May 20, 2024

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Secrets to a Multifamily Marketing Campaign that is Award-Winning

5 min read

Avery Lewis, of Cardinal Group Management, shares her expert advice.

Cardinal Group Management won Gold at MHN’s Excellence Awards 2022 in the category Best marketing campaign. The campaign was aimed towards its student housing segment, “Home is Where the Beat Falls.” Cardinal played on the youthful generation’s “lust for life” by offering its residents the opportunity to win a 4-ticket, all-inclusive, festival package for an event of their choice. This concept was a big hit, especially in light of the strict social measures that were implemented during the peak of the pandemic. The only rule was to be a Cardinal by signing a rental agreement or renewing your lease.

What was the goal of this campaign for Cardinal Group’s student housing portfolio, which was still recovering from pandemic at the time of conception? Analytics showed that the leasing rate increased by 7 percent per year, while concessions decreased by 60 percent. Even better than the almost 1 million impressions, the campaign has a shelf life of many years, and users are still creating content.

Avery Lewis, marketing manager at Cardinal, talked to Multi-Housing News about their award-winning campaign and the company’s overall marketing strategy.

What are your responsibilities at Cardinal Group? What inspires your creativity and imagination?

As a manager of marketing services, I am responsible for our marketing campaigns, platforms, and vendor relations. CGM Marketing also works closely together with AgencyFIFTY3, which is our own internal marketing agency. We constantly share ideas and stimulate innovation.

We hold regular brainstorming sessions with our teams. Fun thoughts can lead to actionable ideas and concepts. Our onsite team is also a great resource for new ideas, as they are the ones who work with our target audience.

What are the main elements of Cardinal Group’s marketing strategy ?

Cardinal Group always rewards the best ideas. Our teams are encouraged to be innovative and creative, but most importantly to have fun.

Our proprietary business intelligence platform allows us to analyze data from multiple sources and identify what works or does not work in our communities. We then decide which marketing channels to increase our investment in to achieve the desired results at each asset. We encourage our teams to be creative and use all of our platforms in an innovative and exciting manner.

What is the secret to a successful marketing campaign?

Our campaigns have been successful because of the engagement and buy-in from our staff. Our onsite teams’ enthusiasm for the themes is translated to prospects via organic social content, resident events, messaging and more. They are constantly pushing new, fun concepts which continue to resonate across our resident base.

Zoom in on this award-winning campaign, “Home Is Where The Beat Drops”. What was the inspiration behind this marketing campaign?

We all know that COVID periods pushed everyone to spend more digital time. These periods of isolation had a negative impact on mental wellbeing. As we brainstormed for this year’s campaign we considered the routine things Gen Z did in order to combat this. For example, listening to music or scrolling through TikTok. Our residents were unable to attend exciting music festivals, so they spent hours on TikTok listening to viral sounds, and watching other people dance. In 2022, we hoped to give a lucky resident along with three friends a trip to a music fest of their choosing.

How much time, money, people and technology has Cardinal Group invested into this campaign?

Campaigns that are run for a short period of time during the leasing cycle may take two years or more to complete. They can involve hundreds of people, including those from accounting, legal, and operations.

CGM Marketing and AgencyFIFTY3 joined forces with Benson, an innovative marketing solution provider, almost two years ago to elevate our campaigns. We had a dedicated “store” for campaigns where we could order branded materials, edit eblasts, flyers, and more.

What impact did the campaign have on Cardinal Group Student Housing? What are the results of your analytics?

We place great importance on tracking the impact of our campaigns. We look at the same statistics every year, like renewal percentages and leasing velocities, but this campaign was different because it had a strong social media presence.

We saw an increase of 7 percent in the portfolio’s prelease year-over-year through the “Home Is Where The Beat Falls” campaign. The total concession spending decreased by 60 per cent. The shared incentive/concession helped to reduce this community’s cost.

We saw 892,472 total impressions and 78,890 unique clicks on the campaign ads. The clickthrough rate was a very impressive 7.5 percent.

Are you planning to repeat the campaign?

Every year, we create campaigns that we think will resonate with our target audience and best capture their attention. We will use the successful strategies we learned from “Home is Where the Beat Drops”, even though the concept will not be repeated.

Tell us about the “Open Door” project.

Cardinal Group Management is passionate about “The Open Door Project”, where we reconnect our residents to their communities by donating money to them when they sign a contract to live in one of our communities. Then, we partner with non-profit organizations to identify people who have overcome obstacles and deserve their “doors opened.”

How much money can you invest in marketing when budgets are limited? What are the solutions for small companies who cannot afford to invest much in paid marketing?

Cardinal prides itself on being able to do more with less and include all of our communities in our initiatives despite the smaller budgets. We can share design and production costs with more than 115 local communities, instead of just one. This not only saves money, but also creates consistency and inspires creativity through the sharing of ideas across the country.

What marketing will Cardinal Group be doing in 2023?

This year, our team has a ton of exciting projects planned! In our marketing strategy, we continue to place a high priority on technology and innovation. We will be onboarding new platforms and products to automate processes, so that our teams can focus on delivering the best resident experience.

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