B2B and Apartment Marketing Insights From a Multifamily Podcaster with Sydney Webber, Renter Obsessed Podcast Host and Marketing Lead at Move HQ of Updater
Speakers: Ronn and Martin.
Guest: Sydney Webber
Martin: All right, welcome back to the multifamily podcast with Ronn and Martin. It feels good to be back and keep the momentum going, with more powerhouse guests for the show. In today’s episode, we’ll be speaking with our good friend and fellow podcaster from renter obsessed podcast, Sydney Webber, who’s the marketing lead at Updater Move HQ. Previously, she was at Knock CRM, we will get into her experience in the multifamily industry as a b2b marketer. We will also dive into what it takes to launch a successful podcast, life in the multifamily industry and also covering apartment marketing insights you don’t want to miss. Sydney Webber, welcome to the multifamily podcast.
Sydney: Thank you so much for having me. And can I just say that, of course, an SEO company would call their podcasts and multifamily podcasts. I mean, I remember when you were telling me about that domain, of course you did. And the name of your company is like so Google able, so nice, nice on you there.
Martin: Regular rate their Apartment SEO.
Ronn: That is awesome. Yeah, we’re kind of not as unique there but it definitely makes sense on an SEO standpoint, right? So, Sydney, welcome to the podcast, I’m so excited to have you, and that you could spare some time with us and join us. Obviously, I think nowadays, you know, everyone’s downloading podcasts, which is a good thing. Having content at your fingertips, we’re all on demand society and it just makes it so powerful. As creators are able to build their own platforms and brands. The cool thing is you don’t need tons of startup capital, obviously, as we know, to actually start your own podcast nowadays. And the benefits are potentially huge for businesses, branding and b2b marketing. So, what I want to know is, what was the initial strategy behind the renter upset, by the way, I love that name too, renter podcast by CRM.
Sydney: First off, that name was sort of a rip off, of one of my favorite podcasts called True Crime obsessed, we’re taking off about a recap True Crime documentary. So, every idea is stolen. So, but anyway, yes, so the background, I’m a huge content marketer, because I believe that a lot of like, modern b2b marketing is just selling like, buying ads on Google in that kind of stuff like, that’s just that’s sales, you know, and I think truly marketing is educating your customer, identifying who your ideal customer profile is, really digging deep and interviewing them and doing customer research on what matters to them, and what resonates with them, and then crafting the content you build around that. And so, I knew we wanted to do something like that. And I just think podcasts are such a catalyst, like sitting down to write a large e-book or blogging day after day, that takes so much time, what we’re doing right now it’s going to take an hour, we’re going to talk and it’s going to be natural, and things are going to come up and ideas will be shared and it’s such an easy way to produce content at scale. But I don’t think that stopping at recording a podcast and putting up on Apple and Spotify or whatever is the move, I think it’s taking that content and creating short blog posts, creating social media posts, clipping it up into different videos and subtitling them and putting them on LinkedIn or Facebook or wherever your audience is. I think podcasting is just the catalyst for a much larger content distribution strategy. But what I really love about podcasting, or creating audio only content is it is the most passive form of content, right? So, we have very little time in our day. The different types of content, you can have short form video, and like Tik Tok or whatever social media platforms, you can put YouTube videos up, that someone has to sit and watch with their full attention. You can write content and where someone has to have their full attention to read it. Podcasting is the only form of content that is passive, you’re just in their ear, talking in the background while they’re driving to work or they’re gardening or cleaning their house. When I got into podcasting, all of a sudden, my house got so much cleaner, not me podcasting but listening to podcasts. And so, it’s just a way we’re fighting for people’s attention. And you always say like, oh grab them in the first three seconds of your video, not in podcasting, and podcasting, you can have someone’s attention for an hour, and it’s not uncommon. So it’s much more powerful than marketers than people even realize.
Ronn: I think that’s so powerful. And it’s true because you could, even at work like multi, you know, multitasking and having it in the background and you know, simultaneously learning while you’re working.
Sydney: Definitely, oh, I definitely listen to podcasts when I’m doing something that isn’t like writing related, if I’m designing or something. Yeah.
Martin: That’s crazy. So, who initially really initiated the podcast, like to have it out actually make it happen?
Sydney: You know, I worked with someone named Lindsay Shoberg, who was the head of content at Knock when I first started, and we just totally clicked and we had a lot, we just both had this idea that we wanted to do this and a couple of my other coworkers were into it too, someone on the sales team was like sending us Chris Walker content back when we first discovered who he was who, he’s obviously like, the most famous b2b marketer of the moment. And we knew that we wanted to scale up our content production Knock in a such unique position, that company because it’s very, it’s very much like the core of your technology suite, like you use it to interact with your customers. Actually, I work at a new company now were I’m also built, we’re also building a CRM product just for different industries. So, you touch so many different aspects of your customers daily life. And so, you have a lot of opportunity to be their helper, their business partner, help them understand your product, but also help them understand how it interacts with everything else, and best practices for just their job in general. You know, that old like social media rule, the 80/20 rule, like, I think the 80/20 rule is important in all aspects of marketing, I think 80% of the time, you should just be helpful, be really helpful, and be the person that they go to when they need something, even if it has nothing to do with your product. And 20% of the time, go ahead and try to get that sale. But I think it’s really important to lead with a system openness, and that’s what we wanted to do with podcast. I was a multifamily marketer. So it was, I think it’s also really important when you do decide to go in that direction, that you have the right person in place to host that, you know, is willing to get up there on camera, but also knows enough in relates enough to your customer. that they’re relevant to the customer.
Martin: Yeah, so delivering value and, and more execution, so, I love every piece of that. When you decided to actually start and help build renter first podcasts, what were some of the initial steps you took to ensure a smooth set up and launch?
Sydney: Well, I am quote, a mediums close friends with someone in Portland. His name is Greg nibbler and he is one of the OG podcasters, he used to work in radio. He has a podcast called Sun employment radio, and they record like daily. He’s very well known; they’ve been doing it since like 2009. And when we decided to do a podcast, I texted him and I was like, hey, are you a podcast engineer, too or do you have one? And so, I ended up working with him. I’m a huge proponent of edutainment, education and entertainment. I think anyone could just educate; I get bored easily. I want something to not just be, you know, helpful but I want it to be snappy and fun and I want to feel like I relate to the host. And it was really important to me early on, that we don’t just focus on the quality of the content, but the quality of the actual podcast, so he was in there. I was like Greg, if I sound dumb, cut it, if there’s a long pause, cut it, if there’s like, oh, you’re muted, you know, zooms, muted. Like I don’t want any of that, cut it all, I want to be snappy. And so he takes like 15 minutes off an episode and you could feel it. People just thought we were so smart and so smooth. Really, he cut out a whole section where my ducks escaped my backyard and had to like go off camera and chase them. Like, we were legit and it wasn’t even that expensive, just to hire, I mean, there’s companies that do it too, but he’s just excellent. So, if anyone in podcast land wants his number hit me up, I will share my resources. But that was a huge, huge win for us early on. It allowed me to be able to do more like other things, contract distribution, cut the video up and stuff. And trust that the audio and uploading aspect of it was handled, like I didn’t do any of it, I just sent him the Zoom recordings. So that was key when starting a podcast for us.
Martin: I’m just excited that you have ducks.
Sydney: Oh, yeah, I have ducks.
Martin: I have chickens.
Sydney: I have chickens, you have chickens?
Martin: Yeah, I do. I have three live chickens.
Ronn: Well, I am taking tons of notes here. That’s awesome. What was his name again? Greg, I have Greg from Portland.
Sydney: Greg Nibbler.
Sydney: Unemployment radio.
Ronn: I want to hear him. Unemployment employment. Okay, great. So, my question for you is, did your team face any roadblocks, obviously, in the early stages of your podcast and how did you officially overcome them?
Sydney: Oh, yeah.
Ronn: Great helped a lot, right?
Sydney: You know, the greatest thing about being a marketer is, whenever you say I have this idea, you know, and everyone, not marketers, but like your boss, your boss’s boss and leadership are like okay, great. How many leads is it going to drive to the sales team? And I’m like, I don’t know how many leads I’m just going to drive to the sales team. I’m just trying to get people to know us and like us. And like, if you go into it, that mindset, you come across, like, you have that mindset, you’re like, oh, this is not a podcast, I’m just trying to sell me something. And, and it was really challenging early on, to help justify the time investment, there was very little monetary investment. I think Greg charged, like 100 bucks an episode I can’t remember, I don’t want to speak for that off the top of my head, I don’t remember. But the cost, the actual budget cost is very low. But the time cost was pretty high, especially for me, because I was sourcing all the guests, I was doing all that after like the, a lot of the work afterwards, post production stuff. And so, it kind of overwhelmed my whole job there. So, it was really challenging in the beginning. And I think a lot of times marketers are so fixated on quantitative data. And that is, yeah, we could have a bunch of listener count subscriber count could be going up. But I think it’s really, really important for marketers, especially early on when they’re trying new tactics, is to don’t discredit qualitative data. A lot of times, a lot of instances early on in the podcast, I’d have someone on the sales team reach out to me like, hey, I have this prospect that I’ve been trying to reach out to for months, and they won’t get back to me, they just did because they said they really liked your podcast, or I would go to, I would reach out to someone that, someone on the sales team wasn’t able to book a meeting with and I asked them to be on the podcast, and they’d say, yes instantly. And then we were able to develop, slowly develop a relationship that ultimately led to a point where if and when they were trying to buy what we had to offer, of course, we had a seat at the table. And so, I think that when you’re, give yourself some grace early on, go into it with the right intentions, because our customers are smart as hell and they can see right through any, like marketing tactics that you’re trying to push on them. Especially if you’re marketing to marketers.
Martin: Yeah. And the power of the podcast too, just once you put the episode up, I mean, it’s up there 24 hours a day. I mean, download it anytime. So, once you put the work in for that episode, is working for you around the clock, 24-hours a day.
Sydney: Yeah, I want to say that people buy the product, that’s the best one. But honestly, people like to buy from people they like, but that’s true, we’re humans. That’s the way we’re gonna operate.
Ronn: For sure. And I appreciate some of the feedback that you gave, because I think, you know, we can see ourselves nodding our heads up and down, like, yeah, because that’s really been the intention behind the original podcast that we created back in the day. And then this next version of it, is just being educational, the role is moving so fast, and we need to educate. And the byproduct could be an extended relationship and or a sale down the line. But it’s more of bringing guests, bringing thought provoking people so excited.
Martin: Yeah. So, could you actually see any better benefits for individual communities or management companies starting their own podcast? And how could you see this working for them?
Sydney: You know, it’s tough. I think there’s a lot of podcasts out there, either educational you could use, I can see a company like a property management company, maybe a larger one, using podcasting as a way to, as a means to educate potential employees, or dry like for recruiting. One thing that you really need to have, is a very distinct point of view, a point of view on whatever you’re talking about, I have a very distinct point of view on multifamily marketing in that podcast, and it came across in every episode, no matter how many podcasts I have. If you look at who your target audience is, and what they care about, I mean, if you’re an individual property to 500-unit property, your total addressable market, like people aren’t really listening to podcast to find out where they want to live. In that case, that might leverage more like influencer marketing, or like Tik Tok videos or whatever because it’s such a visual thing. I don’t think people care as much about like, what the leasing offices perspective is on living, and also like, how would they find you? So, I think it’s a little challenging in that aspect. However, we had an episode of renter obsessed a while ago, where we dug really deeply and I think it was, we had it was actually an SEO related episode or our first one. We talked a lot about property management companies making the shift to focus on corporate branding versus individual property branding. And so, people, like can you take a property management company and create a brand, a loyal brand following like you see in other consumer industries, like, you know, Nike or a retail, no retail brand, or even, you know, other technology companies like why choose lift versus Uber? That kind of thing. So, I think there’s so many options out there. And over the last couple years, like, there have been lots of no prop, I don’t think any properties have been struggling, I think they’ve been doing just fine. One day, when there it is more competitive and they might be struggling, that would be a great time to lean more into, you know, overall corporate branding and get some brand loyal customers, that only live at your properties. And you can I think, in that case, the podcast might be helpful.
Martin: Yeah, I think overall, the multifamily industry needs to get more on video, you know, I think, lacking in a lot of aspects.
Sydney: They’re on video, everyone walked around, with their iPhone and YouTube, maybe it’s a video off their apartment.
Ronn: doing their self-guided tours, here you go, go along with it. I think that’s great feedback, because we have through, since we revamped, we have had some guests and clients alike, that have mentioned to us, oh, we’ve always wanted to do this, congrats on doing it again, and blah, blah, blah. And I think the lift is just where people get stuck. And I think you just gave some great insights for how, you know, just stir that conversation and see if it makes sense for them.
Sydney: If I worked at in property management on the supplier side, not the supplier side, on the like the property management side right now. And I was like, told you need to have a podcast about something, I would create a podcast all about advocating for yourself in the workplace, getting hired, how to apply? How to drop the best resume? how to negotiate your salary? I’d probably make it directed towards women, because I’m passionate about that. And I believe that there’s still a lot of unfairness when it comes to hiring and you know, there’s still a pay gap, especially with women of color, I would bring in DEI people, I would just really create the ultimate resource for someone that is like trying to get a job and trying to advocate or trying to advocate for themselves in their career, I would do that because even though people are you know, renting apartments is fine. I know still that finding talent and keeping talent is really challenging. And so obviously, you if you had really good, really consistent talent, your residents are gonna have a better experience because it’s still a people industry. And so that’s what I, to get the most bang for your buck, that’s what I would focus on. Like, look at what Tony, Tony the really famous, like the most interesting man in multifamily, you know who he is, he’s been on renter to, he always has a repository of candidates for any role he could ever have because he talks about that subject. And so, people want to work for him with him. Because he, because they understand his leadership style, they understand that if he’s talking this way, and he’s working at this company, that company’s values must align with his, so you have a better idea by listening to a podcast, what it would be like to work for that company versus in your 30-minute interview, when they’re on their best behavior.
Ronn: I think that’s huge. Because you could also include your current employees, right? And then speak to like, their experience. And yes, I you know, when I was up for a promotion, how I got it, what I did differently, what the company opened up, I mean, talk about a good lens, where people can really, you know, identify with a culture, before even, even interviewing technically and if they are listen to a podcast.
Sydney: Yeah, don’t get keep, let everybody like in and like let them know how to really get a job and get a good paying salary and be paid fairly. I also think that that content relevant for a larger market than just multifamily. And so, I think I had a couple episodes about asking for feedback on renter obsessed and like advocating for yourself. And I had lots of friends and people that were not in the industry at all, tell me how helpful that episode was for them. Not in the industry and not interested in being in the industry. So, I think there’s a lot of, when you have a larger audience set for your subject matter, you’ll have a better listenership, obviously. Although quantity is not everything, quality is important too.
Ronn: Don’t dilute too much.
Sydney: Yes, if you’re trying to sell everything, you’re selling nothing, right?
Ronn: Exactly. Yeah. That’s amazing. Yeah, it could definitely be, this feedback can also be very agnostic. So, appreciate that input. So, in your opinion, what are some of the most powerful aspects of building and launching a podcast? And what were some of your key b2b marketing insights that you learned?
Sydney: I think the most powerful thing of renter obsessed was actually not renter obsessed. The most powerful part of renter obsessed was what I liked, endearingly deemed them the ARO crew. Renter obsessed was never a podcast renter obsessed was always supposed to be a community. That’s why renter obsessed episodes were always live, we always had 20 to 30 people join in. And we had a lot of consistency with the people that would come every week. We had live events, meetups at conferences, we had a huge pool party at Aim this last year that was so fun, we had ton of people show up. So, the most powerful thing that you can do as a marketer, is facilitate a group of people to amplify your message. And so like, for example, I mean, we talked about like influencer marketing, which I think it’s kind of dying off, honestly. But like, the people relate more to their peers, people want to buy from, ask their peers for advice. And when you when you see a bunch, a big group of people advocating for something and loving something and feeling connected to something, that have no stake in the game, other than they’re just getting something out of it, personally, I think that says a lot about a company, about a brand, about a podcast. And so that was the key, that’s what made renter obsessed different than, honestly, all the other podcasts in the multifamily industry, in my opinion.
Martin: Yeah, I agree with that wholeheartedly. I mean, that makes total sense. Building a community, that’s everything, you know. They’re the ones that’s going to spread the word. They’re the ones that’s gonna share the podcast and get more subscribers and really just build something that’s true value. So that’s pretty powerful.
Sydney: Yeah, I mean, podcast, when you think about podcasting in a traditional sense, it’s a one to many, it’s an audience, right? But the way renter obsessed was different. And please don’t think this was an original idea. I definitely ripped off someone else, like everyone does. Follow the playbook to the teeth. But the differences between you know, an audience as a community as an audience is one to many in a community’s many to many. And so, you only have, I have limited time in a day, people have limited access to me, but they had access to each other and they met each other at regional events and form these really important friendships and good networking opportunities for, I mean, we were able to bring in early young marketers just getting their foot in the door, put them side by side with seasoned VPs that you see on stage at every conference, and they were able to develop relationships and get the name recognition. It’s incredible for people’s careers.
Martin: Actually, that’s a perfect segue into the next part. So, you and I actually met at the multifamily social media Summit in Napa earlier this year. You interviewed me for one of your micro podcasts on SEO and Google business profile, which was super fun. I bet going to all the different conferences and interviewing multifamily professionals. It was a real learning experience for you and it was also expanding your professional network even more. What are some things you learned around the power of building a strong network in the multifamily industry?
Sydney: Oh, my gosh, the multifamily industry is so freaking fun. I miss you guys every day. I don’t mean; I want to pedal back a little bit on that question because I clearly am not answering your questions what you want me to but here I am. From a b2b marketing perspective, conferences are the most costly thing you could do, with a very low return. You think you’re gonna go there and you’re gonna get all these leads, you’re gonna make all these sales, no one’s going to a conference and buying something at a conference. And so, what you do, but back in the day conferences were all we had, we didn’t have communities and social media in the same way in a business sense, you know 10 years, 5, 10 years ago. And so, conferences were where you went to connect with your customers and potential customers. I don’t feel like that it’s that way anymore. I think we have a lot more access to each other, you have a lot faster access to information. So how as a b2b marketer, do you justify the tens of thousands of dollars you’re spending on a multifamily conference, I mean, some of these booths are $15,000. And think about how much your product cost and like the lifecycle like how long it takes to sell it. And so, I was really very, I really wanted to get more out of these conferences. And I think that conferences are really key way to, they’re excellent opportunity for content. Our multifamily, the social media summit, tipsy edition episodes were some of our most popular episodes. The energy is entirely different. Number one, I was kind of drunk like I’ve been drinking wine all day, every day. I was a little looser, I talked back in a high-pitched voice, but the banter and the way we were able to connect and what came out of it was different. It felt different than zoom. But also, I had access to all these speakers, they just popped in for 10 minutes. Like I didn’t need to hunt them down and take an hour of their day. It was a, it’s a really good opportunity t have content. I was just at a conference last week for the moving industry and there’s a podcast in that industry too. And they had a deal, just like I did with social media summit like it was the official podcast of social media summit. This was like the official podcast of that and they had a whole setup with a video, camera, like they look like a newscasting station. And what’s great about that is, not everybody in the company gets to go to a conference. Like when I first started going, I had to beg to go to these things. When I was multifamily marketer, it costs a lot of money to put up your employees. And so, it’s very exclusive, which the content is relevant to so many other people at the company. And if they don’t go to the conference, like they don’t get access to it. Yeah, maybe they might read a blog post later, their coworker brought home some notes. But I loved doing that at social media summit, because they got little snack sized versions of all the sessions. And so, they were able to have like, they were able to have access to the content in the same way and actual conference attendee was. So, I think that was really valuable. What was your original question?
Ronn: Love it.
Martin: I mean, you really touched on them, I mean, really is just about, you know, building your network and how it helped you, you know, just see more overall and the power of it. So, I think you touched on a lot of important aspects there.
Sydney: Yeah. I still talked to some of them. We overall busy. Hopefully, hopefully, I’ll see them again soon.
Ronn: Yeah, I love the tipsy episodes. I’ll have to go back and listen.
Sydney: Well, I mean, some people want to listen to a full hour and some people just want 10-minutes, 7-minutes even so.
Ronn: Yeah, and again in today’s busy time, especially if you were doing them at conferences like that is just, that’s plenty of time really right? To get quality time to gather, get the nuts and bolts and yeah, and then cheers with your glass of wine or go to the bar and go get more.
Sydney: Yeah, don’t slurp into podcast mics.
Ronn: Yeah, yeah. It’s that thing where you put on a, we have it on the mic.
Sydney: Oh, a little like foam thing Yeah.
Ronn: Outside of podcasts seen as the ultimate b2b marketing tool, what are some other tools apartment marketers should know about?
Sydney: Okay, clarify this question, because you said b2b marketers, but then you said apartment marketers and I feel like apartment marketers are b2c marketers. Whereas like the vendor side or b2b marketers.
Martin: Okay, I guess you’re right, probably focused on b2b marketing side. Yeah.
Sydney: Okay. So, yeah, I think like on the underside, consistency. We don’t see a lot of consistency. I think that’s also what made renter obsessed, really powerful, and a lot of the other podcasters now is we consume information at an alarming rate. And if you, one of the biggest things that I have, mistakes, I think I’ve made in my past as a marketer is being so and I do this all the time, I’m so obsessed with everything being perfect and polished. And so, I spend a lot of time like thinking about it, and strategizing, and bringing someone in and writing this ultimate e-book, or whatever the thing might be that I’ve been working on for months, and put it out there. Nobody cares. And it’s all this effort, the return is not very much. And honestly, it’s generic, because I probably copied 10 other people and like, compile them together, and I built this thing. And especially now the way younger people and not younger people, a lot of us are consuming content, we’re consuming it in a very raw and authentic way. Look at the fall of meta on Instagram, the fall of meta, Instagram, nobody cares anymore. Everybody’s on Tik Tok. And the biggest difference between Instagram and Tik Tok. They have the same features, the algorithms that are in Tik Tok, but one is raw and one is real and one is more consistent. Like if you’re a b2b marketer in multifamily, but honestly in any industry, leverage, create a map of influence. Find out where your customers are, who they care about, what channels are listening to, create a map and get your ass on that map every single day. Comment on people’s posts, post things, post questions, posts videos, show your face, be real. Don’t be too polished. I think that is a huge opportunity in b2b. But it’s scary too because like your big professional company. Look at, okay, look at when OG, look at Wendy’s Twitter, just bantering Wendy’s Twitter. They made such a, just fighting with other fast-food chains, and being super. I don’t know, it just was funny. And it was unexpected from a large corporation and it was really real. That’s like an old, like people have been talking about that for years. But I think there’s an opportunity there for b2b marketers should be humans. Yeah.
Ronn: That’s huge. I mean that authenticity speaks so much, right? And that’s how we, breaks down barriers, it opens up doors. It just, you really can connect with your person.
Martin: Authenticity and consistency are key.
Ronn: And consistency. Yeah, yeah. And when you said that you’re so polished but you’re, I mean that you focus on the details and everything but I like how you’re like and don’t be so polished like, find that middle ground of like, you know being consistent being like, you know, cross your t’s dot your i’s. You know what we were talking about.
Sydney: I mean, yeah, Grammarly, get the Google Chrome Grammarly but also like be yourself. Yeah.
Martin: Yeah, keep it raw. So, what’s your one thing your podcast venture did that you didn’t expect? Like, overall, like, is there something that just came out of it that you just weren’t expecting to learn from?
Sydney: I was not expecting anyone to show up first. Never lost so much sleep, every Wednesday night. Oh, no, who’s gonna show up on my birthday party on Thursday. But the thing that I didn’t expect, and honestly, in such a short period of time, I mean, it feels like a big thing but we only did it for like eight months. The thing that I didn’t expect is, how deep the relationships were. And not between me and the members. But yes, between me and the members, but between the members of the renter obsess crew, like to the point where when we went to conferences, we walked around like a little gang, not a negative way, like, we were friends. And what was so powerful about it is, a lot of the people that were really the core members of the renter obsessed crew, they were going to conferences by themselves for the first time ever, in fearful that they would be alone or not have friends, they show up and they have friends built in. And that wasn’t really something I was expecting, I mean, when we set out to do it, we thought, oh, we’re going to create great content on this subject for the multifamily industry. And we’re going to bring, make it live and bring in people because like I said, I really wanted to focus on the qualitative feedback before I focused on quantitative, and there’s nothing more powerful qualitatively than having live people’s faces there. And while you’re talking and seeing if they’re getting bored, or seeing if they’re engaging, so that was really, that was the reason why I made it live initially, because I wanted to make sure that the content was resonating, I did not expect the relationships to the level that they were.
Ronn: That’s awesome. And they continue, as you mentioned, right, though you’re outside of, you know, kind of outside of multifamily currently Go ahead.
Sydney: For some context, I work at Updater which you all know and love, but Updaters a much larger company than you know, I had no idea they have several subsidiary brands, I’m running all the marketing for one of their subsidiary companies, which is a software for the moving industry, so goodbye my lovely multifamily marketer friends and hello.
Ronn: Yeah, yeah, you’re still in. Yeah, so thanks for.
Martin: Multifamily gang.
Sydney: Any pop over on that update or sign here, here and there.
Ronn: Yep, exactly. Well, and like I mentioned, normally you get sucked back into multifamily. Whether you like it or not.
Ronn: You’re not too far away. So obviously being a podcaster, I’m sure you listen to all kinds of podcasts. But if you could choose one, which one would be your top choice today.
Sydney: My favorite murder. Okay. I’ve given this podcast so much free advertising in my days. So, over the last few months, I’ve kind of been quiet, as you’ve noticed, I’ve gotten into a bit of a hibernation self-care land. And I have stopped consuming so much marketing related content and business-related content and really have been just treating myself to trash, like books, like murder mystery books, and just like silly True Crime podcasts, not that it’s silly, obviously cover really serious topics but I just love to listen to the, my favorite murder, two comedians talking about true crime. True Crime obsessed to comedians, recapping documentaries. I mean, like I listened to the daily and stuff every morning, but really, if you want to like business podcasts, I’ve listened to Chris Walker’s podcast for a long time. I think he changed the name it was like stated demand, now it’s something new, it’s a b2b marketing podcast. Also, the person that I ripped off the idea for renter obsessed. Also, daycare has a podcast called Exit five. But yeah, I mostly listen to True Crime podcasts.
Martin: Yeah, I’m a true fan, True Crime fan myself. So yeah, can’t get enough of it.
Sydney: If you could just imagine a very basic millennial white woman. That’s me. I listen to Taylor Swift and True Crime podcast and enjoy pumpkin spice things. No shame.
Ronn: In that order.
Sydney: Number one, did I mention spice.
Ronn: Yes. With the pumpkin spice and then the true crime, yeah.
Martin: Oh, my goodness. Okay. Updater/Move HQ is your newest company, where you are the company’s marketing lead. Can you share a bit about what they do for the industry, for this different type of industry moving to storage and your current role there?
Sydney: Yes. So, I’m just the marketing lead for Move HQ. We have an awesome marketing team for Updater that I sit on with everyone. So, you guys know Updater? Updater is a moving app that’s invite only right now. So, you as a property management company can offer it to your residents, it helps them for their mail, sign it for their, you know, TV and Internet, all this stuff. They actually just launched a new product called Updater pro-onboarding, which, essentially, okay, there’s a black hole in the sales process of multifamily. And I am not the only one that has said this. We’ve talked, I’ve talked about it with many very well-known leaders in the multifamily industry. Your CRM does all these great things and you have your property management system, there’s a black hole in the center of that, and that is your welcome letter in your onboarding process. There’s a lot of back and forth like give me your electricity number like PGE we have it here.
Ronn: Your confirmation number.
Sydney: Yes. Did you do this? Did you get renter’s insurance? Did you all these things, there’s so much email back and forth, which, as a person who’s worked in a corporate office of a multifamily company, when things are not automated, and things are like reliant on humans, and you have no visibility into it, you don’t know if it’s happening. It’s a scary thing. And so, Updater solve that, they’re working with, they work with over half the NMHC top 50. They’re building product, their finishing building, I think it’s finished. They’re implementing it like restart and big companies, they’ve been working really closely with, to solve this major problem and give property management companies the visibility into the actual customer service that’s happening there. And then you’re, you know, getting people all the things that they need. It’s a more seamless experience for the renters, but it just saves the leasing office so much time. So that’s been the main focus of Updater and then I’m working on Move HQ, which is a software company that builds an entire suite of software for local moving companies, truck drivers. We’re working on something top secret right now that I can’t talk about, but it will be coming out soon. It’s a really big initiative at Move HQ. So that’s why they hired me, I’m their first marketing hire they’ve had in a lot of years. So, start from scratch, in the first few months we rebranded the company, we built them a new website. So, busy B is over here. That’s amazing.
Ronn: So, I have to ask, does Updater Move HQ or Sydney Weber have any plans to start up podcasts of their own?
Sydney: No, I think about this all the time, because you know, I’m a theater person. I just love the spotlight, like you asked me to be on a podcast. Oh, what happened to me, my childhood, where I needed this much attention. I would love to; I don’t I think we will. I don’t know about Updater. I’m kind of like, we’ll see where my role moves, where they need me. But right now, they really need me on Move HQ. And the thing about starting a podcast at Knock, is I wasn’t not customer. And so, I had a very, like I was a subject matter expert. I knew multifamily, been in my entire career. I don’t know anything now, like you think multifamily is complex? Oh my gosh, moving is insane. So, I don’t really know anything right now. But I do know that there’s a gaping black hole in this industry. content wise, there is not a lot of content. So, I think there’s a huge opportunity, I just had to figure out how I can swing it. What’s going to make most sense for this industry? Should I be the host? Should it be someone else? The format at renter obsessed, when I had a guest on every week, that might work and I can just you know, talk to me like I’m in kindergarten kind of host. But I don’t know, I think there’s always an opportunity for it. But I think there’s a lot of really big foundational stuff that needs to be built first before I’m ready. At Knock, I wasn’t running the whole marketing function, I was a player on a big team. But at Move HQ, I’m all they got right now. I mean, I’m supported by marketing team, but there’s a lot to do, so we’ll get there.
Martin: Yeah. So, your time in multifamily. Do you see anything as like an upcoming marketing, apartment marketing trend that maybe we should keep our eyes on?
Sydney: I feel like I would have had such a strong opinion about this three months ago.
Martin: Too much True Crime.
Sydney: Melting into True Crime podcasts. I always think we should be making sure we keep a super close eye on other industries. What is working? I think that I would love to see the multifamily industry focus on retention across their portfolio. So, I think what they’re starting to do a lot more of this from like a centralized leasing perspective. But if you think about other companies like they nurture their customers, you get emails, like I get emails every day from some brands. Some of it’s annoying, and I don’t think we need to go that far. But like, how can you really, I don’t want to say like, eliminate a lot of your marketing spend, but like you’ve spent so much money on marketing, like SEO, for example, SEO is such a great investment, because it’s kind of you build it, you build this machine, and then you’re not paying Google ads and a bunch of money because you’re ranking, right? Your pay paying all this money for your traffic, I’d love to see this industry nurture their. And I don’t know if it’s possible with different owners, and I’m sure there’s a lot of, when we work for some types of property management companies like owner managers, but I’d love to see this industry invest more in nurturing the leads over the cycle of years, instead of just like the 7 to 10 follow ups before the move.
Martin: Lead Nurturing, yep, that is a big topic for us as well. So long term lead nurturing too, that’s the having that renter’s profile and have been able to follow them, you know, when they’re getting their leases up, you know, what’s happening with them then.
Ronn: You know, so well, the other benefit that I’ve always said in our industry, is that your customer moves in with you as when you’re an apartment marketer, right? So that you have a captured audience, if you will, and you could do those nurturing, and they’re going to expect you to follow up with them and check in.
Sydney: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Especially if you are receiving notices from residence, or maybe it’s not like, hey, do you want to renew your lease? Maybe it’s, hey, do you want to renew your lease? Or check out this brand-new building we’re building across the street, like upselling your properties to them. If it works, like if it’s an, obviously it’s better if you’re an owner manager, but I think that that’s something we see a lot in other industries, that we could capitalize on in multifamily as well.
Ronn: Yeah. Why even if there’s like retail at the new building, that you’re building down the street, you know, it’s like, help that building just get traffic overall, whether it’s for you personally, or for the retail that you worked so hard to get that commercial tenant in.
Sydney: Oh, yeah.
Ronn: That’s not easy.
Ronn: So, in your life of multifamily conferences, what was your favorite and why?
Sydney: Not trying to make enemies here. I will say, okay, my best memories were at Aie. That’s the conference that I went to three times, as my first ever multifamily conference, when I was a little teeny multifamily marketer who had no friends yet. That was my first conference and I was absolutely blown away. And I made this promise to myself, I was like, one day, Sydney, you’ll get to speak on stage, just like that. And like, you’ll be smart enough, you’ll be good enough to be a speaker. And like that was a goal of mine. And I loved how it obviously it was in a gorgeous location but it was a very, it was targeted towards marketers. It was my demographic and it was large, bigger than social media summit, which was a gorgeous, I love that conference as well. But I got to you know, very quickly, I achieve that goal of mine and that was really exciting to do. And I got to speak on stage twice with brilliant people, about topics that I really cared about. And so another thing that was really special, was our renter obsessed pool party, which is our first like, real renter obsessed meetup after, the first real conference after it kicked off and became popular. So, I’d say just because of that, special memories, that’s my favorite conference.
Martin: And I remember AIM, I’m pretty sure you guys were like getting down or dancing and stuff too, right? the whole.
Sydney: I have a claim to multifamily fame. And that is, the two guys that run Aim, Dennis and Steve, were in their very first, I filmed their very first Tik Tok ever so.
Ronn: Oh, sweet.
Sydney: On stage, like I told you guys that I believe in edutainment, because life is too short to be bored. It’s not just about education. Like if you’re up on stage, people are there to be entertained. And I really, that was really important to me in my session, in our session with our group like we had gimmicks left and right. Like we were not just there to talk about marketing, we’re just here to talk about multifamily. Like, we’re there to entertain the crowd. And they put us at two o’clock when everyone was half asleep anyway, so we were like, all right. This is our job; we’re waking them, stand up and the whole audience is in the Tik Tok with us.
Ronn: That is so awesome.
Martin: I love the part you know, being able to deliver the content in a good way but also being able to have a sense of humor and make the audience laugh. It really engages them a little bit more and you know, I think they learn a lot more from that so.
Sydney: Thank you.
Martin: What’s one lesson your time podcasting has taught you, that you think everyone should learn at some point in their life?
Sydney: I think it goes back to what I said earlier about, this is such an overused word authentic. So let me define this a little bit more. I think that people connect with people and that will always be the case, I’ve conviction in your thoughts and like what you, don’t. I am a young woman in corporate America, I find myself constantly second guessing myself. Being in situations where I don’t understand what’s happening, like, well, I must not understand because there’s so much smarter than me, right? I just don’t know yet and, or there’s so many, so much jargon they’re using and there’s so many acronyms are using. And I feel like now where I’m at my life. And I’m looking at that, and people communicating that way, that is not a flex, speaking in a way that people, normal humans don’t understand is not a flex, it is gatekeeping. And trying to look like you’re smarter than them. And I don’t think that’s how humans want to be communicated with. And so I’d say my biggest takeaway as a podcaster, my biggest takeaway as a marketer, and my biggest takeaway as a woman in corporate America, is to not, don’t worry about sounding like everyone else, connect with humans as a human, because the most valuable skill you can have as a marketer, and the most valuable skill you can have as a person and in a business is, to be able to effectively communicate in a way that the largest group of people understands.
Ronn: That is, where’s the mic? That’s powerful, right there. So true, I think everybody can relate to that as well. I mean, I respect the women in business and the young woman in business, as you mentioned, I think that a lot of people can relate to that, even when you’re not young. And you’re still, you’re not trying to be a subject matter expert, you know. That’s huge. Yeah.
Sydney: Yeah. Trust your instincts sometimes. Just because someone is in a position where they’ve done it a bunch of times, and they’re much higher up than you, doesn’t mean that your fresh perspective is not going to make a huge impact.
Martin: Get over that impostor syndrome.
Sydney: Oh, gosh, yeah.
Ronn: Earlier you used. Earlier, I’m looking at my notes, give yourself some grace, earlier you use that statement. And I think that the other half to that, if I may impose this on that thought is, I think we all should have grace for, even if you are that subject matter expert, if you are that veteran in the industry, and I’m speaking on behalf of having been on, you know, the apartment side, as well as the vendor side, the supplier side, there’s often times where we want to have that kind of communication, conversations. And this season veteran person just cannot be bothered. So, I think race on both sides can really help what you identified as like, you know, trying to break in and you know, give everybody that open door. Yeah, let me break down that wall. You know, it’s almost like, you’re the new vendor, I don’t need to talk to you, I talk to this person. I’m good, you know.
Sydney: An interesting thing that I’ve discovered in the multifamily industry, all those people that you put on these pedestals in the industry, they’re always on stage at these conferences, they’re the big names, they’re always guests on podcasts and stuff. If you actually talk to them, they’re so lovely. They’re so kind, they’re so willing to give you the time of day into mentor you or to what to whatever, they’re so lovely. And it’s really kind of crazy when you get older, and you just like start looking at, it’s like when you start looking at your parents as human beings, you know. And I’ve gained so much in my life, in my career by having the guts to talk to someone, to talk to a person that I was afraid to talk to and to ask for things. People like to be asked for things, it makes them feel special and like they have something to offer. And so, my advice would be don’t, be afraid to talk to someone or ask, even if, what’s the worst that can happen. They turn out to be a jerk, then don’t talk to them.
Ronn: I think maybe that’s where the tipsy episodes were great, right? Because it’s like everybody’s kind of a little loose like a I’ve a glass of wine get over it.
Sydney: They, later in the day they got a little, earlier morning one that weren’t too bad.
Ronn: Yeah. Have a mimosa.
Ronn: So, I know you’ve been in touch about this a little bit about Move HQ and Updater. But do you guys have any updates or new product releases that you’d like to share?
Sydney: Yeah, so I talked about a little bit earlier Updater pro or onboarding. I wish that I would have had it when I was on the multifamily side. I don’t work on that product at all because I’m so focused on Move HQ, but oh my gosh, I don’t know of anyone else in the industry that is filling that gap and so It’s really cool to see and they truly built it by talking to leasing agents. It is truly built by and for leasing agents. Obviously, it has a huge impact on transparency for the corporate office as well but I think that’s important. I think it’s important to understand what’s happening in every step of the sales cycle and not have any black holes. And as far as mov HQ, we’re building the top-secret thing right now, I would love to tell you, but honestly, it doesn’t really affect the multifamily industry at all. But it’s, I can say it’s huge. And it’s very exciting to be a part of, and it was very strange going to a conference last week and not we’re not selling anything right now. Because we’re heads down building, focusing on this top-secret thing. But it was weird going to a conference and like not knowing anyone, but also not being able to tell you what we’re working on but it’s also kind of fun. Fun fact.
Ronn: That’s awesome.
Sydney: Fun fact, studying psychology, go to a conference and tell people that you’re not selling and that you can’t sell to that, like you can’t tell them what you’re working on. And they want to buy so bad.
Martin: Strategy, the invite only strategy, right? Oh, exclusive. Powerful.
Sydney: Yeah, absolutely.
Martin: Well, Sidney, thank you so much for taking time today, to hang out with Ronn and I, it’s always a pleasure to chat it up with you. And I really, hopefully, at some point in the future, we need to hang out again, actually in person. So hopefully that will happen. And Ron, you have any final thoughts?
Ronn: No, honestly, I continue to be taking notes. I thoroughly, I was very info obtained. Edutain, what is it?
Sydney: Edutain, I didn’t make up the word, again, stolen from someone else.
Ronn: I’ll take that. It’s all good. No, it’s such a pleasure. I mean, you bring such you know, I can see the theater background and you, I love and appreciate that. You gave so many good nuggets to our industry, to our people to all industries really, as we mentioned, some of this stuff translates to anything. The podcast about the employer side, I think that’s phenomenal. I know some players that we’ve worked with together, that I think could do it because they have the bandwidth, maybe on the marketing side, and they have like thousands of employees. So, imagine how many guests they could have. That’s huge. Especially in today’s day and age, DEI, talks about women and business, women in tech and multifamily, you name it, you know, that’s just, there’s so much out there. And I think today, we’re looking at employers in a different lens, at least as an employer, you know, a growing company, I’m looking at it in a different lens too, the true partnership, you know, working remotely, maybe never even meeting your employees. That’s what I’m facing right now. How do you truly know that they’re in, they love us, they want to stay with us, you know, they made a great fit? I think that if they could have a lens into our voice as a company. So, I mean, I could go on and on and on about that. But thank you for sharing that. Thank you for sharing your insights, your energy, like I don’t want this to end and we definitely need you to come back. And again, I’m like Martin, I’m going to join that date if you guys connect together.
Sydney: Yeah. Amazing. I can’t wait. Thank you so much for thinking of me and giving me a little window back into my most loved industry who I missed so much. And let them all know that I missed them and I will see them again soon. And thank you for having me.
Ronn: Awesome. All right, be one of our affiliate podcasts, you know, interviewing at conferences.
Sydney: In the field. Yeah.
Ronn: That’s it. Yeah.
Martin: All right. So thank you everyone for listening to The Multifamily Podcast today, please take time to visit Updater.com and MoveHQ.com and check out their integrated suite of technology, trusted by the top moving and storage companies today. Remember, you can subscribe to our podcasts at MultifamilyPodcast.com We are on Spotify and iTunes and all the other podcast platforms. Also, you can request your free marketing analysis from ApartmentSEO.com and set up your demo to learn more about our full suite of digital marketing services. Until next time, everyone. Bye y’all.
Ronn: Bye, bye.