In apartment marketing, the digital self and the physical self become more and more the same.

As the parenting world grapples with how to regulate children’s exposure to technology, stories are emerging about the powerful effects of the almighty screen. Teens, who constantly clutch their devices, are reportedly becoming physically sick when the devices are taken away. This is surely addictive behavior, but the reports illustrate just how tightly interwoven the digital and physical world are becoming. They are no longer separate and distinct spheres — the physical and digital blend. Our digital self is becoming more a part of our physical self. Devices are not just an escapism into the world of Facebook or Candy Crush, but a centerpiece of communication in our lives.

Apartment marketers obviously need to take note, but more than just merely recognize the omnipresence of digital communication, they must completely internalize the digital world in order to grow. Digital marketing must be a habit of the apartment community or leasing team, part of the culture, part of the daily life, and an essential step in the sales and marketing process. If an apartment community stopped digital marketing, then it would suffer greatly in the form of revenue loss. It is just that important because, in truth, digital sales and marketing is apartment sales and marketing.

For some businesses and individuals, this statement is already true; however, many are not there yet. They may be making some digital efforts, trying to figure it all out — a Facebook post here, an Instagram post there — but they are failing to achieve a cohesive digital marketing plan. Some of these businesses are built on personal sales; some are deeply rooted in their old fashioned ways, making change and innovation are outside the realm of possibility. Many may be able to survive, perhaps even grow, without a core digital marketing strategy. Depending on the industry and sales process, sales may be fine for the foreseeable future.  

But, it won’t last forever.

Eventually, the change of communication will necessitate a change of behavior. Selling is communicating — your product, your service, your brand, your value, your raison d’etre. In consumer-facing business, this change has already come; the Internet has fundamentally altered newspapers, television, radio and one’s ability to reach one’s customer.

In business-to-business marketing, digital is also disrupting traditional forms of communication.  Conferences are changed by new methods of communication. Transparency is the norm because of the Internet, which provides an unlimited knowledge base. Collateral material is changed because everyone goes first to the Internet, then your website and then on to other peoples’ websites. Although not everything has become entirely digital, most of how we communicate relies on the virtual world, and the invasion is just getting started.

That is not to say that the personal aspect of doing business-to-business marketing is obsolete.  Nothing will take the place of interpersonal communication. In order to have to develop the trusting relationship necessary to sell to a business, digital strategies alone will not work. Businesses and clients are going to have to talk in real time, maybe even see one another face-to-face. However, a company must embrace digital communication in all its various new mediums.   

To achieve success and continue to thrive, digital marketing must be a core component of apartment sales and marketing teams.