Austin, Tx – In just a few short months, Campus Advantage is successfully turning around a property that has struggled in the competitive Milwaukee student housing market by assembling and launching a rebranding effort that has already helped the property achieve a 2015/16 prelease rate of 21.8 percent with 51 signed leases gained from one marketing event alone.
Campus Advantage acquired The Marq, a 612-bed property formerly known as 2040 Lofts, last spring. The property faced challenges including a reputation as an older property. Many students did not consider it a premier property, making it difficult to compete with others serving Milwaukee’s Marquette University.
After acquiring the property, Campus Advantage worked with student housing marketing firm Catalyst to develop and launch the new brand under the name of “The Marq.” Catalyst’s team of student housing marketing experts worked collaboratively with Campus Advantage and property staff to develop a marketing and communications plan to drive awareness, interest and attendance at a VIP branding reveal party.
This effort included slowly teasing the Milwaukee student housing market with sneak peeks of The Marq’s new branding through email, direct mail and traditional advertising leading up to the VIP reveal party on Sept. 25. The party was a red carpet extravaganza that included live music, fine food from Charlie’s Catering and exclusive prizes and giveaways.
Of the 250 people attending the event, 51 signed leases, and an additional 87 leases are pending. These record-breaking numbers so early in the leasing season put The Marq in a position to reach its budgeted occupancy well ahead of schedule. The property’s prelease rate is already 13 percent higher than during the same period last year.
Jennifer Cassidy, Vice President of Management Services for Campus Advantage, said, “To be so far ahead on leases in September sets a new precedent for the leasing season for this market and throughout the student housing industry.”
In addition to the renewed emphasis on marketing and leasing, Campus Advantage worked with Catalyst to conduct extensive student surveys and market research. Campus Advantage wanted to learn what items students look for in an apartment community so that it could incorporate those items into the remodeling plans.
As a result, the company is renovating the property’s clubhouse, expanding and updating its 24-hour fitness center and adding a cyber café. New features to the property will also include a fresh market and Fitness on Demand features, both of which are unique to The Marq and not offered elsewhere in the Milwaukee market. Already complete are renovations to the courtyard, which now features fire pits, barbeque grills and hammocks. Campus Advantage also has upgraded The Marq’s high-speed Internet in response to resident feedback.
Many of these new amenities were unveiled at the Sept. 25 event. Leasing manager Michael Southern said, “The new name and added amenities resonate well with both Marquette students and those attending other area colleges and universities.”
Jamie Matusek, Vice President of Catalyst, said, “The Marq’s branding effort is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when a marketing firm works closely with a student housing company’s marketing and leasing department, as well as with the onsite property staff to put together a solid marketing and communication plan.”
“Coming together to solve these types of challenges is key,” she said. “Everyone has to come to the table with their own unique perspectives. When you do that, you can achieve great success with your marketing efforts and have a great case study to share with other properties.”