How do you measure your Marketing ROI?

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Having been in the business of marketing apartment communities for most of my career, I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years. At the risk of dating myself, in my early career the industry wasn’t even convinced that advertising was a viable choice — and the choice was newspaper, outdoor, radio or one of the fledgling niche publications. And, of course, reliance on the ever-popular “drive by.” In those days, ROI was all about cost per lease, and relied entirely on the attribution of the leasing agent.

The years have produced some epic changes as well as a bevy of choices when it comes to marketing to apartment shoppers . . . apartment publications grew dominant, the world wide web was born, the ILS proliferated, print became “dead”, integrated media became the buzz word, and now social media is becoming a major new component of business-to-consumer marketing. In short, there are now a daunting number of choices for marketers when it comes to slicing and dicing the advertising dollar; and with those choices comes the challenge of how to appropriately measure effectiveness and return.

As a provider to the industry, we see it all . . . cost per lead, cost per lease, cost per move-in, cost per visit, cost per visit set, conversion rates, no measurement at all, you name it. What’s the right way to measure return? And what are the right benchmarks? Is there a “right” way? I’m really interested in your comments — whether you’re a marketer or a provider — because there are so many different lines of thought out there. Let’s get the conversation started!