Sarah Fitzgerald Career Background
What is your biggest career achievement?
- My biggest career achievement thus far would have to be my involvement in the branding and marketing efforts for The Guild, Greystar's flagship apartment community attached to the new Global Headquarters in Charleston, SC. From the moment the developers, senior leadership, onsite team, and marketing team members got together to envision what we wanted to create, it was clear the name we chose for the property, The Guild, had so much depth of meaning that we had to carry its definition throughout the entirety of the renter journey and resident experience. By its definition, The Guild means "a collective of craftsmen or artisans working together towards a common goal." From the handcrafted live oak installation in the lobby created by local woodworking company Perrin Woodworking. to the local artwork featured throughout the hallways of the community. to the local treats featured in our refreshment bar, anyone who tours The Guild says it's one of the most unforgettable experiences they've ever had at an apartment community, and I could not be prouder of the fact that since its opening in early 2018, the hardworking team at The Guild continues to live and breathe the brand every step of the way. The community has secured record-setting rents in the downtown Charleston market, and was the recipient of a Greystar Marketing Award for Best Lease-Up Brand in 2019.
What is your ultimate career goal within the rental housing industry?
- I’ll admit when I first found myself entering this industry I never imagined how much I’d end up falling head over heels for the work that we do day in and day out, creating an experience and building a sense of home... a sense of security for our residents and future residents. In my work I am constantly quoting Seth Godin who said that "a brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that - taken together - account for a consumer's decision to choose one product or service over another." Set aside pricing, finishes, promotional collateral, location - the overall experience, with all of its ties to the five senses and to emotion, is truly what drives the resident journey and an unforgettable experience is truly at the end of the day what allows a prospect to choose where they want to live at the end of the day. The same goes for a resident who never wants to leave. Ultimately, I want to be a pioneer in creating and refining standards for the renter experience within our industry. I'd like to be able to take the same concepts that we see in the hospitality and tourism sector and combine innovative technology with personalized touches to build experiences that are unmatched and make the concept of apartment living more appealing than ever before.
What's one rental housing trend you have your eye on?
- Dynamic lead source attribution will absolutely be a complete game changer for the rental housing industry. Up until now, our lead management systems and reporting have always only allowed for single lead source attribution which impedes our ability as marketing professionals to be able to truly track renters' tendencies when it comes to the search for a new apartment. Today, it's clear that prospective renters are using a variety of different sources to influence their decisionmaking, and dynamic lead source attribution - which involves technology that allows phone numbers on our website to switch and display different tracking information depending on the source from which they originated - will allow us to rely on our lead management reporting to truly understand where to credit conversions for leases from our property website. With this technology, we'll be able to unmask some of the mystery surrounding digital campaign leads, make even more educated and data-driven decisions when it comes to advertising spend recommendations, and in turn build much more effective marketing campaigns that will ensure success for our communities.