What Pop Culture Taught Us about Marketing in 2014

Pop culture rarely teaches us anything, especially not about business. But because 2014 was a pretty eventful year, we actually took away some valuable marketing lessons from a few celebs.

Make Yourself a Topic of Conversation


Ellen's Oscars selfie
Photo courtesy of ABC News.
At the 2014 Oscars, Ellen DeGeneres took one of the most star-studded selfies of all time, and it crashed Twitter by being the most retweeted photo of all time (over 3 million retweets to date). It’s one of the most epic selfies the Internet has ever seen and it is the epitome of buzz marketing.

To get people talking about your brand, you have to do something that’s going to grab lots of attention (in a good way). Try surprising customers every now and then by going above and beyond with your customer service. You’ll strengthen customer loyalty while also increasing your brand awareness.

Always Know Your Stuff


John Travolta learned the hard way that if you mispronounce something, it’s going to haunt you for the rest of your life. When he accidentally pronounced Idina Menzel’s name as “Adele Dazeem,” he instantly opened himself to a barrage of criticism. You’d think he would be told beforehand who he was introducing, which meant he should have known how to say her name.

If you’re going to talk about a topic (or person) you don’t know very well, experts will recognize blunders and may call you out on them. Be sure to do heavy research on a topic and become proficient before you relay information about it. It will give your consumers a sense of security knowing your brand is competent and will, in turn, enhance the perception of your brand.

Form a Partnership


How cute is this picture of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen (Charles Xavier and Magneto)? Everyone loves seeing two big names do BFF things in real life (especially if they’re on-screen mutant enemies).

A partnership always garners attention. When you pair your brand with another well-liked brand, you promote each other to different but similar consumers and broaden your target audience. Expanding your reach will help grow your consumer base and therefore provide more revenue.

What else happened in 2014 that taught you a lesson about marketing? Let us know in the comments!

[INFOGRAPHIC] 5 Mistakes Your Contact Center Is Making Today

5 Mistakes Your Contact Center Is Making Today
Source: Compare Business Products
Are your customers going insane over your contact center practices?

We don’t mean insane as in they love it. We mean insane as in they want to pull their hair out when they can’t figure out your phone menu options. As in they have to talk to sales agents like the Comcast guy who wouldn’t take no for an answer. As in they have to explain their situation every time they call because your call records aren’t kept up to date.

In a recent infographic, Compare Business Products points out several mistakes contact centers make. Are you guilty of any of them? To find out, download the infographic at the Compare Business Products website.

How Marketing Is Like Yoga

Marketing and yoga are both art forms that you can only improve with practice. You can’t exactly achieve perfection in either, but the more experience you gain, the closer you’ll get.

Near perfection doesn’t come instantly, though. In both marketing and yoga, you have to be patient, persistent and determined to reach the advanced levels. Here are a few other qualities you’ll need to be successful in these professions.

You need to build up your strength.


Eka Hasta Bhujasana
Photo by Samantha Karam
Sure, you might be able to bend your arms and put your legs in the right yoga position, but can you lift your body weight off the ground? It’s harder than it looks, so you have to be patient enough to build up the strength before you can do Eka Hasta Bhujasana (pictured left).

In marketing, you don't instantly start out as the strongest brand. Most brands have to work to build up brand recognition to gain strength over time. But you have to be willing to consistently work hard to strengthen your brand by delivering a steady brand message. Only then will you reach the level of Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc.

You have to find your balance.

Parsva Bakasana
Photo by Samantha Karam

When the majority of your body weight is unevenly distributed in Parsva Bakasana (pictured right), it’s tough to find your balance. But with a few tweaks here and there, you can figure out where to use more strength and find balance in the pose.

When you’re creating a new marketing campaign with a kick of humor, spice or anything different, you have to know how to balance it out with normalcy. If a campaign is too wacky, it’ll end up unsuccessful, like these flopped campaigns.

Eka Pada Koundinyasana
Photo by Samantha Karam

You’ve gotta be flexible.


Have you ever tried doing Eka Pada Koundinyasana (pictured left)? It ain’t easy. If you’re strong, you can probably find the balance to hold up your body weight. But without flexibility, you won’t get those legs straight.

The same is true in your marketing. When new trends come along, you have to be flexible enough to roll with the changes and adjust campaigns to stay current. If you’re not flexible, your campaigns will be stiff, and nobody wants to see a rigid marketing campaign.

So what are you waiting for? Get on your mat and bust out some awesome marketing campaigns!

Are You Missing These Multifamily Marketing Opportunities?

Open door in green field“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

We love this quote by 20th century actor Milton Berle — especially as it applies to marketing for multifamily properties. Although Milton probably wasn’t thinking about apartment complexes when he made this statement, it fits perfectly.

In the multifamily world, it’s tempting to take a set-it-and-forget-it approach to marketing. Just buy a few ads, let them do their thing and wait for prospective renters to come your way — after all, everyone needs a place to live.

Unfortunately, if you’re not proactive in your marketing efforts, you could be missing out on some valuable opportunities for your properties. We’ve listed a few examples below.

Leveraging Green Features


Is your property feeling a little green? If so, you’re in luck. Whether you’ve opted for a green certification or not, a study by Strata Research [PDF] indicates that 77 percent of renters value eco-friendly apartments.

If you’re not prominently featuring your green living spaces in your advertising, do it now! Only 13 percent of Strata’s survey respondents said they were aware of an environmentally friendly apartment complex in their area, so you have a perfect window of opportunity.

Oh, and by the way, Strata's research also shows that 64 percent are willing to pay $100 more per month for an eco-friendly home sweet home. To see just how much additional revenue your eco-centric ads bring in, make sure you track response rates via pay-per-click conversions and web form submissions. You can use dynamic call tracking to make sure online-to-offline conversions don’t fall out of the attribution funnel.

Email Remarketing


A study published earlier this year reported that most properties aren’t taking full advantage of email remarketing opportunities. Of the 20 percent that had any drip campaign at all, the campaigns were either standardized emails that were part of a regular campaign or identical emails that were sent to the recipient repeatedly.

Don’t miss out on these additional opportunities! To increase conversion rates, stay in touch with prospective tenants by sending them personalized, action-oriented retargeted emails. Keep track of how many leads open and respond to your emails, and be sure to include a Click To Talk button in your emails to capture phone responses as well.

Creating a Brand


An apartment complex without a brand is like store-brand toothpaste: It gets the job done, but there’s nothing unique or memorable about it. With the multifamily construction boom starting to drive occupancy rates down, it’s more important than ever to stand out from the crowd.

Melanie Flaherty, vice president of marketing for Carmel Partners, develops branding concepts around specific themes, such as boutique, location, destination, suburban and Gen Y. Once you have an idea of who — yes, who, not what — your property is going to be, you need to flesh out its personality (Cannonball has some great tips for branding success). Then carry that personality into every aspect of your marketing.

When you make a concerted effort at finding and testing new marketing strategies, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities (aka renters) that come knocking at your door. Just be careful you don’t make any of these multifamily marketing mistakes.

What new marketing ideas have you tried lately?