I’ve been out in California for the past several days at Kelsey’s Local Interactive Marketplaces conference. The weather has been beautiful and I’ve had a chance to listen to a lot of engaged and interesting people talk about new ways of doing business.
(One of the nicest guys was Craig Donato of Ooodle: he makes sense and can’t repress his smile.)
As we were winding down a lunch that focused on how to make it easier for her team to be more successful, the conversation turned to a challenging dialogue she’d had with a client. The client is looking at spending money with a lead generation company. The program would be billed on a cost per lead basis. The client was going to drop their advertising spend as a result.
Jamie’s counter was simple: How much are you going to pay per lead?
The client said, X.
Jamie: OK. I’ll give you the same deal. Pay me X per lead.
The client’s response was: But your leads aren’t the same!
Jamie: Why not?
The client is considering Jamie’s proposal. Why didn’t she jump at it? I don’t think she was ready for the creativity and the flexibility that Jamie was offering. Clients are thinking about their marketing in neat boxes: I’ve got search, I’ve got lead generation, I’ve got print and internet advertising.
But in the end, the issue comes down to economics: How much am I paying for a lead and how good is the conversion of lead-to-lease from each of my sources?
Jamie was comfortable making the offer because she’s done a lot of work analyzing how many leads she’s generating for her customers. She was willing to bear the risk, and she knows that at the lead-generation-company prices, she is going to make what she charges her customer normally.
The challenge in the multi-family industry isn’t innovation, it isn’t flexibility and it isn’t new sources. It’s having access to good data and applying good marketing discipline to new tactics.