NMHC Optech 2022 Conference Recap: Remapping the Prospect Journey with Automation and Nurture Blends

Did you get a chance to attend the Optech conference this year? If not, you may have missed out on some important conversations happening among the forward-thinking leaders in attendance of this leading multifamily technology event. Keep reading for a recap of some of the latest concepts in multifamily tech that caught our eye at Optech.

The conversations in the sessions, keynote speeches, networking opportunities, and across the exhibitor show floor included topics like what the future hold for proptech, how to keep prospect data clean and safe, and the need to leverage new technologies to support a remapped prospect journey, specifically automation and personalization.

As usual, the sessions included high quality content about the latest in multifamily tech. However, there was one session that stood out to us most: Remapping the Prospect Journey, a panel with Joe Bagby, Chief Customer Officer at Continental Properties; Kelley Shannon, SVP of Marketing and Customer Engagement at Bozzuto; Daryl Smith, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer at Kettler and Joya Pavesi of Rivergate KW Management (RKW) as the panel moderator. They were talking about concepts we’re passionate about here at PERQ, including:

  • the Renter’s Journey,
  • lead source attribution,
  • and omnichannel prospect engagement.

Looking at the New Renter’s Journey Map

To kick off the conversation, Kelley Shannon, the senior VP of Marketing at Bozzuto was kind enough to share the Renter Journey Map that their property management company (PMC) used to put together a visual of a typical leasing journey for their properties.

the renter Journey Map

From that exercise, they were able to see what they’re theorized for several years. The renter’s journey has changed a lot in that time and the leasing journey looks very different based on how the prospective renter chooses to tour. The discussion talked about how renters are doing more digitally and the need for new and different technologies to support this new, more digital renters’ journey. The technology discussion included access controls for self-touring, parking technology, the need for a customer data repository outside the CRM, omnichannel experiences, and more. Simply put, there is no straight line to leasing anymore and the multifamily industry should take notice.

Joe Bagby, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Continental Properties shared his insights on best practices as you look at the renter’s journey map, “To me, what’s key is you want to map the whole end to end journey because everything impacts everything. Two things I’d suggest you want to know: the outcome your business needs (leases, renewals, higher renters, etc.) and the moments that matter related to this.”

He added that once you understand how each moment in the renter journey is related to your desired business outcomes, then you need to understand what your role is to creating great consumer experiences. Otherwise, the map is no good to you.

For multifamily marketers, their role starts at the very beginning of the leasing journey at the information gathering stage and carries on from there.

Multichannel and Omnichannel

It’s important to acknowledge the typical prospect journey is lengthier and more complicated than just a couple of years ago. The panel spent somme time talking about this and how the journey can look very different depending on how the prospect chooses to tour.

For context, the average renter takes 46 days to choose a rental unit, though many spend more than six months searching, according to the recently published Multifamily Quarterly report. Those, “Looky Lous” of yesterday are now the typical prospect , taking time to thoroughly research and ponder their options.

The panel continued to discuss that these more digital consumers are doing more and expecting more online. In the spirit of that discussion, here’s an example of what those multiple touches can look like for a renter looking for their next home.

Multi Channel attribution timeline

The panel spent a bit of time on this topic and event took the time to point out, that while similar, there is an important difference between multichannel and omnichannel approaches. Darryl explained that a multichannel go to market (GTM) approach is siloed, where experiences with your brand are available across channels (think website, email, SMS, Google, ILSs, etc.) but the experiences are not connected. In an omnichannel GTM approach, those experiences are connected, giving the prospect a seamless experience across channels, whether the experiences are working together or standing alone.

The panel went on to discuss the importance of storing prospect data and a lot of it, as well as a strategy for using that data to recognize people across steps in their journey. Knowing what experiences work and for whom allows multifamily marketers to finely tune their approach.

Maybe most importantly, the panel warned that failure to offer an omnichannel journey for today’s prospects creates a broken experience that doesn’t feel right to the prospect. They reinforced that multifamily marketing needs to be consumer-centric and create brand cohesion. Kelley challenged the audience, “Let’s broaden our roles to leading to customer experience, which goes across more touchpoint than ever before.”

Remapping the Prospect Journey

At PERQ, we vehemently agree the renter’s journey has changed and that multifamily marketers need modern tools to be effective with today’s rental prospects. Consumers have grown used to the “Amazon” experience, characterized by speed, ease, hyper-personalization and instant gratification. For better or worse, everyone compares every shopping experience to that of Amazon, even when it comes to leasing an apartment. In turn, prospects are looking to execute their online leasing journey with as little human interaction as possible. This means leaning into automation and nurture and providing a seamless prospect experience.

During Optech, it was clear that forward-thinking multifamily marketers are leaning into the concept of a marketing approach that provides a personalized and integrated experience across diverse touchpoint and devices to align with the shopping habits of today’s consumers. This approach gets you to revenue faster, collects more information about consumers, and gives the prospects choices in all the places they choose to engage with a PMC.

Using modern tools to appeal to these more digital consumers will help you stand apart Fromm the competition. Today’s marketing tech stack needs automation and nurture approaches applied to the prospect journey in order to allow the marketing activity to scale, and this should be in an omnichannel approach that has seamless integrations. Doing so keeps all your channels connected, gives you even more insights on your prospects, keeps them engaged, and guides them towards your outcomes.

PERQ’S Role in the Prospect Journey

Delivering omnichannel experiences can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be, As multifamily’s only standalone marketing automation platform, PERQ works to automate and personalize an omnichannel renter’s journey. We unify experiences on the website, Google, SMS, email and phone and leverage automation and personalization to provide great consumer experience at scale,

Specifically, our technology,

  • Equips your existing property website with seamless, interactive website experiences to engage prospects during their initial information gathering
  • Recognizes people across devices, prompts them in multiple ways for the best next step in their journey, and tailors content based on what’s known about them.
  • Answers mundane questions 24/7 using AI across multiple channels, including website, SMS, email, Google and phone calls, so your onsite team isn’t stuck answering frequently asked questions.
  • Nurtures prospects through their preferred channel with personalized content at the right time turning qualified leads into tours.
  • Sends prospects to the onsite team when they are agent-ready, which keeps your CRM from getting cluttered with too much data.

From what we gathered at Optech, astute multifamily marketers looking to stand out and outperform competitors are working quickly to update their technology to change with the shifting prospect journey of today, including the ability to automate and personalize the renter’s journey.

The question is, will you be one of the multifamily marketers ahead of the curve in creating a seamless renter’s journey or will you inevitably be playing catch up?

As multifamily’s only standalone marketing automation platform, PERQ integrates with your existing website and lead sources to engage, nurture and convert leads, improving the multifamily renter’s journey for everyone. Learn how it works or request a demo