Surprises have different reactions from different people. There are those who LOVE a good surprise present or birthday party; and there are others who loathe the thought of “not knowing.”
Everyone dislikes the “surprise” expenses that can pop up when managing a marketing project. As the marketing manager in the multifamily business, purchasing the essential tools that are needed to expand awareness of your property and increase foot traffic can challenge your budget management skills. Competition between marketing product vendors is fierce, and it’s easy for them to disguise costs and offer prices that seem better than what they are.
Many times, the choices you and your staff make cause you to pay more than you thought you would…without even knowing. How do you know if you’re paying more? And more importantly, how can you regain control of your budget and have confidence that you’re paying exactly what you expect to pay…with no surprises?
Following are some mistaken assumptions that can lead you to pay more than you’re expecting.
“Ordering marketing materials is just a simple phone call”
It starts out sounding quick and easy, but then you’re on hold, you may or may not get the correct person right away, they’d like you to come in and look at all of their “additional options,” and suddenly it’s hours of your time instead of mere minutes. And that’s just in the ordering. When deliveries aren’t tracked, and end up being delayed, more time is wasted handling these issues.
Disruption like this typically takes more time and more money than you may initially realize. A centralized marketing platform (CMP) can eliminate this “time suck” of working directly with vendors, following delivery progress and in turn, keep the management of your materials and prices in line with expectations. The “one-stop shop” nature of a CMP makes the procurement and production effortless. More importantly, a single point for ordering speeds up the time it takes from start to implementation for all marketing projects, freeing up staff time to focus on increasing foot traffic and building relationships with current and potential residents.
Time is money. When additional time is spent on coordinating options and managing deliveries, you and your staff spend less time (and more money) bringing potential residents onto your properties.
“Our brand standards are clear, so materials from different vendors should look the same.”
You’ve got the graphic standards manual, and quite frankly, your branding standards are pretty straightforward. Ordering logo’d pens from one vendor should present the same brand quality as the water bottles ordered from another, correct?
Unfortunately, no. Different businesses have different types of equipment which creates a variance in look, feel and overall quality of your products. Simply providing a PMS color means nothing. You may end up paying more than expecting on re-runs or rush delivery fees because a vendor’s product looks nothing like you expected.
Establishing a partnership with a CMP gives a single source for ordering and account management. Having one person managing all your marketing requests reduces the number and variety of touch points, thus substantially reducing the error rate. When an inevitable human error occurs, your CMP team is in position to react and correct the problem quickly.
“I’m getting a better price if I talk with each vendor myself”
While it may seem that each individual buyer that you speak with offers a better price than what can be gained from working with a CMP, that isn’t the typical scenario. When purchasing marketing components/materials, it’s difficult to discern exactly the cost of each particular item. Vendors can easily disguise costs and offer prices that are better than they really are – in fact, some vendors offer low prices up front knowing they’ll make up the difference with change orders and upgrades that need to happen after the initial quote is given. Some marketing vendors generate more than 20% of their annual sales in change orders. They have no incentive to ensure that what you request is what they quote. They just want to be the lowest initially to get in the door.
Plus, working with multiple vendors individually reduces your volume buying power. A CMP vendor buys materials for a wide variety of customers, and consequently has far more buying power than a multifamily operator. This volume discount is then passed along to the consumer, creating a substantial savings.
“I can still control budget fluctuations and manage multiple vendors while getting a better price”
You may have good intentions of maintaining vendor relationships that lead to best prices, while still controlling budget changes. But then reality steps in. The day-to-day duties of managing the marketing of a multifamily operation prevent you from effectively supervising expenses and relationships, and suddenly you’ve paid more than you expected to pay.
In addition, spreading payments across multiple vendors prevents an effective use of the data that can be gained to help with marketing budget planning. A CMP offers a single platform to record and track marketing spend that prevents this loss of budget insight. Valuable data can be gathered through the CMP – in near real-time – that allows you to gain control of the budget and offers opportunities to improve your overall program and lower costs, as well as spend.
“No matter what, the overall marketing strategy will stay intact.”
It’s hard to think that your overall strategy would be affected by paying too much, but when you obtain quotes on bits and pieces of your marketing needs from a variety of vendors, the overall strategy of your marketing project is diminished. Most times, if strategy isn’t followed, goals are missed and the results are below expectations. This not only can reflect on your marketing management acumen, but also influence your budget – and potential increases that you need – in the future.
If you’ve made these assumptions or have heard yourself speaking the above sentences, it’s time for a change. A CMP ensures consistency, makes it easy to control quality and keeps you and your team on budget…and NOT paying more than you thought you would. Working with one person, one business as your partner in all things marketing, brings predictability back into your budget. It can save you time, money and give you the opportunity to effectively demonstrate the value of marketing for your properties. No surprises.