Choosing an Agency Partner for Multifamily Marketing

By Chris Arnold
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In the fast-paced world of multifamily marketing, selecting the right creative agency partner can make all the difference.

From crafting compelling campaigns to reaching target audiences effectively, the process of onboarding a creative agency is a critical step toward successful outcomes.

Below, I explore a handful of key considerations when vetting a creative agency's approach. Think of it as a stakeholder's guide for facilitating and successfully onboarding an agency partner.

What should you look out for?

What should you be prepared to share?

Let's dive in!

Early Engagement and Alignment

One of the fundamental principles of a successful partnership with a creative agency is the idea of early participation.

Bringing an agency on board at the project's outset enables them to contribute valuable insights and expertise from the earliest planning stages – especially if they have extensive multifamily experience.

A proactive approach allows for a seamless transition into early naming, branding, and pre-leasing efforts. It also affords more time to build an overall project timeline and go-to-market strategy.

An early start maximizes the impact of marketing efforts and allows both teams to align as quickly as possible.

Look for a group that seeks this early onboarding approach and understands why it's so important.

Upfront Information Sharing

Practical discoveries are the cornerstone of any successful collaboration. As the client, be prepared to provide comprehensive information about your project to an agency partner.

Come to the discussion with details such as:

  • location
  • unit count
  • project size
  • project type
  • target audiences
  • budget constraints
  • construction timelines
  • estimated CO timelines

If the agency doesn't seek this data set, be wary of their experience. Diving into the details of the project is crucial for a creative partner to get its arms around the assignment and to tailor a go-to-market strategy that aligns with the realities you're working with.

Without specifics, the game plan will end up being too high-level.

Look for a team that requests this information from the earliest conversations.

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Strategy First, Design Second

A strategic, goal-oriented approach is essential for developing effective multifamily marketing campaigns.

Beyond aesthetics, a great agency partner should understand the multifamily space and be able to distill the project's foundational facts, objectives, and target audiences into meaningful strategic steps.

By aligning a creative vision with your business goals (lease-up, occupancy, ROI, etc.), a great agency fit should be able to craft a compelling campaign.

The strategy should directly speak to driving engagement, nurturing an audience, generating leads, and ultimately driving up the return on your marketing investment.

Look for a team that speaks to the business side of your joint creative endeavor.

Multifamily Track Record

To hammer this point home, when vetting potential creative agency partners, you should prioritize agencies with expertise in multifamily marketing.

A track record of successful campaigns and specialized knowledge of the real estate industry are valuable assets.

Beyond the obvious reasons why this would be important to you and your team, a partner with experience can advise on any unique circumstances, challenges, or obstacles during the project's lease-up phases.

Does every single project require a specialized team?

Certainly not, but if the project is Class A or Luxury, within a competitive landscape, and requires multiple layers of the marketing stack, seek experience.

When in doubt, look for agencies that deeply understand the unique challenges and opportunities within the multifamily housing landscape.

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Remain Collaborative

Effective collaboration is essential for fostering a successful partnership between you and the agency.

As the client, you should be open to the agency's recommendations and expertise while providing your own input based on project goals and a greater vision.

By embracing a collaborative approach and leaning in when something doesn't go quite right (which always happens!), clients and agencies can leverage each other's strengths to develop innovative, impactful marketing campaigns.

The best adjustments to marketing campaigns often come from unexpected twists and turns along the way.

Look for an agency partner that sticks to a process but is willing to veer off the paved road occasionally when a project calls for it.

Unlock Marketing Success

Selecting the right creative agency is, undoubtedly, a big decision. No single agency partner is best suited for all developers, owners, and operator groups, either.

As you communicate with a new agency in the future, keep these buckets in mind as you navigate your conversations.

And good luck! A great client/agency partnership cannot be understated.

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