The Centralized Marketing Platform
Benson knows marketing in the multifamily industry has unique challenges. While it’s impossible to lease without new leads, marketing is rarely at the top of the CEO or COO “to do” list. This is due to many factors, such as; multifamily housing is primarily a real estate business, and most marketing functions can be programmed and then handled at the property level. Furthermore, renting is a high consideration purchase, so prospects put substantial effort into finding the right housing. Compounded by local entitlement processes that ensure supply rarely outweighs demand, it’s not a surprise CEOs and COOs focus their attention elsewhere – except when there’s an obvious occupancy crisis.
However, this dynamic doesn’t mean effective marketing is not important. Cap rates in the 5–7% range mean each incremental dollar of NOI corresponds to $15–20 in increased portfolio value. With ecommerce tools effectively capturing leads and sophisticated pricing systems converting extra demand into better pricing power, incremental improvements in marketing efficiency and effectiveness can have a substantial impact on enterprise value.
Despite improvements in technology and process, most multifamily organizations still operate marketing through a complex web of local and regional decision-making and execution scenarios. Most multifamily owner/operators and fee managers lack a platform to effectively manage the myriad of marketing processes, products and logistics to successfully drive occupancy, revenue and NOI. Often leaving them “drowning in details,” this reality negatively impacts productivity, costs and performance – creating unnecessary frustration for all parties.
A Cost and Control Advantage
Benson’s Centralized Marketing Platform (CMP) manages the procurement, production, logistics and applications of all marketing endeavors – from business cards to signage to promotional items and apparel. Our CMP provides many advantages to empower marketers to drive stronger qualified foot traffic.
In essence, Benson’s CMP is a “one-stop” marketing shop. It doesn’t replace strategic planning and creative activities but rather simplifies the logistics and reduces the complexity of executing marketing tactics. Our innovative CMP has several key characteristics:
Our online store allows associates at all levels of the organization (community, regional and corporate) to create and order marketing collateral, apparel, advertising specialties, signage and essentially anything that communicates with prospects, residents or associates.
Whether in print, online or both, our purchasing guides allow associates easy access to a tailored catalog of pre-defined and customizable products. Benson catalogs help marketers plan their marketing activities, knowing anything they do will be consistent with brand standards and compliant with company policies.
Dedicated Account Team
No catalog and online ordering system can be perfect, so a good CMP is supported by an account team accessible via phone, email and chat (and maybe even texting) so associates can get immediate answers to questions and resolution of any problems that arise.
Benson’s CMP provides access to centralized information that makes it easy to analyze spend, increase accountability and help with budget forecasting.
Our CMP provides accountability at every step, from manufacturing to distribution to ROI analytics, ensuring the highest quality throughout the process.
A CMP saves your marketing and leasing team time and money.
It may seem that utilizing your local print shop, for example, would be less time-consuming and significantly cheaper than utilizing our CMP. However, the time it takes to design, communicate, edit and approve every marketing piece that goes in and out of your office can be astounding and stressful. Working with multiple vendors on one simple project can be costly, in both human and financial terms.
Volume Buying Power
Benson works with a number of multifamily operators, so we naturally have more buying power than single multifamily operators. Prices are pre-negotiated to eliminate “spend surprises,” giving you improved budget control.
The “one-stop shop” nature of our CMP offers a number of opportunities for greater efficiency:
- Procurement and production process require only a few keystrokes, freeing up time for strategy and project planning instead of administrative execution.
- A single access point ensures products are shipped together, and arrive at the same time, without the headache of waiting for items from multiple vendors.
- Stored templates and 24/7 access increases the “time to market” for local associates and provides the ability to customize products for each community.
- Much less time is spent gathering logos, brand colors, etc. and delivering them to multiple vendors. Every asset is at your fingertips!
- Administrative costs are reduced when working with one versus multiple vendors.
Improved Reporting and Budget Control
When you are responsible for multiple communities and their respective marketing/regional manager, the ability to collect spending reports related to marketing, and determine if they are in line with the budget, can be like “herding cats.” It’s nearly impossible and very frustrating for everyone involved.
A CMP offers a single reporting and tracking function for marketing spend over a wide variety of categories. Reporting is easily accessed and can be filtered and sorted as desired for:
- Increased accountability
- Real-time visibility into budget spend data
- Spend tracking
- Error and error resolution status, as well as reported turn-times
The above solutions allow for a more streamlined report-gathering process and considerable less time collecting and collating data for budgeting.
In addition, the ability to closely track and analyze current and future marketing spend can help eliminate the hidden costs of not utilizing a CMP. Recurring set-up fees, loss of buying power and rush fees are just a few of the missed expenses that pose a constant drain on NOI.
One of the most challenging situations for any marketer in the multifamily business is transforming an acquisition (both property and client) to reflect the new brand. Benson’s CMP can be set-up in such a way that acquisition kits are created and sent to arrive in advance of or on the switchover day, thereby reducing the complexity and number of people needed to execute the process.
This timesaver allows for a very simple, error-free transition, providing you valuable time to focus on the unexpected tasks that inevitably come up during an acquisition.
Reduced Pain from Turnover
Our CMP builds the “genius of marketing execution” into the program. With a single platform, brand standards are automatically enforced, tools that work are re-used, and operators can leverage existing creative. One of the biggest benefits is a less-painful turnover. When good Regional Marketing Managers change companies or are promoted, they leave a legacy of templates and tools. When creative designers transition, their best work is leveraged time and again, and all those “cringe worthy” flyers created on the community level go away.
Enables Wider Spans of Control
Shifting effort away from executing each promotion from scratch and managing multiple vendors makes Regional Marketing Managers more efficient. As a result, they can handle more communities. In a large enough portfolio, this allows for significant cost savings in staffing.
The same concept applies for on-site managers. “One click” ordering and using pre-set templates saves time and resources. While operators typically can’t reduce community management staff and still maintain office hours, this does free on-site teams to focus more on their core revenue generating activities such as leasing and resident retention.
Eliminates Hidden Costs of Decentralization
While possibly feeling more flexible, decentralization has many hidden costs. To make matters worse, the fact marketing is rarely on the “top 3” focus list for senior leadership means these costs stay hidden and pose a constant drain on operating results. Here are just a few examples of these hidden costs:
- Recurring set up fees
- Lack of a competitive bidding process
- Loss of buying power
- Reduced brand consistency
- Reduced ability to spread “best practices” and “lessons learned” across the entire organization
- Increased risk of Fair Housing violations
The CMP Advantage for Regional Marketers and Community Managers
Benson’s CMP means more control, an easier way to stay on top of things, greater predictability and a stronger ability to demonstrate impact. It manages and automates the details, so marketers and leasing associates can focus on what they do best - driving more qualified foot traffic and serving their residents and prospects. With a central location for all marketing material, we’re able to simplify things and reduce the complexity associated with managing marketing logistics. In addition, your dedicated service team has one goal – to help make your job easier and more successful.
What’s more, our CMP also tracks important standards, milestones, activities and analytical data that are important to corporate, providing more clarity and predictability around marketing operations and logistics. This results in less second-guessing, interruptions and incomplete work-in-progress.
Our single supply chain allows you to execute marketing strategy. It doesn’t replace strategic planning or the creative process but provides the tools to keep you from constantly reinventing the wheel. Benson’s tools include a Smart Store, purchasing guide, dedicated account team and performance metrics to simplify the logistics and, in turn, save you valuable time and money in executing your marketing tactics.