2020 has been a lesson in how to navigate unknown variables. While it seems like this year has taken it to the extreme, it’s important to remember that as marketers — even in non-global pandemic years — we are constantly navigating uncertainty. We’ve learned that all we can do is the next right thing, and if not that, do the next statistically probable action-based on our multi-touch attribution model. Kidding! 

Did you know G5 hosted our first virtual conference, Futr Forum 2020? We connected with our clients, learned from data gurus, industry experts, and our partners — all while never leaving home. Experts broke down industry myths, looked toward industry bright spots, and demystified some marketing buzzwords. The best news? Maybe you missed it — but you don’t need to miss out. We’re here to share our top five Futr Forum takeaways:

1. Data Powers Decision Making

Let’s consider some data. On any given day, at G5, our databases grow by over a million rows every day. That gets broken down into approximately 900,000 new web session events, 20,500 onsite interactions, and about 68,000 calls, emails, and forms. Daily, this results in 105 million customer journeys that are created by matching unique identifiers to incorporate all of this information. That is a lot of data, and with the correct attribution models, it’s powerful. Above all when data is used correctly, it can prioritize advertising spend to interactions with a high propensity to convert.

Customer journeys are not straight forward. The average customer journey in our industries — from first interaction to lease — is: 21.9 days for multifamily, 12.4 days for self storage, and 16.7 days for senior living. Think of how many different websites, google searches, and social media scrolls you do on a daily basis — your customers aren’t any different. Unpacking their online journeys requires advanced machine learning, and an attribution model that reflects their most valuable digital touchpoints. In order to fully understand customer journeys and campaign optimization, we must have continuous data. This means abruptly stopping your digital advertising spend impacts your marketing efforts long-term. Data gaps can compromise the accuracy of your attribution model, its ability to unpack the customer’s journey, and appropriately allocate ad spend to high-conversion digital touchpoints. 

2. Technology Adoption is a One Way Street

COVID turned some of our five-year tech plans into five-week tech needs. In our industries, online leasing and virtual tours rose to the forefront of tech needs. While these aren’t unheard of concepts, they can be easy technology solutions to drag our feet about adopting, until we need them. We are here to say: there is no time like the present, and consumers expect this more than ever.

Consumers have been conditioned to expect immediate answers to their questions. Perhaps this seems anecdotal, but this stat is too good not to share. In our partner session with CJ Edmonds from SmartRent, we learned that over a two month period — from August 2 to October 2 — 71 organizations, with 1,582 properties, have signed up for self-guided tours. They’ve had 127,637 completed self-guided tours, of which, 32% of prospective renters are selecting “tour now” as their tour option of choice. While this instantaneous-minded consumer looks different in all industries, we must continue to meet them where they are and implement best-in-class technology solutions to do so. For senior living this could look like a virtual sales assistant, for self storage this could look like online leasing. Being an early adopter of technology solutions relevant to your industry will set you apart from the competition. 

3. Better Together With Best-In-Class Partners 

In almost every single partner insight session — multifamily, self storage, and senior living — we heard about the power of partnership as we navigate an upside-down world for our customers. When we lean on one another, and work with one another to develop the best possible solutions for our clients (and future clients) — we deliver products that are truly better together. When best-in-class partners work well together they eliminate data and tech silos, which are known to decrease efficiency, decrease accuracy, and increase error. Best-in-class partners operate as an extension of your team and support your business needs. To learn more about selecting best-in-class partners and how to maximize your tech stack, check our latest eBook. 

4. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

We heard from Peter Loge, author of Soccer Thinking for Management Success: Lessons for Organizations from the World’s Game. Sometimes to see opportunities within our industry–we need to look for outside inspiration, in this case, soccer as a metaphor for business. If you are wondering how your twelve-year-old’s weekend sport relates to your career, we’re glad to share what we learned. Soccer is systems thinking, and so is business. When you watch a soccer game from a bird’s eye view everyone is playing their part: they have their heads up, they’re staying in their lane, and they trust their teammates to perform their roles flawlessly. Everyone is working together to achieve a common goal, pun intended. For business success you need many of the same elements: 

  • Trust between teammates, keeping your head up to know what’s coming next, and alignment around common goals. This big picture view is essential to ensure your day-to-day gets you closer. 
  • Know when to rest, and when to run. If your team is constantly sprinting to meet the next deadline, burnout is only a matter of time. Build-in time to rest, regroup, and celebrate accomplishments. 
  • Clear, consistent feedback — often. Annual reviews aren’t enough. Athletes get feedback daily at practice. Feedback is generally welcome, because there is an expectation that by practicing we get better. Think of the word “practice,” how can you apply this growth mindset to your day-to-day. 
  • Always bring it back to the goal, remember being busy is not the goal. I’m sure we can all think of situations where this is true: people love to tell you how much they have on their plate, and sometimes it’s just a bunch of stuff disguised as progress. By having measurable goals, we can make sure we’re putting our energy where it matters, and moving those metrics forward.

5. Be Human

We are learning that you don’t need to be in person, for there to be a personal touch. Many of us have been working from home for the past few months. As a result, we are more aware of our coworkers’ day-to-day home lives than we were pre-quarantine. Kiddos come into Zoom meetings with emergencies — like opening a bag of pretzels, or tough-to-solve math homework problems — and parents juggle both work and school from home. Our dogs won’t know what to do when, and if, we go back to the office. We hear them in the background of Zoom calls, their collars jingling, or barking at the mailman. King kitty thinks your keyboard is their new, “If I fits I sits” throne. All of this is to say — we’re human, and have full lives both at work and at home. Your clients are juggling many of the same realities you’re experiencing. Above all, a little empathy and compassion go a long way. So turn your video on for one-on-one or small group calls, it’s a simple reminder that on the other side of the internet there’s another human. 

The Future is Bright

We learned so much this week from our partners, our in-house brainiacs, and from your thoughtful questions. The party doesn’t stop here, check out sessions on our virtual platform, and get your learn on!