Mike Dow, Lynn Klug, Dwight Dunton and Heidi Pearce map out the modern multifamily marketer career path at AIM 2013.

Mike Dow, Lynn Klug, Dwight Dunton and Heidi Pearce map out the modern multifamily marketer career path at AIM 2013.

Given the will, is there a way for multifamily marketers to eventually call the CEO’s office home? While no longer a snarky “yeah right,” the answer continues to evolve at most apartment firms across the country, said a panel of industry veterans during the Career Aspirations of the Digital Marketer panel at AIM 2013: The Art of Creativity.

“Our business begins with concerns on cost and investment,” said Bonaventure president and founder Dwight Dutton, who characterized the genesis of most apartment firms as mostly deal and investor based. “At the same time, our competitors are all figuring how to steal our customers, and that all has to be done with brand and marketing, and the ‘money’ people are beginning to try to start to distinguish themselves in that way.

Likewise, technology departments are becoming increasingly symbiotic with marketing, said Heidi Pearce, who began in IT at MEB management and now heads marketing and technology. “We have just made a shift to focus on social media and other places where technology and marketing is merging together,” Pearce said. “We’re letting our company to come together across the different disciplines of website, social media, and leasing desk.”

In a career that spans executive marketing director appointments at Irvine Apartment Communities and now at Greystar, Lynn Klug has embraced a mantra of site and staff training as a way to empower the teams around her for both group and individual success. “You can do an amazing job on marketing and bring a ton of people to your communities, but unless you invest in your on-site talent it can be all for naught, so I took training on to help develop the people around me and remain willing to take on additional responsibility.” According to the panel, top tips for multifamily career advancement include:

  • Accepting a lower salary to get where you want to go. As companies become larger, more bureaucratic, or stratified, upward mobility can sometimes become limited.
  • Making friends with the IT departments intrinsic to the success of great digital marketing and the conversions that prove out campaigns.
  • Give love to the people at the site level. They don’t receive enough feedback from the corporate leaders and have the toughest job in the company.

And despite advances in technology and the increased importance of marketing to multifamily success, great careers are still born on the back of the real estate itself. “You should understand why owners do what they do, what cap rates are and how capital stacks are achieved,” said moderator and Riverstone Residential Group chief client services officer Mike Dow. “I’ve likewise gone from crunching deal numbers on an Excel spreadsheet to having all of my decisions revolve around how we are going to strategically market ourselves to our clients.”

Session Twitter Feed:

@JoniAtSequoia Yes! “@BSitko: Tear down the office silos! A collaborative environment always wins, #aimconf”

‏@merricktowle “In the org. you have to have someone who can bridge the technospeak. If you find those people, do what you can to empower them.” #AIMConf

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