Let’s simplify that:
As much as possible, you want to be neutral with your solutions, so that you don’t just automatically turn what you find into support for your idea.
Whoa! What??!! Let’s simplify that one more time:
Don’t put the cart before the horse!
Is that simple enough?
Your goal is to gather data, but you don't want to attach too much meaning to that data. Not yet.
Let’s take a look at some of the information you should be trying to acquire:
-Are there newer communities than yours?
-What are their amenities?
-What are their rents?
-What are they advertising?
-Where are they advertising?
-What is the quality of their advertising? (Web design, photography, etc.)
-What is their social media presence?
-Which ones are you competing directly against? (Similar rent land amenity offerings. Hint: your applicants will typically also look at your most direct competitors. Non-direct competitors will compete at much different reant levels than yours.)
-What are they looking for?
-Do they have pets?
-Where do they work?
-How do they get there?
-Do they have cars?
-Where are people eating? Going out? Hanging out?
-Are there attractions (such as parks and pedestrian areas) near you?
-What are your neighborhood demographics? (Pro tip: In most cities, there are neighborhood organizations. Not only are these a good source of data, but they can also be an ally to you if you show a willingness to help out.)
-Are there changes on the horizon? (Employers moving in? Attractions being built?)
That’s a lot, and this list is just to get you started. The good thing is that this information is always available to you. You just need to be in the habit of seeking it out.
In other words, interactions with any applicant should be approached as an opportunity for you to collect information. Your interactions with your own neighborhood should include observation as to what is going on out there. Looking at what your competitors are doing should be a regular part of your routine. If you approach your days that way, you will soon have a plethora of useful information at your disposal.
And then, you will be able to start using that information!
Next, we will look at how to apply information to create your own unique marketing advantage!
GO TO PART 3
More Multifamily Insights:
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