This article was posted on Tuesday, Mar 01, 2016

If you ask anyone involved in marketing what the most desirable audience is to market to, and they will most likely say Millennials. That’s because this generation is gigantic (75.3 million – Pew Research), and they are very tapped into marketing and its channels. 

Marketing to Millennials

Born between the mid-1980s and just before the turn of the century, these individuals have a reputation for being independent, tech-savvy, entitled, culturally aware, and adaptive. What does this mean for an owner/manager trying to market a multifamily property? It means your property must have the following: 

  • Be tech savvy – This is likely a no-brainer, but we’ll say it any way. Your property must have a user-friendly, interactive website. Your property must also have high-tech capabilities such as WiFi. If you have yet to invest in either of these, you’ve likely identified the reason you don’t attract this age group.
  • Create content – So often, multifamily owners/managers believe tactics like blogging and interacting on social media isn’t applicable to them. Yet, residents and prospective residents are interested…They want information they can put into practical use and they want to know their manager or management company knows and cares enough to provide it to them. Wondering what on earth you’d talk about? How about moving checklists, tips on keeping pets, community/city news updates, charity information, apartment space savers, energy efficiency tips, holiday hours and updates, where to go and what to do with kids, and the list goes on.
  • Invest in inbound marketing only – According to a recent article on HubSpot, “Outbound marketing methods, like magazine ads, direct mail campaigns, and radio spots, do not impress Millennials.” Instead, these individuals are more likely to trust experts who demonstrate and share their knowledge (see #1).
  • Involve them in the process – Millennials want to be involved and have their voice heard. Conduct surveys and get out and talk with current residents. Find out what they like and don’t like about the property and do what is reasonable to address issues. Proving you value them and take their opinions seriously may just be the best retention strategy you can implement. 

Marketing to Generation X

“Rebelliousness, independent, entrepreneurial, anti-establishment, skeptical, ecology-minded, anti-consumerist, short attention spans, multi-career minded.” (AccountingWeb) These are just a few of the obviously negatively slanted identifiers given to Generation X. Yet, these individuals, born sometime between the mid-1960s and mid-1980s, are also known for their dedication to family, distrust of marketing, and need to be a part of something that makes a difference.

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As such, multifamily marketers can typically reach members of this generation when they can effectively: 

  • Prove to be family-friendly – Property managers cannot market directly to a generation, and most certainly cannot discriminate. So, it’s wise to have something that appeals to members of all generations, and then include those selling points in marketing campaigns. For those with families, including information about the neighborhood location, property amenities, etc., is best practice.
  • Backup their promises – Many owners approach marketing by filling ads, pages, and scripts with ‘fluff’ that make the product/service/property sound great. Yet, there’s a likelihood that these campaigns make the item sound better than what it actually is. Nothing will turn a Generation Xer off more quickly. So, always choose the selling points to highlight that are verifiable and that speak directly to their values and interests.
  • Be more than a home -Property owners/managers may wonder how they can appeal to Generation Xers who desire to be part of something more. However, just like with purchasing a product that commits to giving a percentage of proceeds to charity, a multifamily property can be more to these individuals than just a home. Here are a few examples:
  • Create a community garden where residents can benefit from growing their own food and/or giving to the community
  • Incorporate a recycling program for the property
  • Invest in environmentally-friendly energy efficient improvements
  • Align with local charity, giving incentive to residents who donate time/money in exchange for rental discounts 

Marketing to Baby Boomers

Arguably the largest generation ever born (more than 76 million strong), Baby Boomers continue to be a force to be reckoned with. Members of this generation were born between the mid-1940s and the mid-1960s, and have a reputation for rebuking the lifestyles of their parents. As such, they initiated the Free Love movement and are known for being less family-centric. They also have little respect or trust in authority or branding, thanks to the numerous worldwide movements they’ve witnessed and the job market tumult they’ve had to endure.

With respect to marketing, AccountingWeb defines Baby Boomers as follows: “Interestingly, modern marketers now are finding that this demographic is market-savvy, consumerist, and are happy to brand hop thanks to the fact that they came of age in the swinging sixties when novelty and experimentation were favored over conformity and tradition.” Translation: Your property will need to be standout to get and keep the attention of these individuals.

Boomers want more freedom than what traditional nursing/elderly homes can provide. As they age to the point of needing such a facility, many are opting for multifamily living arrangements instead. The key is knowing how to reach them so your property is top of mind.

A recent study by DMN3, a multi-channel marketing agency, found that Boomers’ digital behaviors include: using search engines (96%); using email (95%); and shopping for products or services (92%). For marketers, this indicates a need for: 

  • A good SEO (search engine optimization) strategy that is updated regularly so the multifamily property is easily found by name, location, amenities, etc.
  • Ongoing lead generation efforts that capture prospect email and continues to engage them through meaningful marketing campaigns.
  • A comprehensive and interactive website where Boomers can find the information they need to comparatively shop for their next home. This should include information about the property, area, and prices, at the very least. 

Home-grown in the Lone Star state, Class A Management has been helping multifamily property owners achieve success through its award-winning management services for nearly 30 years.  For more information, visit Reprinted with permission of Multifamily Insiders.