Apartment Living BlogFeatured › 4 Ways that Marketing Automation and Artificial Intelligence Can Help Your Property Thrive

From digital automation to smart home devices and artificial intelligence, the technology landscape is changing at a rapid pace. And while these technologies may seem futuristic, far-fetched, or at minimum, difficult to implement, we were curious about some reasonable and realistic ways that these advanced technologies could benefit apartment communities.


During a panel discussion at the 2017 National Multifamily Housing Council OPTECH Conference, Don Davidoff, President of D2 Demand Solutions, shared that in the multifamily housing industry, “services or areas that he views as ripe for technological change [include] service requests, SEO marketing, PPC optimization, email campaigns, customer segmentation, smart home controls, pricing, concierge, call scoring, smart search, parking/security.”


Let’s take a deep dive into those areas to see how implementing high tech solutions can help your business thrive.

1. Customer Interactions: Integrating Artificial Intelligence


In the same panel discussion, Neil Sahota, who works on IBM’s Watson project, explains artificial intelligence (AI) this way: “First, AI learns from experience; second, to some degree, it needs to understand semantics and concepts.”


In your apartment community, AI can be used for prospect inquiries, resident service requests, and even offering an AI concierge.


Increasingly, artificial intelligence is used for customer service interactions, and IBM predicts that “by 2020, 85% of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent.” With AI-powered messaging apps, you would be providing residents with always-on customer service that responds quickly and reliably.


Additionally, innovative systems can be established to take pre-emptive action by “monitor[ing] a nearly infinite amount of website and in-app activity for distress indicators, identifying customers experiencing issues and what those issues are. The system can respond in real-time offering support through FAQs or virtual service agents across platforms and devices.”


Will AI disrupt multifamily housing? The panel at NMHC proposed that AI may not be a looming threat at all: “Instead of being met with fear or apprehension, multifamily leaders should instead consider the problems they face and then consider whether AI may be a tool that helps them solve that problem.”

2. Marketing: Streamlining With Automation


We’ve previously written about how you should use automation in your marketing whenever possible. Whether you’re working on SEO, PPC optimization, or targeted email campaigns, automation has the potential to create marketing touchpoints that are more targeted and more personalized. “In practice, this means the death of the ‘email blast’ and the rise of better segmentation and messaging designed to appeal to specific customer sets,” said Forbes.


automate your marketing efforts



Marketing automation is not just for emails or contact lists. It integrates into all marketing channels to create systems for scalability, prioritization and increased effectiveness. “The most effective marketing automation not only collects data from multiple channels, but uses those various channels to send their marketing messages as well.” says Hubspot. “Using behavioral inputs from multiple channels such as social clicks, viewing a pricing page or consuming a particular piece of content gives marketers the context they need to fully understand a lead’s challenges and how to guide them down the funnel.”


“Without automated marketing, multifamily companies are missing leads and missing the opportunity to keep in touch with prospects,” said NMHC .

3. Apartment Facilities: Smart Tech Infrastructure


In order to stay up to date with any rental trends, you have to start planning now. So if apartment residents of the future are going to expect smart-home technology integrated into their unit, it’s worth considering any future infrastructure you would need, and how you can start to position your community as being on the cutting edge of available technology.


Elements to consider are smart-home controls for within apartments, smart security cameras for public areas, smart parking technology, and more. “Even if apartment owners aren’t sold on adding these technologies now, [businesses are] at least upgrading their properties’ infrastructure with site-wide Internet connectivity and excess wiring,” said Multifamily Executive. “It may seem excessive to install it now, but if this smart home technology trend hits and a property isn’t equipped to handle the update, owners could be losing out to the competition across the street.”


smart home technology


Smart locks and smart thermostats are two examples of early ways to implement smart home technology before it becomes mainstream. Plus, apartment managers are “seeing a quick return on investment” for these items, and one company reports that the ROI for high-tech access management like smart locks is under three years.

4. Business Intelligence: Making Data-Based Decisions


While “going with your gut” has been a longstanding way to make business decisions, today’s data-rich environment provides an opportunity for a more scientifically structured way to make business decisions.


In an interview with the National Apartment Association, Jay Kenney of Lincoln Property Co. says that in his company, business intelligence “allow[s] you to view the profitability of a property or portfolio of properties. From an executive perspective, you can easily see the outliers, properties that are not hitting their KPIs, and drill into the details to get to the root cause.”


making the best business decisions


This ability to look at overview analytics and then micro-segmentation can provide useful insights that cannot be gleaned without a rich set of data. Kenney recommends that companies looking to implement a BI program first identify who their power users are. “Those would be the people who are creating their own KPIs and their own business metrics to manage their portfolio of properties,” he says. This gives you an initial baseline so that you can set some company-wide standards for which KPIs you’re interested in and how they should be calculated.


Since the intelligence about your business will be gathered and analyzed via a piece of software, it’s critical to choose the best software for your apartment community. MultiFamily Executive provides a list of key software considerations as you begin your journey to making data-based decisions through BI.


ForRent.com’s marketing solutions are designed to help your apartment community drive leads, build your brand, and retain residents. Learn more at https://www.forrent.com/solutions/.

Katie Glaser


Katie Glaser has been a marketing communications professional for over 15 years. Specializing in real estate marketing, she has overseen the digital marketing and editorial content initiatives for residential and multifamily property listing sites, Homes.com and ForRent.com. A Virginia Beach local, Katie holds a B.S. Communications degree from Old Dominion University and previously held a Virginia real estate license.

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