Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Online tracking technology can give you lots of data, how can you leverage it?

We all understand the value of tracking our online traffic and its behavior. There are many great tools out there to gather that information. From Google analytics to Omniture and many more! Unfortunately I often come accross organizations that have the systems in place and the data available but do very little with it. The "corporate team" gets to see it and take some actions based on that information but it is quite limited. I will say that many certainly have teams dedicated to managing that effort but most don't.

If you look at a concrete example of how this data could be used it is not complicated. Each of your community probably has its own website (maybe within a main corporate domain). Each of these websites is an extension of your leasing centers. Wouldn't it make sense to share what is happening inside these spaces with the interested parties? Give your regional managers or property managers a simple way to access information about what is happening inside their online retail space? I for one would like to know if their are many people coming into my online space to learn more about my community or the communities in my area. With such information you would be able to engage your teams in giving you ideas and feed back about ways to best capitalize on the traffic. As they see the value and the exposure they get they will also help you drive more traffic to their online retail space. It is about leveraging your teams to help you increase your online performance.

So how is that done?
It is actually quite simple. You need to set up separate tracking for each site or speak with your service partners to create a limited access to that information based on their responsibility levels. I certainly would not grant access to the global data to a large group of people but keep it in direct relationship with what they are responsible for.

Everybody understands how valuable the internet is, unfortunately there are many inefficiencies in how/ where we spend money to drive traffic to our sites. As local managers are responsible for their expenses they will become partners in evaluating the quality of the traffic and its true value to their business. At the end of the day it has to be about gaining more leases, higher price per square foot and increasing customer satisfaction. So take a moment to evaluate how you can get your local teams engaged into a conversation about their online retail spaces.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Senior Housing: Is iPad the Right Web & Email Solution for 55+?

The iPad is everywhere … everywhere you turn, newspaper, television and websites and the official announcement of iPhone 4 took place last week as well. Spending a lot of time in airports and seeing the recent increase in road warriors toting the iPad for personal use, I’ve been searching for a senior user that is carrying one on an airplane.

On my recent flight to Phoenix I sat next to Mary, a 74 year old widower that lives between Phoenix and the Chicago suburbs, who had recently purchased an iPad and was using it on the flight. I struck up a conversation with her for about 30 minutes about her purchasing decision regarding the device. Some of the highlights from our conversation were:

  • * She wanted something to travel with that had email, web, books, movies, etc. in one place
  • * She had an old PC at home but had not used it much because it was old and slow. She would use her PC maybe once a week and uses her iPad everyday now to research her interests
  • * When asked if she would buy an iPhone, she said that her Motorola RAZR worked just fine. There was no feature that she needed to have “upgraded” with a new phone.
  • * She said she didn’t want a netbook because she was not good at typing
  • * When asked about writing letters, spreadsheets, etc., she said she didn’t know what Microsoft Office was … she prefers to handwrite letters and notes.
  • * She wanted to buy an iPad when it first came out but bought the 3G version as it was recommended by the guys at the Apple store Genius Bar based upon how she was going to use the device.

When asked about common complaints such as lack of USB ports and printing, she said she didn’t own a digital camera and that her grandchildren and kids emailed her pictures. She did say that she wished she could print out her boarding pass for Southwest though.

Mary’s profile is simple and I would hardly classify her as ‘techie’ nor your typical early adopter but for someone shopping for a simple solution that met her needs at a price point she was comfortable with.

Will seniors migrate to the iPad? Over time I believe that the price point and the fact that the device is truly a personal computing device rather than a laptop (business), more seniors will migrate to the iPad versus purchasing a netbook. Look for a rumored price drop around Christmas to spur the iPad as great gift from kids or grand kids or as an upgrade like the profile of Mary above. Is this the silver bullet for silver tech? No, but the elegance of its design and its price point make it a compelling device for the 55+ crowd when compared to other computing options in the market today.

What do you think? What are the opportunities for senior housing to leverage the iPad? Let us know what you think in the comments.

This is a guest post by George Patton that was originally published on Senior Housing News. George is the Publisher & Editor of SHN.