Conflict of Interest

Christian Swanson

Yeah, but don’t you guys work with that building across the street?

As perhaps the leading agency in the real estate marketing industry, it is not uncommon that we find ourselves marketing two communities that are within a few blocks or even across the street from one another. And it’s not just us, as concentrated as real estate development is, there are more new multi-family and residential developments in each market than there are quality agencies to market them. So trying to avoid agency overlap is just simply not possible.

Nonetheless, it’s a totally fair question for our client partners to ask what we do in these seemingly “conflict of interest” situations. So here’s the skinny…

Our client data is sacred

You might not think any working professionals in the multi-family industry would be so crass, but we’ve actually had clients come right out and ask us for their competitor’s data. One (former) client actually tried to throw their weight around and claimed that their status with us demanded our cooperation. They are one of the top apartment developers in the country. Guess who!? Complying with this ridiculous request would violate our core values as a company and as individual professionals, but would also jeopardize the continued existence of GTMA. If we gave you your competitor’s data, how secure would you be in the hope that we wouldn’t also give your data to your competitors?

Our strategies, while geographically-bound, are property-focused

As a company organized around the idea of helping people find the right home for right now, we highlight and focus on each community’s unique characteristics in our campaigns. Each marketing campaign is unique based on their particular mix of amenities, services, community and onsite team personality, floor plans, finishes, pet policies, proximity to neighborhood resources, and pricing. The uniqueness of your campaign starts with the pre-sales process where our Partnerships team helps you select the best services for your needs and continues right through to the kickoff call where our account managers and strategists work with your regional manager, your marketing team and your onsite team to identify a winning strategy. Since no two communities, no matter how physically close they are to each other, offer exactly the same experience of home, we make it our goal to create the right custom campaigns for each client we work with.

Our account managers are client-segmented

GTMA client owner-groups are assigned to separate GTMA account managers, who each have separate teams. So, within our agency, there’s a layer of separation and competition that helps us remember to respect client data boundaries. It is technically possible for there to still be some overlap for individual properties, but they’re rare.

Your campaign’s reach is limited – mostly by budget

Under no circumstances do we represent all competitors in any market, so even though two communities may be across the street, your spend is competing against an entire market. No two or three communities, even large lease-ups, have enough market share to control bid prices in any market.

So what should you do?

  1. Keep it all in perspective – While we honestly quite enjoy hearing simultaneous reports from competing properties that the other property is kicking their butt, as it reminds us that perspective is always relative, we know that your goals and concerns are important and we work hard to help you find the unique opportunities to connect with unique individuals who would love to live in your community.
  2. Focus more on your community’s unique selling proposition – On the one hand, there are those things that make people want to live in your community like amenities, floor plans, etc. and on the other is the pricing that you set. If you don’t get the value vs. cost relationship right, essentially your marketing dollars are going to be wasted, no matter which agency you work with.
  3. Choose your agency wisely – Go with an agency with a proven track record of integrity, professionalism, creativity, and perhaps most important, the problem-solving ability to help you find the right audience for your marketing message. While we would obviously hope you always choose GTMA, there are certainly other respected agencies out there you could work with. One thing to note on this one is that going with a local agency rather than a larger agency like GTMA may actually create more of a conflict of interest rather than less. Think about it, if you’re a local agency you have a smaller team and fewer clients who are all closer to together. In that circumstance, it becomes harder to organize in such a way as to naturally respect client data boundaries.

 

Christian Swanson

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