Last modified on August 2nd, 2022
By Marc Frenkiel
In 2021, when businesses were reevaluating standard operating procedures in light of the shakeup caused by the pandemic, AppFolio worked with Lisa Trosien (The Apartment Expert) to create The Executive’s Guide to Marketing and Leasing. She offered a brilliant perspective on how to optimize marketing and leasing operations in property management: Create a “separate-but-connected” structure that gives teams the bandwidth to focus on their core competencies.
Today, with HR, staffing, and recruitment being a top challenge in the property management industry, it’s more important than ever to ensure team members are happy in their roles and not overworked.
With Lisa’s advice still applicable today, here are some of the top takeaways from her executive guide, with a focus on optimizing your firm’s marketing operations.
The goal of property management marketing
Lisa explains how marketing’s ultimate goal is to drive leads to your property management business, in this case property owners, as well as driving leads, ie. prospective renters, to vacant units. This, according to Lisa, is accomplished “through brand management, which means overseeing everything that faces the customer.” Day-to-day responsibilities include:
- Listing units on the proper channels, including social, internet listing sites, and leveraging an SEM (search engine marketing) strategy
- Nurturing a positive brand reputation
- Crafting your property management firm’s culture and internal communications for the benefit of your employees
But that’s not all. According to Lisa, the changing business environment has only added to marketing’s to-do list, including more analytical responsibilities such as:
- Market analysis to evaluate changing economic conditions that determine where and how people live
- Competitive analysis to keep your business differentiated and ahead of the other property management companies out there
All of this is a typical marketing workload, without the responsibilities of leasing. Imagine the day-to-day routine of someone responsible for all of the above, plus a whole list of leasing duties as well. The workload would leave little room for a healthy work-life balance and could prevent team members from growing their careers, both important aspects in employee satisfaction and retention according to recent AppFolio data.
Indeed, according to Lisa, “Marketing makes the phone ring and leasing makes the door swing. They’re different roles with different responsibilities and, in my opinion, it is just too much to ask for someone to be both, especially with anything that’s over 5,000 units.”
The benefits of “separate-but-connected”
In Lisa’s eyes:
“The solution is to establish a structure where one person supervises leasing while someone else supervises marketing. This allows each department to focus completely on their own area of expertise, including defining their team members’ roles, responsibilities, processes, and KPIs [key performance indicators] that determine their specific business successes.”
It’s a significantly more efficient system, but it comes with a key caveat. As Lisa explains: “Just because you keep them separate does not mean they should be siloed. The key is to keep them working together, but give them the foundation for success by dedicating to their departments appropriately.”
Here are some of Lisa’s insights into how marketing and leasing can work together.
Leasing’s influence on marketing
The marketing team needs to know if their advertising dollars are being spent correctly. Is the messaging on point? Most importantly, they need to know which ad placements are driving not just the most traffic, but the right kind of traffic. The positioning of your property — Class A, B, or C — will determine where you should be spending ad dollars. According to Lisa, it’s not uncommon for a specific marketing channel to bring many prospects only to find that they are unqualified: “Marketing needs this feedback so they don’t burn traffic and waste budgets.”
Fast forward to June 2022, which saw the launch of AppFolio Stack™, our long-awaited integrations marketplace. One of the marketing solutions now available to AppFolio customers is a powerful performance and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform called Knock®. To highlight this new partnership and provide property management teams with a better understanding of CRM, our team chatted with Knock’s Co-Founder and CEO Demetri Themelis. Demetri explained how leveraging the right technology to optimize your marketing team’s core competencies can set them up for greater success, inadvertently echoing Lisa Trosien’s sentiment about the importance of reliable data and its impact on traffic and budgets. According to Demetri:
“How much do multifamily operators trust their attribution data? How much do they really believe that they know where their leads are coming from? Our customers don’t have that problem. They can answer that question very confidently. They know exactly where their leads are coming from, they can see very clearly cost per lead, cost per tour, cost per lease and that helps our customers drive and maximize their marketing budgets to be as efficient as possible.”
To wrap up, consider taking a page out of Lisa Trosien’s book and reorganizing your property management operation to have marketing and leasing “separate-but-connected.” Allowing your marketers to be just that — marketers — can lead to more focused, productive, and happier teams that see opportunities for professional growth and are less at risk of turning over. Combined with providing them with the most modern, intuitive marketing tools that work seamlessly with your primary property management platform, you’ve got yourself a recipe for success. As Demetri Themelis puts it:
“Every company wants their employees to be engaged. I find that for anybody who wants to grow in their career, there’s a real benefit in learning how to make data-driven decisions on what’s working and what’s not working. That can help lead to better outcomes. It teaches somebody who’s an individual contributor the power of making data-driven decisions, which is, of course, a really fundamental skill set.”
For more insights on how to set up a “seperate-but-connected” framework and the benefits of doing so, check out Lisa Trosien’s Executive’s Guide to Marketing & Leasing. And for a deep dive on why CRM is essential for marketing and leasing success, tune in to our latest episode of the Top Floor featuring Demetri Themelis of Knock.