Decron Properties has a long history in real estate, with the company’s inception dating back to the 1950s. From developing single-family homes, the company evolved and made the transition to multiple asset classes— including multifamily—while maintaining a strong focus on value creation.
Decron is not only involved in the ground-up development process but also specializes in repositioning assets, as well as acquisition and management. And an integrated marketing approach is what ties together the various cross-functional teams, Jerry Perezchica, director of marketing at Decron, told Multi-Housing News.
In the interview below, Perezchica discusses the importance of implementing well-considered marketing methods into the organization’s workflow and shares key principles and strategies for navigating specific challenges.
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When it comes to successful marketing strategies, what works in multifamily nowadays?
Perezchica: An integrated marketing approach that works cohesively with the various cross-functional teams—operations, pricing, IT, training, construction etc. Some of the questions we are asking daily are, “How can marketing assist with driving traffic, improving branding, and facilitating prospect and customer engagement?” On a more tactical level, the property website is where a big part of the focus is.
As director of marketing, what was the most important decision you had to make since the onset of the pandemic?
Perezchica: To focus on our internal customers—operations, training, sales—and the prospect/resident experience. Things were moving rapidly and changing on a continual basis, and as an organization, we worked to minimize new systems/programs that were short term in nature because of COVID-19.
The focus was on helping our teams and looking at areas that would have the biggest long-term impact—two examples were implementing a new CRM product to better interact with our customers, along with optimizing and improving our digital presence. There were many services and webinars being offered in the past year—saying “no” and passing on most of these helped keep focus.
Decron Properties mostly develops and manages luxury communities, an asset class that has been greatly impacted by the coronavirus-induced fallout. You quickly adapted your marketing strategy when the pandemic hit, but is there any way marketing specialists can “plan for trouble”?
Perezchica: Building out the systems of analytics, reporting and feedback will allow you to be ready for when trouble occurs. Being in tune with your operations team and market to scale your marketing mix as needed is key. Working with your internal marketing team or industry partners, you will then be able to quickly adapt to market-condition changes.
Tell us about the importance of digital marketing methods. How do you track digital marketing initiatives across your portfolio?
Perezchica: Every system used has a dashboard that includes high-level results. The key is translating this data to be actionable information. This includes spot-checking for trends, gaps, system failures.
Depending on the digital method used, it’s important to build in analytics time to review at a cadence that works for the medium. Some may require a weekly review, while other areas can be done on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Having your industry partners embrace this and making it part of the workflow and standard operating procedure is also key. In addition, having systems in place where internal team members can provide feedback is important.
What marketing activities deliver the best ROI?
Perezchica: Focusing activities on your company website offers the best ROI. This is the central hub for prospects, residents, job candidates, investors and all of your shareholders. Investing time and resources to ensure all systems that integrate with the website are optimized should be a high-level priority. Your prospect CRM, career and job postings, reviews integration, tours, videos and resident portal are some examples where seamless integration helps improve ROI.
What is your take on the idea of tailoring marketing strategies to appeal to specific generations?
Perezchica: Understanding the demographic groups is interesting, but don’t spend too much time focusing on how to customize per group. More so, it is important to provide different ways to interact based on where the customer is—be it digital, in person, by phone or a hybrid of all three. Where the demographics play a bigger role in understanding who your customer is in the different submarkets or unit types.
What’s the best way to handle reviews on social media?
Perezchica: Use the reviews—both positive and negative—as customer insights. Look for trends for areas of improvement and opportunities to thank your teams. Respond with empathy and be thankful for the feedback.
Considering the multifamily marketing trends you’re seeing in the wake of COVID-19, what’s here to stay and what’s temporary?
Perezchica: Things did not necessarily change but accelerated areas of focus. Self-guided tours, smart tech and an increased focus on digital media presence are here to stay. Amenity scheduling tools will be less of a focus.