What B2C marketing can teach us about the renter's journey

By Chris Arnold
Ebbets Field Flannels Spring 2016 17

A Multifamily Lesson from B2C

After moving to Colorado Springs after a decade and a half in Denver, I wanted to find a unique way to “rep” my new city.

But not in the typical tourist t-shirt kind of way, but with something cool. 😎

Think Tony Sousa cool.

I scoured the Internet for weeks and never landed on anything interesting enough to warrant a purchase.

“Guess my old Subaru would have to do for now…”

One day, I was thinking about a company I love called Ebbets Field Flannels. They’ve got a great selection of USA-made vintage sports memorabilia (hats, jerseys, jackets) that sets off a certain vibe.

The quality is excellent, and I’ve enjoyed my previous interactions with them: great customer service, moderately fast shipping, and high-quality products.

“That’s it!”

So, knowing what I wanted, I visited the website and searched for “Colorado.” I scanned the results, knowing I could filter further.

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A few items popped up, and a handful of hats stood out.

Quickly thereafter, I locked my eyes on one hat in particular. I had to have it. But unfortunately, the stars didn’t align: sold out.

The only option was staring me in the face: Enter your email to be notified when this item is available.

So I did just that… and then forgot about it for months.

The Nurture

What happened next instantly made me think about property marketing. Portfolio-level marketing, too.

A full six months later, this email landed in my inbox:

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So simple and yet so effective.

They had me.

You asked us to tell you when Colorado Springs Sky Sox 1953 Vintage Ballcap ADJ would be available to purchase.

We are pleased to tell you it is now available.

Click below to place your order.

What came below this message?

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Whether or not I would buy the exact hat, I was immediately back in their ecosystem.

Do I still want that hat?

Maybe I want something else?

As you might imagine, I clicked Buy, confirmed the product, and immediately bought it.

I couldn’t risk it going out of stock again. I finally had my Colorado Springs hat.

Amongst this nurture, there is a big piece to point out.

It’s a rule that most brands fail at completely. And that was, I didn’t get emails every few days.

I received a straightforward email a full half-year later, ensuring that I was made aware that what I was interested in was now available.

Had I been hammered with sales emails soon after my signup, I would have been off the list very quickly.

Important to note.

The Renter Journey

Think about this experience and any related B2C experience you may have had this year, and put it up against our industry.

Where are we making things too complicated?

Where can we plant the seed of desire and build brand loyalty?

In a sea of widgets, apps, APIs, and more, I think back to this example often.

  • I want this hat.
  • I can’t have it, but I can choose to be notified when it’s back.
  • I can be nurtured back to the company.
  • I am given options.
  • I have a clear path to buy.
  • I have another successful brand experience.
  • I received what I paid for, and the customer service was top-tier.
  • I want to talk about this brand to everyone.
  • I am now writing an article mentioning them.

That’s it.

We need to strive for that and do it very well each time.

Yes, I’m oversimplifying things.

But hopefully, it gets to a point: sometimes multifamily is too caught up in the “stuff” when all we need at the core is to nurture the renter and encourage decisive action.

Sometimes, everything else gets in the way.

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