MHN Executive Council: Tips for Creating a Balanced Marketing Strategy & Budget

Our experts discuss how to make successful marketing plans for the coming year.

With 2023 approaching, now is the time to make sure your marketing budget is in order and you have a successful plan for the coming year. The MHN Executive Council offers their top tips for creating a balanced marketing strategy and budget.

Jamie Cruz

Flex Space

With the daily changes in technology advancement, marketing plans need more flexibility now than ever before. Our industry and sub-markets are rapidly evolving, and it is important that we not only keep up, but try to stay ahead. Having consistent analytics reporting is important so you can see the shifts and make necessary changes quickly. —Jamie Cruz, Regional Asset Manager, Beitel Group

Diana Pittro

The Long View

Know your demographic and target market. Look at traffic patterns—see where the prospects are coming from. Identify historically what resources work in that area, as not all work in the same areas. Digital marketing is the best value for the dollar spent, and these include pay-per-clicks, lookalike campaigns or paid social media ads. ILS sites and website are still used, but the quickest and easiest to use are digital PPC.

Also, consider the goals of the owners and the site. Is it a long-term hold or short-term? How much capital is being invested and does it generate more revenue? Are you renovating an entire site and have numerous projects going on that are disruptive to residents and prospects? If so, you need a capital timeline and careful communication to keep the marketing and resident balance with the mess.

Lastly, lease expirations are a year-long process to work toward successfully moving the lease expirations to a balanced number at specific months for leasing teams. For every unit turning over, you need three-four prospects coming in the door. So, lease expirations and turnover plans relate to marketing plans. With rent increases, try to balance those to be slow and steady and consistent with all the other issues happening. Sometimes, we push too hard in the good months, and get surprised in Q3 when market slows down. Talk to your residents, plan events, do one-on-one meetings, as current residents are your best resource for referrals and renewals and, of course, reviews. —Diana Pittro, Executive Vice President, RMK Management Corp.

Susan McPeak

Individual Approach

To me marketing strategy is always tied to two critical questions: Who is my audience, and what do they want? No one marketing strategy works in all markets, for all sizes and types of communities. The allocation of funds should follow the target demographic.

At The REMM Group we use a balanced marketing strategy and budget creation follows an in-depth study of the market comps, renewal exposure, market rent increase schedule and market demographics. We also use CRM to track lead attribution.

Because The REMM Group is a third-party management firm that works with a variety of multifamily owners, the goals vary for each asset. It is essential that we have an accurate understanding of the community’s short and long financial plan and must execute accordingly. This does not always provide an “optimal budget,” which is why it’s critical we use strategic targeting. We don’t often have the budget for a shotgun approach. —Susan McPeak, Creative Director, The Dales Group

Mary Cook

Accommodate, Anticipate & Align

A balanced marketing strategy needs to be driven by two priorities. First and foremost, it must not only accommodate client needs, it must anticipate what’s around the corner for them. Understanding their business goals and objectives always serves as a foolproof barometer for where your marketing investment dollars should go.

Secondly, the marketing strategy must align closely with the overall operational budget including room for growth and agility. We utilize an EOS—Entrepreneurial Operating System as a practical roadmap that functions on accountability and engagement across the organization. With the help of a facilitator, we manage processes, projects, profitability, productivity and forecasting so that we can continually refresh our sales and marketing strategy for optimal results. —Mary Cook, President, Mary Cook Associates

Yolanda Cole


We are big supporters of marketing and business development working hand in hand to research market trends, identify clients and projects that align with our strategic goals, and reinforce these goals through communications and social media both internally and externally. We then complete the loop by gathering feedback from staff and clients to continually adjust and improve. Our BD and Marketing Directors facilitate our yearly strategic planning and are intimately involved in helping us develop and implement strategies to grow and sustain our business. They are rock stars! —Yolanda Cole, Co-Senior Principal, Hickok Cole

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