Student Housing Business

NOV-DEC 2017

Student Housing Business is the voice of the student housing industry.

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November/December 2017 72 LEASING & MARKETING as the message these days. Tools like geo-targeting or geo-fencing are enabling marketers to reach specified audiences with customized content. According to John Wilkinson, chief strategy officer of Threshold/Carve, being constantly online is like living in a virtual reality 24/7. "Online is no longer a place to go, it's where everyone spends their time, including at concerts, games, while shopping and eating. Cam- paigns that target people during these moments should look and read differently than those targeting students who are actively searching for housing." Geo-fencing, for example, uses GPS to draw a boundary around a group in a specific location to deliver advertisements to a captive audi- ence filled with likely candidates to be searching for student housing, such as attendees of a college or high school football game. But targeted advertising can get even more granular than that. "We do our best to create a narrative from the information we have available," says Michael Huereque director of AgencyFIFTY3, a Denver- based marketing company responsible for many of The Cardinal Group's campaigns and branding strategies. The firm serves student housing and multifamily companies with properties throughout the United States. "Most universities have a list of feeder schools, which can also be uti- lized for ad targeting through the summer," says Huereque. "Where do students eat? Google provides a wealth of information when searching by zip code. This includes nearby bars, restaurants, shopping and recre- ational areas. What kind of brands do they like? You can use Facebook's ad targeting to narrow by zip code and interest." Huereque says marketing messaging can be tailored according to brands students are drawn to. Tory Burch is popular in Denver, while Patagonia has high saturation in Texas, he says. In order to drill down into its markets, Core Spaces has shifted social media responsibilities away from the individual properties to the corpo- rate headquarters in Austin, Texas. According to Ben Modleski, Core's chief operating officer, even though social media comes from HQ, it effectively provides more localized and customized content than was possible when social media duties were managed at the site level. At the same time, higher-level oversight also ensures brand consistency throughout the portfolio's social media channels. "At Core, we strive to break up our posts into a 20/80 ratio — 20 percent sales pitch, 80 percent engaging the audience," Modleski says. "Social media is a great way to narrow focus on a market with content that offers useful information and connects the customer to the company for the long term. One of the cardinal rules of marketing is knowing your audience." The opportunity to control costs is one potential upside of this target- ing marketing in which audience knowledge becomes increasingly more intimate. "Given technology's ability — and the sophistication of mobile plat- forms — to target individuals in real time with location-based software, marketers are better able to distribute information to potential residents at the right time and with the right message," Wilkinson says. "Given the campaigns' ability to provide data points, marketers are also better able to prove ROI with digital campaigns." Matusek advocates for marketing teams to be included in early discus- sions about budget for this very reason. She says it's important for all parties to understand the ownership's financial goals for the property. If a property is going to be sold two years into the new ownership, for example, the marketing plan and budget would be different than it might be for a property with a longterm hold strategy. "Asset managers are often afraid to disclose the budget because they think that marketing and operations are going to spend too much money," she says. "But the fact of the matter is if everyone understands the goal of the asset, then you can set your per-bed marketing spend to match that strategy. And you can all work to protect that marketing expenditure and to report the results of what the marketing is doing. In the absence of that full transparency, there's going to be a lot of opportunity for failure." SHB PREMIUM STANDARD BASIC Please check this box FOR HALF ASS Call 801-999-0025 DON'T SETTLE! YOUR MANAGEMENT COMPANY FOR SOMETHING BETTER

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