Your Unique Marketing Advantage: Part 1

How To Start

By John Hall - November 6, 2018

There is nothing like marketing a new apartment community. Everything is shiny and clean, amenities abound, and the competition can’t hold a candle to the excitement created by that “new car smell”! (Actually, that new car smell is something that automakers are trying to eliminate, but let’s not ruin a good metaphor.)

If that is where you are, congratulations!

This post is for everyone else.

What do you do when the novelty of a brand new property wears off? How do you respond when newer communities are beating you with all of their shiny, new toys?

You get some new toys of your own! In this case, those toys are called “unique marketing advantages”, and they are they key to your success in your changing marketplace. All you have to do is figure out what they are.

And here is how you do that:

STEP 1 - Market Research

When a new community is developed, there is a ton of market research done. Developers do not like like to sink millions into a project when they don’t everything that is going to influence their ability to make money.

The problem is this: Things change.
New competitors. Changing local economies. Changes in renter demographics. 

Market research is what you do to to figure out what has changed. Simply put, you cannot make smart decisions about marketing your community if you do not know what is going on outside of it.

So where do you go to gather that information?

From the beginning: Look at the marketing plan you are operating under now. Whatever your mix is, it is likely based upon extensive market research. What did your market look like when those decisions were made? What about your community is most emphasized in your messaging, and why? You can’t think about what to change if you are not fully aware of where you are starting.

Check out your competitors. You should be looking at your competitors’ online presence regularly. Read their reviews. Monitor their websites. Their guide listings.

Talk to your applicants. They are conducting market research in real time. Ask them to share what they have found. Ask new residents why they chose your community, what they felt they had to sacrifice, and what appealed to them about other communities. If possible, reach out to people that didn’t choose your community, and ask them the same questions. Then, thank them for considering you. Do not use this as an opportunity to market negatively. You never know who is going to be looking again in a few months time, of what they are telling friends who are looking at a move.

Know your neighborhood. Are there new large employers around? Where do people go in your neighborhood? Read up on city guides to know what is being said about the area where you live. At the very least, you need to know the full range of entertainment, dining, and service options that are available to your residents.

Stay on top of the industry. Somewhere, some community has a great idea that would be perfect for you. You need to stay on top of industry publications, like Units and Multi-housing News. Your local apartment association offers you the opportunity to work with other apartment professionals, as well as a wide range of vendors.

Those are some places for you to start. Are we missing anything? 


Title Photo by David Jiang on Unsplash
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