It's June, the sun is out (mostly) here in Denver, and like all locals involved in the multifamily industry, I'm looking forward to welcoming a few thousand esteemed colleagues to my hometown for next week's NAA Apartmentalize conference.
This year I'm excited not only because the show is in Colorado, but because I'm taking part in what promises to be an excellent panel, discussing one of my favorite topics: the interplay of pricing, lead generation and sales. I will be joined for this discussion (which takes place at 5 pm on Thursday, June 27) by my friends John Reardon of Beacon Communities and David Dear of Equity Residential.
Beyond Pricing and Marketing Convergence
It's fair to say that the convergence of pricing and marketing has been a hot topic at industry conferences for a few years now. It makes sense: pricing is but one of the four Ps of marketing. Properties too often fall into the trap of trying to treat all of their demand-related problems as "pricing problems." There are usually better ways to deal with conditions of high exposure, for example, than pulling the pricing lever.
When properties learn to exhaust the non-pricing tactics (i.e., stimulate demand before cutting price), they typically enjoy better occupancy and rent growth performance as a result. To do this well, we must bring pricing and marketing as close together as possible, bringing all of the organization's analytical skills and tactics to bear on property performance. I've heard this idea discussed frequently enough that it seems uncontroversial in our industry, yet I often see it not happening. In this panel, we will take the approach a few steps further, focusing on three key elements of your occupancy playbook.
The three elements of your occupancy playbook
Now I don't want to give away all the details of our panel, which you need to come and see if you're planning to be at Apartmentalize, but here are a few ideas that we're going to explore in our session:
1. If your occupancy plan is a football game, then sales is the quarterback. Ask any championship team, and they will tell you that game prep is critical to winning and continued success. Here's the point that people miss: the objective is to increase conversions without increasing marketing spend. And that means that performance measurement - especially lead-tracking - is vital to developing and executing your sales playbook. In our session, we will discuss real-world examples of the use of sales tracking technologies like response time metrics and call recording/scoring, and the impact the panelists have experienced on performance.
2. If sales runs the offensive plays, then revenue management is the defense, enforcing the game plan while defending against the competition. As I have found (and written about frequently), the opportunity that so many operators miss is in creating a real strategy and having the discipline to execute it effectively. That means understanding the relationship between your system settings and your strategy (a bigger deal than many operators realize), aligning your system and regularly reviewing to keep your pricing on track. We will talk about these critical considerations, as well as the most salient performance measures, during the session.
3. So if sales is playing offense and pricing is defense who are the special teams? Of course, that responsibility falls to marketing. Think of it as determining field position for the rest of the team: securing lead volume through fixed advertising strategies, updated regularly as the year progresses. When we view marketing in these terms, we can focus on what matters - lead volumes, cost per lease and application, and so on
I'm looking forward to this discussion - from my experience working with multiple companies and clients, I know that it can be hard to corral different departments around a single game plan. But - as we will demonstrate - the discipline pays off. If you are at Apartmentalize please come and join us, and if you aren't in Denver next week, subscribe to this blog for more insights like these.
"Solving the Pricing vs. Lead Generation vs. Sales Problem" will be presented at 5 pm on June 27 in Denver at NAA Apartmentalize 2019 - Register now!