A recent report revealed that modern marketers struggle to leverage all of a business’ accessible data into their respective marketing campaigns. If you’ve been in the trenches of big data yourself, it’s not hard to see why. Although big data has been the buzzword in our industry for years now, the oversaturation of it intimidates and overwhelms marketing teams across the country, leading innovators in multifamily to wonder if the larger snapshot provided is really worth the labor it takes to analyze it.
Many industries, including ours, aim to emulate the successes of tech behemoths like Amazon and Google, who have created entire enterprises around the collection and interpretation of data. These companies have perfected the science of gleaning consumer behavior, allowing them to reap the benefits of data analysis ten-fold. Despite the multifamily housing industry’s struggle to integrate technology with software providers in the past, the rise of open and connected platforms will see to it that data hubs continue to emerge within our industry and beyond.
As multifamily operators gain better control of their data, they will essentially receive an all-access pass to the data kingdom. It’s a fitting description, given that commonly measured data detailing website sessions and online referrals only account for an extremely small fraction of the intel still waiting to be captured. In fact, we’ve become so infatuated with all things data that the sales of data analysis tools are projected to hit 187 billion-dollars this year.
But, as we continue to discover new ways to optimize our marketing strategies – evaluating everything from posting trends to peak performance times – we can easily become lost in all the ways we slice and dice data for social reach, employee expediency, and company profit. Even though we certainly can utilize data in all aspects of our industry, big data remains a massive amount of unstructured information that requires human eyes to decipher its meaning. This forces us to face the inconvenient truth that big data does not always equal useful data— especially if your property management company is small to mid-sized. For this reason, shrinking big data into bite-sized pieces, or small data, has become the wave of the future.
As multifamily operators, we are all aware of the decision-making information we need to successfully market, lease, and manage our respective properties, which is why small data has become invaluable to our industry. The tech industry has responded to multifamily operators’ wishes for razor-sharp data intel with mix-and-match, high-intelligence dashboards that allow team members to filter data as desired, instead of that alternative: looking at a confusing mess of figures. These customizable dashboards help us make coherent sense of data, isolating the parts that are valuable and eliminating the time, energy, and money spent sifting through mountains of seemingly useless intel.
The process of filtering large volumes of unruly data brings actionable insight to life. For example, if your marketing manager wants to see what role Facebook is playing in driving website traffic, you can filter your analytical dashboard to display this particular data set in an adjustable, absorbable snapshot—whether you’re looking at the past week or the past three months. This way, you can observe which Facebook posts are gaining more traffic and add your successful content to future strategies.
When you choose to narrow down data, you ultimately make a coreset. A coreset is a subset of big data that preserves its most important mathematical relationships. By minimizing the amount of information studied without losing the algorithms, the coreset makes data analysis more efficient for digital analysis tools and multifamily associates alike.
When applied to internal operations, such as unit inventory management, price optimization, and maintenance performance, data helps our multifamily companies perform more efficiently overall. Management teams can monitor the “health” of their property through the singular interface of a dashboard, which have Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, that detail everything from prospect inquiries to the number of blogs published on your website. This technology can provide answers as soon as they’re needed, so we may better serve residents, encourage retention, and eliminate costs associated with turnover.
Not only does small data create more efficiency amongst your team, but it also eliminates the costs associated with analyzing big data. With small data, you can easily extract information without building a large team for data analysis or hiring expert data scientists. Despite big data having its uses, a selective analysis of small data allows us to quickly transform numbers into profit, all while creating productive workflows.
Big data may have pioneered the data intelligence movement, but small data analysis is undoubtedly a worthwhile endeavor for multifamily companies. Small data focuses on applicable intel to propel the property towards its individual goals, allowing communities to cut through the noise of big data. Being able to analyze intelligence in easy-to-digest bits can help property owners and management teams derive insights quickly and respond to challenges and opportunities more efficiently, improving ROI and the residents’ apartment-living experience.
Kerry W. Kirby is a global entrepreneur, technology innovator, philanthropist, and the founder of 365 Connect, an award-winning technology firm within the multifamily housing industry. Over the course of his career, Kerry has been the recipient of an array of highly acclaimed awards, including the esteemed Louisiana Governor's Technology Award. He has been named to the Silicon Bayou 100 List of most influential entrepreneurs for nine consecutive years and has received a prestigious Titan Entrepreneur Award for his technological achievements. An acclaimed speaker, author, and award-winning podcaster, Kerry has appeared on the BBC Digital Planet program, NPR News, and various media platforms and outlets. Kerry has contributed to an array of articles and studies on the convergence of technology in the rental housing industry.
Kerry serves on the Board of Advisors of Rainbow, a national nonprofit organization that provides service-enriched housing programs for affordable housing communities across the country. He also serves on the Board of Advisors of the Multifamily Women’s Summit, an event that allows women to strengthen their expertise, influence, and professional network in the multifamily housing industry, and is Chair of Technology Initiative for the Multifamily Innovation Advisory Council, a private, members only group focused on assisting owners and operators of multifamily communities by reducing risks associated with vetting new technologies and implementations.
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