Are you promoting your product or your amenities?

When I got my new job in Grand Rapids, Mich. I was ecstatic. Now David and I could move to Grand Rapids and stop the 2 hour/120 miles a day commute we’d been doing for the better part of a year and a half. This meant we were in for some serious apartment shopping.

Our first apartment was new, had a big kitchen, a washer and dryer, cathedral ceilings, a balcony overlooking the pond … Sounds great, right? Except with the way the sun faced it was usually too hot to even have the window open, let alone sit on the balcony. And it was only 1 bedroom. I discovered in my newly marriedness that if I didn’t want to become a widow or a killer, we would need a bigger place.

The next place cut about 10 minutes off my commute. It was at the intersection of the two major highways we took to work and practically right across the street from a Meijer. And two bedrooms. But, it was old – the kitchen was small, the paint was worn and the balcony looked out onto a random backyard.

This time, we were determined to find a winner. We decided to focus on areas between our jobs because we’re both on the east side. Could we have found nicer/cheaper places farther out? Maybe. But location was more important to us.

We found two complexes. Complex A had great amenities – an outdoor pool, tree-filled grounds, a new workout room open late, and free coffee and pastries in the clubhouse. It was a two-bedroom townhouse – no upstairs or downstairs neighbors! Complex B also had lush grounds, a two-bedroom 3rd floor (bad for carrying but no one on top of you), and indoor pool and a “workout facility” – three really old machines in a tight room, open only with the office.

Guess which complex we picked? Complex B.

Complex A had a nice apartment – about 950 sq. ft. Bigger than out current place, we thought we were set – until I saw the kitchen. All apartment kitchens are small, but this was smaller than our current kitchen. I like to cook. A lot. And I have a lot of stuff. Complex B had a nice, updated kitchen that was much bigger than my current space. The whole place in general had over 1000 sq ft.

So, what does this have to do with marketing? An apartment is a place to live –before anything else, the actual apartment has to meet certain requirements that differ from person to person. Complex A may have been great for someone who needed less room, or ate a lot of takeout. For me – not so much. So when you’re promoting your product, are you busy touting all the bells and whistles to make it appeal to the masses? Take a step back and find a core group of people who will benefit from you basic service. Interact with them. Cater the extras to them. Think it won’t work? The complex we’re in has about 1-2 units open at any given time in a city with dozens of complexes.

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