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Monday, October 22, 2012

Marketing Mix

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Apartment Hunting


Finding the most effective advertising mix


Prof. Lester Phares


livepaperhelp.com



Group 1-1


Andrew Strum


Marcy Webster


Rebecca Thompson


Floyd Crisp


Thursday December , 00


Table of Context


Executive Summary ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K....


Introduction ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K.4-8


Methodology ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K..-11


How fieldwork will be conducted ¡K¡K¡K.-10


Analysis of collected data ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K..10


Possibly sources of error ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K11


Results ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K.1-1


Conclusion ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K...14-16


Discussion ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K14-15


Recommendations ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K15-16


Appendix ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K...


A-1 ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K...


A- ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K...


A- ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K...


A-4 ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K...


A-5 ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K...


A-6 ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K...


A-7 ¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K...


I hereby declare upon my word of honor that I have neither given nor received unauthorized help on this work.





Executive Summary


Brittany Commons Apartments was interested in identifying the most successful and least helpful aspects of the advertising mix in order to provide the most accommodating service to potential residents. Because of slow periods during the fall and winter months in the apartment industry, it is important for Brittany Commons to utilize the best method of advertising in order to reach the most number of people. The research team created a strategy for determining the advertising method that works the best in order for it to be used advantageously in a slower time of business. Management officials at Brittany Commons created questions that all potential residents were asked. The research team in turn analyzed the information in order to provide the apartment complex with accurate and helpful information. By carefully analyzing the results, the research team found that the Apartment Finder¡¦s Guide was used most by potential residents, and professional realtors were used least. The research team recommended using the Apartment Finder¡¦s Guide most often, as it has potential to reach the largest amount of potential residents.





Introduction


Housing is one of the most important factors people figure into their lives as they decide where to work and raise their families. Some people search for long periods of time to find a suitable residence. In return, owners and managers of properties tend to make what they have available most agreeable to the prospective market.


Brittany Commons Apartments, owned by Cullen Properties, is an apartment community located in Spotsylvania, Virginia, off of Courthouse Road. It has 576 apartments with one, two, and three bedrooms available. Prices range from $85 to $1145 for a one-year lease. The community is five years old. The first phase of construction was completed in 18, followed by the next phase with a completion date of 000. The newest apartments finished construction in 00. Brittany Commons is not a tax credit community and strictly follows the Fair Housing Act. Residents of Brittany Commons must earn at least $0,000 per year in order to reside in the apartments.


Summer is a busy time of year for apartment complexes. People want to move while the weather is warm, try to move before school starts in order to get their children acclimated to a new location, and college students are typically looking for places to live when they graduate in the spring. Summer serves as the busiest time of year in the apartment rental industry. It is the time when the most people come into the rental office with questions, seeking information, and possibly signing a lease. With the return of autumn, winter, and the holiday season, Brittany Commons Apartments typically experiences a significant slow period in the rental of apartments. People are generally more settled during these months because they have used the summer months to get whre they need to be and establish new homes. Autumn and winter bring questionable weather, a colder and less pleasant time to move. As holidays approach, people tend to be busy preparing for them and are more likely to get settled long before the holiday arrives. Holidays are family times, and people do not want to be moving in the middle of a holiday. The seasonal slowing of business presents a problem for apartment complexes. Apartments that are not rented my not be occupied for many months, with a loss of revenue.


During the summer of 00, Brittany Commons Apartments successfully occupied all of the second floor phase three apartments, but failed to lease all of the ground floor and terrace level apartments. Several apartments have never been occupied. The staff at Brittany Commons sees this as a potential problem, as it is their goal to rent all of their apartment units and provide acceptable housing for all potential customers. The staff believes that advertising is an important component of whether of not people seek Brittany Commons. By advertising to a specific group of people, Brittany Commons may have more success.


Brittany Commons uses several advertising methods to reach a large segment of the potential renting population. The sources most utilized include the Free Lance Star, the Internet, the yellow pages, and the Apartment Finder¡¦s Guide. All of the sources are readily available to the public.


With the approach of the winter months and holiday season ahead, business at Brittany Commons is likely to slow down significantly. Preparing to cope with this, a research design has been created to examine aspects of the advertising mix used by Brittany Commons. The research will identify which aspect of the advertising mix is most successful and which is least helpful. The research will also take into consideration which method of advertising is most profitable by carefully examining the advertising rates that accompany each form.


Full occupancy is important in realizing the utilization of resources and determining the most revenue for the business. By finding the most advantageous way of reaching the public, Brittany Commons will be able to keep within its marketing and advertising budget while possibly reaching its full potential. It is also important for this research to be done in order to provide an accommodating service to its potential tenants. By identifying the advertising mix that best reflects the tendencies of renters, Brittany Commons can develop a way to continue to use that avenue of advertising. Since is it usual for business to slow during the fall and winter months, Brittany Commons can use this time to evaluate the findings of the research and begin to create a plan of action for helping the business grow during the typical slow months.


The research will be completed through the leasing office at Brittany Commons. The focus will be on exactly how potential residents obtained information about the apartments. Each prospective resident who calls the office about information or who walks in to talk about or view an apartment is asked the same questions. Since the focus is on the advertising mix, potential residents are asked to tell what form of advertising they specifically used to find out about Brittany Commons. This information is an integral part of finding what the most successful way of advertising is. Approximately 150 people will be used in the research to determine what avenue of advertising is most widely used.


The Leasing Consultants will collect all of the pertinent information for the study. Cullen Properties designed the questions that potential residents are asked. The research group is not allowed to see all of the information that is obtained; therefore most of the research will be done confidentially. The information requested would be name, telephone number, address, and what the potential residents are looking for in an apartment. Finally, at the end of the conversation, the Leasing Consultant will ask how the potential resident heard about Brittany Commons. Different interviewers may have different styles and may ask questions in a different order. Interviews with potential renters who actually come to the apartment complex will take longer than those on the phone because they will be shown an actual apartment. However, all prospective tenants will be asked the same questions to acquire the same information from each of them. All of this information will be written onto a blue form, which will then be filed away in the leasing office after the application process or at the end of the month.


After the information is collected, the research group will analyze the data. Finding out how the potential residents hear about Brittany Commons is just one part of the research process. With the information obtained, the research group will help Brittany Commons establish the most successful way of advertising and will create new approaches to the advertisements that are used the most.


Finding out where people have learned about Brittany Commons is a real business problem. With the information that will be obtained during the research process, the business can find out how to better serve its customers. The overall goal of Brittany Commons is to provide the best service for its customers. By learning the ways in which its customers operate and think, Brittany Commons has a better chance of success. The apartment complex would like to utilize all it has to offer, and it would like to present its facilities to the community. In order for it to do that, it needs to find the best ways to get information out to all potential residents to draw more clientele in to view and possibly rent the apartments that are available.


The biggest form of error the research group sees as occurring is that of human error. Often, transcription error and speaking errors will be the biggest forms of error that will be noticed. There is not a significant chance that those being interviewed will skew the information about where they heard about Brittany Commons. The research analysts will have to be wary of possible human error on the part of the interviewers when compiling results of the actual research.





Methodology


Responses from approximately 150 individuals will be collected and analyzed to determine the most effective and also the least effective marketing or advertising device for Brittany Commons Apartments. The data will be collected from these respondents during a personal interview in the Brittany Commons leasing office. The duration of the interview could last anywhere from three minutes to 15 minutes depending on how much information the respondent wants about Brittany Commons. All respondents will express interest in renting from Brittany Commons by visiting the office. A small card will contain all of the information that is needed for research and will be filled out by a Brittany Commons Leasing Consultant.


How field work will be conducted


The respondent will sit down with a leasing consultant and will be asked several questions. Sensitive questions will be asked first concerning name, phone number, current address and occupation in order to establish a connection with person. Right after the sensitive questions are asked, the question of most interest will be asked. It is an open-ended question simply asking, ¡§How did you hear about Brittany Commons?¡¨ Finally, the leasing consultant will determine the needs of the potential resident by finding out when he needs to move in and what apartment size and floor plan he desires. The interview will be kept friendly and the leasing consultant will be trying to establish a bond with the potential resident since the respondent is also looking for a home. Once the card is completed, the respondent will either know whether he wants to view an apartment or not. The leasing consultant will then show the model apartments. Once the respondent has come to the decision as to whether or not to view an apartment the interview is over.


Analysis of Collected Data


Once the desired number of respondents has been collected, the data will be analyzed and tabulated by hand. How the person heard about Brittany Commons is of most interest to this particular research project. Also the needs of the respondent will be recorded because there are only a couple of apartment properties that offer a two bedroom with a den or three bedroom apartments and the research team is also interested in determining the needs of its clients.


Once the data has been tabulated it will be analyzed. Graphs and charts will be developed to better grasp which advertising mix would most greatly benefit Brittany Commons. The research team will further examine the number of people to occupy the apartment and how many bedrooms respondents wanted. This will enable to the team to determine if Brittany Commons should advertise about the availability of the apartments.





Section 1.01 Possible Sources of Error and the Steps taken to Reduce or Correct for Error


Due to the questions being so easy to answer, it is doubtful that a respondent will lie about how he found out about Brittany Commons. People typically respond easily to these questions due to the fact that the staff at the leasing office must do a background check, pull a credit report, and find out a resident¡¦s income. Respondents also know that any personal information is kept confidential so that the public will not know about their personal lives.


The other way that the error has been reduced is the fact that only one person will conduct the interviews with the respondents. Each leasing consultant has a different style of interacting with potential residents so only one leasing consultant will be used.


There may be researcher error when tabulating the results. This will be corrected by having more than one member of the group look over the data. The only other type of error would be interviewer error with having the interviewer write down the wrong answer to the question.








Results


The main goal of this research project was to identify which method of advertising is the most effective for Brittany Commons Apartments. The seven methods that the respondents used were; the internet, Apartment Finder¡¦s Guide, referrals from current residents, walk-ins, realtors, and newspaper advertisements. One hundred fifty potential residents were sampled and each respondent provided the interviewer with information about; the size of the apartment, the number of occup0ants, and how they had heard about Brittany Commons. The Apartment Finder¡¦s Guide proved to be the most effective with eighty-one (54%) of the respondents saying that they used this method to inquire about Brittany Commons. The internet proved to be the second most effective method with eighteen (1%) of the respondents using the computer to obtain information about Brittany Commons. Referrals from other residents proved to be the third most effective method of advertising with seventeen (11 1/%) respondents obtaining information from current residents. The next most effective method of advertising was no advertising at all; walk-ins composed 1 (8%) of the answers of how respondents heard about Brittany Commons Apartments. The yellow pages in the phone book and newspaper advertisements each had 10 respondents, who used these methods to obtain information about Brittany Commons. Finally realtors proved to be the least effective in regards to advertising for Brittany Commons, with only two respondents utilizing them to obtain information about Brittany Commons.


Other important statistics that were collected from this data were the average number of people to be occupying one apartment and the average number of bedroom applicants wanted. The average number of people to be occupying one apartment is .84 people. A majority of applicants, 7 of 150, requested to live in a two bedroom apartment. Only 0 applicants wanted a one bedroom. While 47 applicants wanted a three bedroom.





Conclusion


Discussion


When trying to determine which advertising method works best, the research team collected the data and performed different types of analysis as well as using different equations to try to find evidence to support our hypothesis.


When we analyzed the collected data, we found that the vast majority of respondents, 54 percent, used the Apartment Finder¡¦s Guide to find Brittany Commons. The next highest response to the question of how the respondent found Brittany Commons was the Internet. 1 percent of people chose to use the Internet to find an apartment at Brittany Commons. Respondents who found Brittany Commons through a friends referral were third in the ranking. 11.% of respondents answered the question of how they found Brittany Commons was through a friends referral. 8% of respondents were not influenced to come to Brittany Commons by any of the stated advertising and are thus counted as walk-ins. The yellow pages and the Classified Section in the newspaper both snagged 6.7% of the respondents each. 1.% or respondents found Brittany Commons through a realtor.


When formulating equations to support our hypothesis, the research team decided that it would be very useful to find out if we could determine the number of people that occupied each type of apartment. This would enable Brittany Commons to possibly have a more targeted advertising campaign. The research team then decided to put together a three null hypotheses stating that in a one bedroom apartment, only one person would be living it that apartment; in a two bedroom apartment, in which only two people would be living; and in a three bedroom apartment, in which only three people would be living. The research team decided to use these three null hypotheses for simplicities sake and to see if the team could rule out any of these three null hypotheses.


After putting all information into the three equations we came out with results for each hypothesis. In the first equation the Z value came out to be 1.1 which is less than the critical value of 1.6 at a confidence level of 5 percent. These results indicated that the research team could not reject the first null hypothesis.


In the second equation the Z value came out to be -.1 which was less than the critical value of 1.6 at a confidence level of 5 percent. These results indicated that the research team could not reject the second null hypothesis.


In the third equations the Z value came out to be -5.44 which was considerably less than the critical value of 1.6 at a confidence level of 5 percent. These results indicated that the research team could not reject the third null hypothesis.


These results ment that the research team could not reject any null hypotheses. These results mean that it is possible that one, two, and three residents respectively in the population at large occupy 50% of all the one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments.


Recommendation


There were a few places in our research that could have been more solid. One place, in which the research could have been better conducted, is if the staff or Brittany Commons could have been more open and forthcoming in providing the research team with information and assistance.


The questions that were asked of the respondents were not set by the researchers; but rather by Brittany Commons. It would have been more effective if the research team had been able to formulate its own questions. This would have allowed the research team to be more specific in trying to find the answers to the questions rather than having to wade through all the unimportant questions to get to the heart of the interview. Another reason it would have been beneficial for the research team to formulate its own questions is that it would allow for more flexibility. With increased flexibility, the research team could have added, dropped, or modified questions if the need arouse.


One other place in which there might be possible weakness is in the fact that all the research was done by a human. This opens the research to human error. This would be an uncontrollable error. The leasing consultant could have fudged answers, or hurried the respondent. This would be an error that the research team would have no control over.


When dealing with an established company, the research team should, in the future, sign a legally binding privacy agreement. This would have allowed the research team to conduct a more in depth study while at the same time respecting the privacy of the respondents.


Another area that could be improved in the future would be the number of team members with access to the data. This would help to eliminate some human error that may occur due to only a single team member being able to access the data.








Appendix


A-1


Research Data


number of bedrooms # people how they heard about the apartment


1 1 1 internet


1 apt finders guide


1 1 yellow pages


4 1 1 apt finders guide


5 1 1 internet


6 1 1 internet


7 1 1 apt finders guide


8 1 apt finders guide


1 walk in


10 1 referral


11 1 apt finders guide


1 1 1 apt finders guide


1 1 1 internet


14 1 1 apt finders guide


15 1 1 apt finders guide


16 1 1 apt finders guide


17 1 1 apt finders guide


18 1 apt finders guide


1 1 referral


0 1 1 referral


1 1 yellow pages


1 1 newspaper


1 1 yellow pages


4 1 apt finders guide


5 1 1 apt finders guide


6 1 apt finders guide


7 1 1 apt finders guide


8 1 apt finders guide


1 walk in


0 1 1 newspaper


1 apt finders guide


apt finders guide


apt finders guide


4 apt finders guide


5 apt finders guide


6 4 internet


7 4 walk in


8 referral


1 referral


40 apt finders guide


41 4 yellow pages


4 apt finders guide


4 4 apt finders guide


44 yellow pages


45 4 newspaper


46 internet


47 1 internet


48 1 internet


4 internet


50 4 walk in


51 walk in


5 referral


5 1 apt finders guide


54 1 apt finders guide


55 1 apt finders guide


56 apt finders guide


57 4 internet


58 yellow pages


5 walk in


60 1 walk in


61 internet


6 1 apt finders guide


6 1 apt finders guide


64 1 apt finders guide


65 apt finders guide


66 1 apt finders guide


67 apt finders guide


68 4 apt finders guide


6 4 relator


70 apt finders guide


71 internet


7 internet


7 1 apt finders guide


74 1 apt finders guide


75 4 walk in


76 referral


77 referral


78 referral


7 apt finders guide


80 apt finders guide


81 referral


8 referral


8 walk in


84 1 apt finders guide


85 apt finders guide


86 1 apt finders guide


87 apt finders guide


88 1 apt finders guide


8 apt finders guide


0 4 apt finders guide


1 apt finders guide


4 apt finders guide


walk in


4 yellow pages


5 4 newspaper


6 apt finders guide


7 1 apt finders guide


8 apt finders guide


apt finders guide


100 apt finders guide


101 apt finders guide


10 apt finders guide


10 1 apt finders guide


104 4 apt finders guide


105 4 apt finders guide


106 4 newspaper


107 newspaper


108 newspaper


10 4 newspaper


110 4 apt finders guide


111 4 yellow pages


11 4 yellow pages


11 4 apt finders guide


114 4 apt finders guide


115 1 apt finders guide


116 apt finders guide


117 apt finders guide


118 4 apt finders guide


11 4 apt finders guide


10 4 apt finders guide


11 4 referral


1 4 apt finders guide


1 4 apt finders guide


14 apt finders guide


15 4 apt finders guide


16 4 relator


17 apt finders guide


18 4 newspaper


1 4 walk in


10 4 referral


11 4 apt finders guide


1 4 apt finders guide


1 4 internet


14 internet


15 4 internet


16 apt finders guide


17 4 internet


18 referral


1 apt finders guide


140 4 walk in


141 4 referral


14 4 referral


14 apt finders guide


144 4 internet


145 4 yellow pages


146 newspaper


147 referral


148 apt finders guide


14 4 apt finders guide


150 4 apt finders guide


averages .11 .51


mode 4





A-








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