It’s important to us that we stay on top of (and, ideally, ahead of) the needs of our customers and event attendees; so we regularly ask members of our online community to share their thoughts and insights.  We recently asked marketing professionals who attended our most recent Brainstorming Sessions this question:  Based on today’s marketplace, what important new skills do you feel a Marketing Director needs to possess? We thought you’d be interested in what everyone had to say, so we selected some of the most specific responses to share with you here!

“1. Having the skill to connect the dots of social media – HOW TO’S with: advertising, managing, marketing, etiquette, and communicating. Social Media is the new universe for sales and should be used wisely to connect with your prospects and current residents. And 2. Thinking outside of the MONITOR (aka: BOX)!” – Maureen Lannon, Director of Sales and marketing, Allen & O’Hara Education Services, Inc.

“As a Director, it is important for me to keep up with the latest technology. Not only what is available but how to apply it.” – Angie Sanchez, Director of Marketing and Leasing, Jersey Central Management

“The successful marketing director needs to be willing to update his/her skills constantly to keep up with ever changing products, services, and opportunities.  For instance, today’s marketing directors need to understand and embrace new media, including social media, Craigslist, text message marketing, and more.  However, with so much coming at us so fast, perhaps one of the most critical abilities that a marketing director must possess is the ability to evaluate and prioritize.  You can’t do everything at once—no matter how good the “everything” is.  Marketing directors must be able to think strategically—considering cost, benefit, long term implications, and return on investment—and select a couple of big projects a quarter that can make a big impact on the communities they represent.  Otherwise, they will run themselves into the ground trying to dabble in every new opportunity without any lasting impact from any of them.  In short, the marketing director must be tech savvy, open minded, plugged in to the current trends—but with the ability to evaluate, prioritize and move forward with important ideas in an organized and thoughtful manner.”  – Esther Bonardi, Director-Marketing & Creative Services, Drucker & Falk / DF Creative

“Marketing has changed and possessing knowledge / skills in SEM, mobile, social media are important but aren’t everything.  We must be able to effectively market with less money, account for every dollar spent, and connect with customers in an increasing convoluted media space.  Marketers must possess great analytical & strategic skills in addition to creativity and intuition.  With the combination of these skills you can create an artscience approach to marketing. Those that do will be the best marketers.” – Jamie Gorski, Sr. Director of Corporate Marketing, Bozzuto Group

“As far as student housing goes-It’s a little old-school, but timeliness.  Following up and responding to inquiries, mostly electronic, immediately.  The Black Eyed Peas put it well when they said, “This is the now generation, this is the generation now.” Gen Y’ers want it now, that’s why they hit up the internet when they want info.  So, when an email inquiry comes through respond with the information requested.  Clean, simple, and FAST.  Another skill I would say that compliments that well is to stay open-minded.  Students change, renters change, so the same old incentives, with the same marketing techniques may not work now.  Hold focus groups and do surveys to stay in touch.  Don’t assume you know what they want, ask them.” – Megan Bass, Leasing and Marketing Trainer, Allen and O’Hara Education Services, Inc.

“…possess a knowledge and train best practices for Social Media, Internet Marketing as well as the basics…just good old customer service.  Being able to look outside our multi-family box for marketing ideas and research is a great way to get the juices flowing.  I follow many blogs inside our industry, but many from the outside as well in hopes to keep a fresh new perspective on things.  But never forgetting about the true social network of the human element.  It’s all about our people, our customers.  Internal and external.” – Carina Bryars, Marketing Associate, Greystar Real Estate Partners

“As a Marketing Director today, it’s vital to constantly refresh your internet and social media skills.  If you don’t know what a TwitPic is, or how to poke a friend on facebook; you’re in trouble.” – Lizzie Blake, Regional Training and Marketing Coordinator, Resource Residential

“The ability to understand the demographics for each market that they have properties in so that all marketing and advertising that is done will be effective.– Ginger Long, Director of Marketing, CLK Multifamily Management
“A)  Knowledge of marketing ideas that are outside our industry. B)Working knowledge of Social Media options, C)Excel skills for reporting, analyzing, etc.”  Pattie D Woods, Vice President – Training and Development, Fogelman Management Group

“As a Marketing Director they need to still love the job and more importantly they need to think outside the box and do not do what everyone else is doing in the multi-family business.  They need to be knowledgeable of all current trends such as twitter,craigslist,face-book,my space etc, etc.  They also need to be hands on at properties and lead by example and most important they need to be consistent”. Richard Valley, Community Director

“If you are a veteran marketer, you need to keep up with all aspects of new technology not only to be able to effectively do your job, but to communicate with your staff and colleagues.  I find myself doing more texting with employees (Gen X & Gen Y) and yes, they can be texting each other from the same room!” Diane M. Christy, Director of Marketing,  The NRP Group LLC
Honorable mention goes to these three important points that we also heard a lot of:

–    Awareness of marketing/advertising trends/techniques outside of our industry as well as inside
–    Creative drive to stand out from the crowd
–    Firm handle on the numbers and details so you can analyze and report as effectively as possible

As the responses poured into my in box, the thing that grabbed my attention is not just that most of them specifically mentioned new media, but that knowing how to effectively USE new media can, often in a variety of ways, also support the responses that weren’t new-media-specific.  Even Jamie’s response that “social media are important but aren’t everything” suggests that it should be integrated into your marketing plan in order to make your overall strategy optimally effective.

Thanks for reading today, and if you’d like to contribute YOUR answer to the question, please share it in the comments box!

Our next post will be on the Question: Based on today’s marketplace, what important new skills do you feel a Training Director needs to possess? If you have thoughts you would like to share please email info(at) multifamilypro (dot) com