Marketing professionals in today’s multifamily space can all agree that standing out is a full-time job. Understanding where processes can be more streamlined may potentially answer some fundamental questions when building technology around this category. In a space dominated by Yardi and RealPage, where are the missing links and how can startups focus on filling the gaps? To answer some of those questions I sat down with Erica Garrity, Marketing Director from the Laramar Group, to get an insider’s perspective on technology within multifamily marketing.
Q: How long have you worked in Multifamily and how has the use of technology changed the business over the years?
A: Over the last 10 years, I’ve seen many technological advances. We’ve come a long way and still have long way to go, but I am thrilled to see such a drastic shift. The greatest advancement is with online applications, website functionality and ILS data feeds. Prior to the current technology, all listings were entered manually. Technology has freed up much of my time to focus on a variety of other important tasks. Also, the introduction of video, VR and 3D photos has simplified the leasing process. More than ever before, prospects are renting sight unseen.
Q: What is the most time-consuming part of your job and how do you feel a technology platform could simplify this?
A: Media Management. I would love to see an automated system to manage media buys, their cost per month, cost per lease, activations and deactivation, etc…
Systems exist, but a platform that fully integrates with Yardi/RealPage, which would flag incorrect pricing and align media buys with occupancy trend, for example, would be highly beneficial. This is something that needs to be personalized per management company with their specific pricing.
Q: What do you feel needs updating?
A: Leasing. I would love to see technology-enabled tours that don’t need a physical agent. I know this concept exists, but I don’t feel it’s at a place yet where I would feel comfortable relying on it. Also, a resident portal that houses both rent payments and smart home controls would be great.
Q: What technology exists now that has the greatest potential to grow your business?
A: Chatbots. People no longer want to talk on the phone. It would be highly beneficial to engage a lead with texts. An automated system cuts out huge amounts of time that could be spent on other tasks.
How can we learn from these insights? Technology advancements are evident in this category, but are they where they need to be? As Erica indicated, many of the platforms on the market solve time-consuming problems, yet there is still hesitation from marketing leaders to use them as they often lack one or two key drivers that will make them a home-run. Marketing professionals want/expect platforms to integrate with Yardi/Real Page which often is a challenge from a variety of angles. Additionally, with the exuberant amount of startups in this space, it has become overwhelming for companies to prove their worth to marketing teams who are not only slightly skeptical, but who are adhering to strict budgets. For technology companies to excel, listening to the teams on the ground, understanding their wants, needs and struggles will help to build well-rounded platforms that will empower this category and continue the progression forward. Whether you’re a property manager or a technology startup, marketing teams should be viewed as a powerful tool to gain insight on the trends and future of the multifamily space
If you have more insight or technology solutions in multifamily marketing, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us here