‘On the Ground’ with Eric Brown: When Marketing Becomes Media

How were you spending your marketing budget 10 years ago? Is it really all that different today? It should be.

There was an excellent post this last week titled “When Marketing Becomes Media, Millions Follow.” The article is not only an excellent read, but also a solid case study on why and how social media marketing works.

“Everyone knows that marketing today is different from what it was 10 years ago,” the blog reads. “But to get an idea of how different, ask yourself, ‘What did your company’s marketing budget look like in 2001?’ At Lion Brand Yarn Company, in 2001 we spent most of our consumer marketing dollars on advertising, printing and postage, and I handled most of the marketing myself.

“We are in a niche market. Our business is yarn, a product that is primarily used by people who know how to knit or crochet. So, we focused our advertising in the few magazines that appeal to yarn crafters. We realized early on that if we wanted to reach the millions of people who knit (and there are actually more of them in the United States than people who golf), we would need for them to find us.

“We asked ourselves, ‘What kind of content could we offer that would be interesting, inspiring and entertaining enough to attract the people we were looking for?’”

So as apartment marketers, how were you spending your marketing budget 10 years ago? Is it really all that different today? It should be, but are you headed in the right direction? The gist of the article is that with marketing today, you need to become your own branded media. That is very different than what apartment operators have been doing for years and years. Apartment marketers have mostly relied on someone else to market their units for them, be it print magazines or ILS services.

The blog goes on, Becoming the media, not just using it, has attracted the people who we need to reach by giving them a branded experience of the content that means the most to them. Our marketing department has transformed into a media department. We think and act like publishers, editors, writers, producers and broadcasters rather than like promoters and campaigners.”

It is a different day, and that requires a different approach. The bean counters of our beloved apartment world as well as the operations are ever slowly realizing what worked yesterday isn’t working so well today.

How are you handling the transition? Have you started, or are you clinging to yesterday?

Eric Brown’s background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for Village Green Companies, a Midwest apartment developer. He also established The Urbane Way, a social media marketing and PR laboratory where innovative marketing ideas are tested.