WC Smith Solves Multi-Touch Lead Attribution with Yardi’s RENTCafé CRM
By Joe Bousquin
Holli Beckman knows that by the time a prospect walks through her leasing office door, they’ve already visited five different websites that helped drive them to her community. And yet, for years in the apartment industry, the standard practice has been to attribute that prospect – or lead – to the last website or touch point they visited before coming to the community.
“That’s like only giving a medal to the final swimmer on the 1800-meter relay team,” says Beckman, vice president of marketing and leasing at Washington, D.C.-based WC Smith, which manages more than 10,000 units throughout the metropolitan D.C. area. “That doesn’t seem reasonable, or fair.”
It’s also not helpful for apartment marketing executives who are trying to decide how much of their budgets should be dedicated to each lead source. Often, valuable lead sources are eliminated because they haven’t been accurately identified by a company’s property marketing software, even if they contributed to the lead. “Operations teams don’t see that source in their reports, and they say ‘we don’t get any traffic from that source, let’s cut it,’” Beckman says.
“To give you an example, let’s say a prospect Googles ‘apartments in D.C.,’” Beckman says. “They see an ad for ApartmentGuide and click it. Then, they go to ApartmentRatings and look at reviews. They do another search on Apartminty, which brings them to your property’s website, where they book a tour. But they get lost on the way to the property, pull up Google Maps on their phone and then call you for more detailed directions. In a last touch lead attribution model, Google Maps gets all the credit.”
Conversely, giving all the credit to ApartmentGuide as the first touch point doesn’t accurately depict the source of the lead, either.
But now, as a pioneering adopter of RENTCafé CRM, Yardi’s customer relationship management (CRM) system, Beckman can leverage the technology’s multi-touch lead attribution capabilities to get a more accurate picture of where her traffic is actually coming from.
“The new attribution reporting in RENTCafé CRM allows us to see the full customer journey and credit all the sources that contribute to the final lease,” Beckman says. “ILSs across the industry rejoice!”
The system allows her and her team to look at a number of different attribution models, including first, last, linear, time decay and “U”- and “W”-shape attribution. Now, Beckman can not only see all the sources that contributed to her lead, she can weight them accordingly in order of their importance, so she knows how much of her budget to dedicate to each.
For example, the “W”-shape attribution model splits up 90 percent of the credit among three key lead touch points and assigns the rest to the middle touch points along the way. That means Beckman can now assign 30 percent each to the first touch, lead creation and opportunity creation touch points, with the remaining 10 percent parceled out to intermediate sources.
Then, she can use those numbers to help her break down her marketing spend. Best of all, both her marketing and operations personnel can see all the data, no matter which department they’re in.
“Our marketing divisions are involved in sophisticated techniques and practices that go well beyond brand awareness, ad buying and first lead generation. Having these models accessible in our property management software allows all departments to review the same data and speak the same language,” Beckman says. “Housing the attribution reporting in RENTCafé CRM, where all departments are retrieving data, is key to eliminating one of my least favorite buzzwords: data silos.”
Now, when a prospect walks into a WC Smith leasing office, Beckman not only knows which five websites they visited before coming to her door, she can give credit where credit is due, while adjusting her marketing spend accordingly.
That way, everyone on multifamily’s multi-touch relay team gets a medal.