Some of you may remember when compact disc technology hit the market a number of years ago. Everyone was excited—so I was surprised when my dad told me he had no interest in transitioning to CDs. He had already invested time and money in compiling a vast collection of favorites on audio cassettes for home listening as well as on his Sony Walkman. More recently my parents were gifted a digital picture frame and the reaction was the same: we already have a great way to display our pictures—why would we want to switch? Fast forward a couple more years, to the day I showed my father my new iPhone… of course I thought he would be unimpressed. To my surprise, he not only thought it was “neat,” he went out and bought one for himself.
My father joins the growing number of mobile phone users who have transitioned to smartphones for a variety of reasons. This surge among all segments of the population has paved the way for new marketing opportunities. MHN’s April Marketing feature spotlights one of the newest and most intriguing forms of mobile marketing. According to the CMO of 44Doors Tim Hayden, “everyone in the apartment industry will be grappling with geomarketing within the next 18 months.” Geomarketing, which refers to marketing based on the location of the target customer, allows marketers to reach out to consumers on the go, taking advantage of the fact that their smartphones are with them 24/7 and can track their location wherever they go. Wouldn’t you love to send your target audience a text message or email when they come within one mile of your multifamily properties, inviting them to come in for a tour of the community? Or, how about having your apartment residents (in return for an incentive) virtually “check into” your properties to let their friends know they’re there. Your residents are essentially saying “these locations are good because I’m checking in,” and their endorsements will be top of mind when their friends/your prospects are shopping for an apartment. Geomarketing is a bigger game changer than either the Internet or social media, and it will change the rules of how businesses reach us. One thing that won’t change is the fact that some smartphone users—including my dad—won’t like being inundated by unsolicited marketing messages. So don’t forget to include the “opt in” option.