We are craving a dependable North Star to shoot for after last year. Unfortunately, we didn’t learn how to read tea leaves during the ongoing quarantine, so we don’t know quite what the future holds. Fortunately, we are here to share the biggest marketing trend in 2021: being human. 

The Human Element of Marketing

As consumers, we navigated a slew of uncertain scenarios in 2020, and we began to expect a little more from brands than we had in the past. We asked brands and companies to look inside their company culture and examine if they were living up to their own values. We needed them to be empathetic to the insecurity we felt as our world, and lives, as we knew them transformed in a matter of days. Your renters are no different. 

So far, this pandemic has lasted for almost a year, and because of its length, some of these shifts in renter behaviors and expectations will stick around, and continue to be important even in a post-pandemic world. 

At the end of the day, as marketers we are humans, communicating with other humans. While we love data-driven marketing, we need to be mindful that the number on our screen or on our dashboard, is a person with needs. Your renters are looking for properties they can trust to meet their needs, to provide a safe home to eat meals, work, learn, and sleep. And, if we treat renters like people, with respect for their needs and empathy for their current situations, we can make the world just a little bit kinder through our individual interactions. Perhaps this sounds a little too altruistic, but let’s dive into what we’re talking about, and how to make your marketing more empathetic, and human. 

What Do We Mean by “Be Human”?

Put yourself in your renters’ shoes for a minute. In 2020 alone they’ve faced dual health and economic crises, more frequent and more destructive natural disasters, a politically divisive election season, unrest of a civil rights awakening, not to mention the ripple effects on their individual lives and the lives of their loved ones. Oof. That’s a lot to take on. We’ve learned how adaptable and resilient we are collectively, that’s for sure. Moreover, our empathy muscles got a little stronger. 

Sometimes, we break down the apartment renting process into a very simple, three-step process. Step one: you research. Step two: you visit. Step three: you rent. But in reality, finding an apartment and moving is a stressful experience — on top of everything else folks are currently navigating. Now is the time to be human, and turn our empathy dials up to create genuine, authentic customer service experiences for renters.  

What does that mean in Multifamily Marketing?

Empathetic marketing can sound touchy-feely, and perhaps even vague. So for the skeptics and believers alike, let’s break down how to make it actionable. Empathetic marketing means feeling with your renters, and creating solutions or sharing content to address their pain points, answer their questions, and create a frictionless experience.

Last March, properties intuitively took actions like this. In multifamily housing, when renters were worried about the virus, their health, safety, and how to juggle all of their usual demands while never leaving their apartment, you communicated property-wide safety measures. That’s an example of action-backed empathetic communication that builds trust with renters. 

Human-centric multifamily housing marketing could look like creating an intuitive and frictionless website experience that answers renters’ most important questions with ease. Or, as your renters spent more time at home, you shared YouTube videos on meditation, workouts, or math for virtual learners. You were able to provide helpful information to your renters. And as you know, happy customers provide recommendations and reviews virtually and to their friends and family. For multifamily properties, this network of goodwill within your neighborhood or community is an often undervalued form of “free” marketing. In fact, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over other types of advertising. According to Chatmeter, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 

Five Ways to Humanize Multifamily Marketing 

1. Help > Sell

Focus on delivering content and helpful information that empowers renters to make the best decision for them. Easily accessible floor plan pricing and availability allows renters to self-qualify. By making sure your messaging is helpful, you continue to build trust. 

2. Research, Research, Research

Best in class MarTech providers know your customers’ journeys and can prove it with data. Work with your MarTech provider to understand how your customers’ motivations, needs, and subsequently the buyers’ journey may have changed over the past year. Examine any metrics you have to understand their needs and then think of ways you’re able to answer questions and help. 

3. How Can You Make Their Life Easier?

Thoughtful gestures that make renters’ lives simpler or more joyful go a long way. Ask yourself, how can you continue to help your renters after they’ve moved in? Perhaps it’s adding a little levity to their days through social media or sharing activities between the property such as a board game or puzzle library. 

4. Remember “Clear is Kind”

If something is changing at your property, clearly communicate it. Your renters aren’t mind readers, and they need to understand how changes will impact their lives. Communicating in a clear, thoughtful manner ensures everyone feels included and up-to-date about ongoing changes. 

5. Listen + Adapt

We know how important reviews are in building and retaining customer trust. Respond to every online review — good, bad, or rating only. In addition to responding, listen to what your customers are saying, and adapt in order to better meet their needs. 

Get Ready to Empower the People Side of Marketing

Are you ready to take your marketing to the next level this year? Over the coming months, we’ll share chapters from our new G5 MarTech Series. We’ll show you how to bridge the seemingly disparate gap between intuitive, frictionless customer experiences and cutting-edge MarTech. Here’s what you can expect in the coming months. 

February: Be Authentic: The Online Experience

March: Be Agile: Digital Trends

April: Be Savvy: Technology

May: Be Grounded: Data + CDP

June: Be Creative: Brand + User Experience

You can start now by outlining the goals you’d like to achieve in 2021 with our Goal and Intention Setting Journal