Do you feel overwhelmed with new tech tools?

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According to a study from Ascend2, 63 percent of marketers say they have all the marketing technology they need.

That's... remarkable. And it's probably wrong-headed. After all, marketing in 2016 runs almost entirely on human creativity melded with a large number of marketing tech tools. There are always going to be new ways to use existing tech or new tech that can be created to help us do our jobs better.

So how can almost two-thirds of all marketers say they have all the tools they need?

Our guess is pretty simple: Most of us are tired. We have a lot of responsibilities. We're trying to mind our own marketing metrics, translate those metrics into metrics that our bosses care about, stay on top of tech trends, teach people working under us how to use the tools we already have, and the list goes on.

In this post, we want to offer three tips for managing your marketing technology tools.

NOTE: We're going to talk in general terms here so we won't refer specifically to a single ILS dashboard or website management tool, like our own RentStream product. That said, I will say that ease-of-use and ease-of-management are two major considerations we kept in mind as we built the RentVision Platform so if you want to learn more about that, head on over to the RentVision Platform page or use our contact form to ask for a free demo of the RentVision Platform. 

First Marketing Tech Management Tip: Focus on objectives.

One major problem many folks have, not just in the multifamily industry, but in marketing more generally, is that we tend to get generally excited about new tech, even if it's not obvious how that tech actually helps us do the things we need to do. This is a bit over the top, but if you haven't seen this video, it's worth a watch:

 

Always focus on business objectives when evaluating a new marketing tech tool. In our industry, those objectives are helpfully simple:

  • Generate qualified leads.
  • Convert leads into leases.
  • Renew as many of your leases as possible.

Because we really only have one major money-making product—apartment leases—our key performance indicators (KPIs) are refreshingly simple, much more so than in many other industries.

Toward that end, when you're evaluating new technology, always be asking yourself "how does this help us generate better leads, convert leads into leases, or retain residents at lease renewal time?" If there isn't an obvious answer to any of those questions or if the answer creates far more work for you than the value it would provide, then don't bother with it. (One obvious place to apply this principle: Social Media Apartment Marketing)

So before you get super excited about the new martech tool you discovered, ask the simple question of how that tool helps you complete concrete, well-defined business objectives.

Second Marketing Tech Management Tip: Lean toward tools that can be automated or require minimal maintenance.

More tools generally mean you can do more tasks. But regardless of how many tools you add, you can't add hours to your day or work week. So you can't do an infinite number of tasks. Thinking hypothetically, having enough tools to do 250 different things does not help you if time only allows you to do 50 different things.

For this reason, tools that do not require ongoing maintenance are really helpful. This, incidentally, is a major part of how we think about our own product offerings: Walkthrough video tours are a great tool for apartment communities and require an extremely minimal amount of work to maintain once videos are shot. Analytics software is another example here. If you have good analytics software with a good dashboard, you can benefit from all the data it pulls in while only spending a marginal amount of time actually working in the software itself.

Other sorts of tools helpfully have a basic mode that allows you to work relatively quickly in them. WordStream's 20 minute work week is a good example of this.

The big idea here is that you don't just need marketing tech that allows you to do a new thing or even that allows you to do a new thing that is helpful in completing concrete business objectives. You need marketing tech that allows you to complete defined business objectives within the limitations you have in your current position.

Third Marketing Tech Management Tip: Don't be afraid to stop using a tool.

Here I can speak from personal experience. In the time I have been at RentVision, we've done a lot of different things with our marketing. We've experimented with all sorts of software and all sorts of marketing techniques. Today I probably use fewer tools and do fewer tasks overall than I have at any other point in my time at RentVision. We still use a lot of tech stuff to be clear, but it's scaled down from where it was in 2014 or even early 2015. We're also blogging less this year.

The reason why is relatively simple: We've blogged so much over the years that we don't need to blog daily in the same way we did in the past. Our overall content archives are massive now and so the need to add to them is... not as pressing. Moreover, by scaling back on my daily blogging, I'm freed up to write longer, more substantive posts (like this one) and to work on other projects I've wanted to attempt for awhile but did not have the time to do. (We'll have more on that in the near future. There's some exciting stuff coming down the pipeline.)

So this is the final tip for managing your marketing tech: Don't be afraid of saying "no" to a thing or of no longer using a certain tool or doing a certain task. Maybe you've been trying to build a huge Facebook presence and it just isn't going anywhere. Don't buy into the sunk cost fallacy.

Always be evaluating what works for your community and if something that used to work isn't working anymore... it's OK to walk away.

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RentVision enables you to generate more qualified traffic when you have a sudden increase in vacancy, and saves you marketing dollars when it’s under control.

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