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Traditional marketing is dead! Or so claims The Harvard Business Review.

But is it really dead, or has it drastically changed along with the rest of the today’s communication landscape. With social media, hundreds of new channels have been opened resulting in a constant bombardment of product messaging. So how does your message stand out in such a red ocean? People hate to be interrupted (Pandora commercials), but what about being disrupted? And what is the difference?

There is much debate about the meaning of disruptive advertising, but I describe it as “what the heck was that?” advertising. And to get that reaction today, you have to go over the top! Maybe that is why the Old Spice or Dollar Shave Club campaigns were so popular. Much like the popular show Family Guy that goes over the top with every joke, todays marketers need to bring the heat if they are going to get the attention of a consumer.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the multifamily industry. Whether it is the generic “Free Rent” or “Now Leasing” banner, or your local Craigslist page, it’s almost as if our industry is afraid to stand out. But that is exactly what needs to happen in today’s leasing landscape. When marketing an apartment, remember that the attention span of a consumer is shorter than ever. If the image and message does not disrupt them, they will not notice.

Below are 3 “Disruptive” apartment marketing ideas.

1. Branding the toilet paper. For a student property in Michigan, hundreds of rolls of toilet paper were purchased with the words “tired of your crappy apartment call….” and the logo printed on each square. These rolls of TP were then placed in bathrooms all over campus.

2. Disruptive Images. Images like this completely random picture of Jeff Goldblum might seem strange to some CMO’s, but when placed on a stall in a bathroom you get disruptive marketing. An image like this with an apartment’s name or website will certainly get attention.

3. Burritos on a Bike. The Leasing Director at a property in Texas recently purchased $100 worth of $1 burrito’s, put them in a basket on a bike, and road around the property and the town handing out burritos. The reaction on Facebook and Twitter to the burrito bike stunt drew traffic and renewals for the property.

Stop thinking about how best to describe your property, and start thinking about how to disrupt the attention of your prospective renters. If they see your message and it is interesting and outside the box, they will remember your brand!

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