It’s 2020 and there’s little doubt we’ve entered what surely will be known as the age of big data. Our interconnected world allows the tracking of our every move. What happens with all that data? It’s compiled in databases, and now with powerful tools analyzed and used to drive decisions. Businesses use the information to better understand current and prospective customers.
The analysis of all that data is used to craft products, cater services, target and retain customers, optimize processes and develop marketing plans, all decisions aimed at boosting profits. When Deloitte Analytics surveyed executives from 35 of the world’s leading corporations, 49 percent of respondents said they use analytics to make better decisions, 16 percent said it helps accomplish key strategic initiatives, and 10 percent said data analysis helps them improve relationships with both customers and business partners.
“Data is very much a part of our lifeblood, and now that our systems and technology have caught up to the need, we are really able to make something out of the data we have,” one senior executive who responded to the survey said. “We’ve come a long way in the last two years, because we focused on it. A company like ours can accomplish a lot when it focuses.”
Big Data for Small Business
Still, small businesses have been slow to adopt data analysis. After all, they typically generate a lot less data to evaluate. According to best-selling author and strategic business advisor Bernard Marr, however, big data is well suited for small businesses because “they’re generally more agile and able to act more quickly on data-driven insights,” compared to major players like Google and Facebook.
In essence, it’s easier for smaller companies make decisions and changes based on data analysis. Multi-family property owners are no exception.
“Thanks to big data, small businesses can get a fuller picture of their customers – what makes them tick, why they buy, how they prefer to shop, why they switch, what they’ll buy next, and what factors lead them to recommend a company to others,” Marr wrote on his blog. “Companies can also better interact and engage with customers by analyzing customer feedback in order to improve a product or service.”
But where do small companies get big data? In fact, Marr suggests sources such as social media, browser logs, text analytics and large, public data sets like census data, as well as traditional in-house data like sales data and customer service logs. The real-estate industry generates countless data, and multi-family property owners can look to massive amounts of renter information, which can be analyzed to optimize processes from leasing hours to outreach marketing and many more aspects of the business.
Big Data for Multi-Family Properties
One of the best sources of data for multi-family property owners to analyze can be mined from the company’s own website.
“Every click tells a company something about the website visitor’s preferences and priorities, such as apartment amenities they value and their current lifestyle,” explained marketing strategist Felicia Savage. “Do they have kids? Do the renters own a pet? Do they want to live close to bars and restaurants? Would they pick an open floor plan over a nice view?”
What do multi-family property owners specifically do with the data mined from their websites and other sources? They can use analysis of customer wants and needs to make property improvement decisions like what renovation projects to prioritize or what amenities to offer. Savage suggests adding interactive tools to websites that collect customer feedback.
“Interactive tools, such as an expense budgeting calculator or a simple quiz to help potential renters pick a floor plan, create a personalized, assisted shopping experience that encourages online visitors to engage with the website and divulge personal information as they do research in their hunt for the perfect home,” Savage wrote.
Data analyzed by multi-family property owners doesn’t have to be self-generated, either. Companies like Skyline AI have developed software that collects and analyzes data on all multi-family properties in the entire United States – more than 400,000 in all. Collected data includes everything from area restaurant locations and crime statistics to demographics and education levels of renters in various markets. Combined, the data tells investors the predicted value of a property.
Big Data for Multi-Family HVAC
Some of the most beneficial data for multi-family companies to analyze is what’s generated by their properties. Motili’s multi-family HVAC asset management product, for example, enables owners and operators to make intelligent and proactive decisions about their HVAC and hot water systems. The program tags and tracks property assets while it optimizes maintenance, repair and replacement processes.
Motili clients have experienced 20-percent increases in resident satisfaction thanks to proactive HVAC and hot water management.
“We’re able to give a true forecast a few years out and look at not just one or two buildings, but across the nationwide portfolio, helping a multi-family conglomerate find tens of millions of dollars through savings and optimization. It often makes more sense to spread your investment over a multi-year period,” said Motili Vice President Matthew Sallee.
“It’s a complex equation, but without the data you just can’t do it. We know how to quickly capture accurate data, analyze it, and help visualize and explain it, so our customers can manage that equation.