It has been a busy first quarter here at the Urbane Lab. We have had a successful new Product Launch with our own Street Eatzz 313 Foodie Sauce Brand. We are jazzed about getting the product approved, labels designed and getting on the shelves of a dozen or so gourmet grocery stores, including Whole Foods! We have taken on a third partner to head up Sales and Distribution. Developing a Food Product has been a real hoot, and we have met a myriad of Food Entrepreneurs on our Hot Sauce Journey so far.
Trying NEW Things
What does this have to do with Corporate Outreach for Apartments, nothing really, except it has everything to do with trying new things, such as using a portion of our resources to TRY SOMETHING NEW. Some work, in our experience last year, four of the five projects we tried failed. One of the Five made it to market, and is now producing a steady stream of sales and cash. What does all that mean, well it is now another item we can test our marketing savvy on. It allows us, even if in a small way initailly to justify additional resources for our Marketing and Media Business, which in turn ultimately LOWERS our Apartment Marketing Costs for our Boutique Apartment Management Company, Urbane Apartments and associated real estate portfolio.
In late 2011, we decided to allocate 30% of our available resources to projects that we have ownership interest in. We aren’t the only ones thinking like this, Mills Apartments in St Louis have quietly launched a Boutique Digital Marketing Studio inside their corporate structure, seemingly first to support their own Branded Media, dubbed Real Life St Louis. Mike Brewer and his crew are doing a stand up job producing in house content to Enhance the Residents Experience, and drive leasing leads in a new and meaningful way. Point being, Mills is Trying Something New, and we suspect that will ultimately lead to Partnership Marketing opportunities for Mike and his groups new venture, Bravo Guys!
We tried new Five Project Ideas in 2012, Three of the Five made it to an LLC being created before imploding, and one made it to an actual product launch, and so we have the Street Eatzz Brand! Carving out a portion of our time and available resources to create something new will be an integral part 0f our overall business strategy every year going forward.
Carrying that strategy forward into 2013, We have hit some early “Pay Dirt”!
Urbane Media has engineered a successful merge with BuyMichLocal.com, a digital business directory for everything Michigan with over 150,000 business members. Adding BuyMichLocal to the Product and Brand Mix of Urbane Media allow us to really work the Partnership Marketing Opportunities for our Apartment and Multifamily clients to have direct contact with hyper local businesses and brands.
We have a full time sales force in place to continue the growth and membership efforts. The site has been live since early December and has already started to monetize.
The key component here for us at Urbane Media is to scale the Partnership Marketing success we have already experienced, and to be able to extend that to our Apartment and Multifamily Clients. Hitching your Wagon to someone else, which is the core of Partnership Marketing, and will Redefine Corporate Outreach Marketing for Apartments.
Corporate Outreach has always been successful, although not many leasing folks execute it very well. Perhaps the best reason for that is lack of time. How often is it OK for your leasing staff to be out knocking on local businesses doors to say Hi! It all looks good in the Corporate Binders, but rarely gets done that way in the field. Partnership Marketing allows your apartment community to bridge that resource gap.
But There is More, an EAT-SHOP-PLAY iPhone App!
We are finishing the polishing touches on a pretty cool iPhone App that can be branded by our Apartment and Multifamily clients. On the mobile app, the Resident can Pay Rent and Post a Service Request. But what is really cool is they can search their favorite Restaurant, Bar, Dry Cleaner and an array of other Hyper Local Eat, Shop, Play businesses and venues. Partnership marketing lowers your marketing cost per lease, and works to keep residents happy with discounts and such, thus extending Resident Retention.