When I tell people that my goal is to be a commercial property manager,
the next question is usually, “What made you want to get into that?” At first, my answer was
a not-so-brief history of my career path. Now I just say that it’s something I fell into,
and apparently, I’m not alone. Property management is not high on the list of desired
career paths—but why is that?
This field is so multifaceted. In a given day, a property manager may step into roles
in accounting, construction, marketing, human resources, finance, risk management
or other fields. Here you may have the opportunity to interact with businesses ranging
from mom-and-pop operations to the world’s largest corporations. You might get to
“add your fingerprint” to the most prominent real estate sites in the country or help
families find the homes they’ve been looking for.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects our field to experience double-digit
job growth through 2026. The bulk of this growth is anticipated to be driven by the
increase in the number of buildings that are required to be professionally managed.
So, with property management being so dynamic and rewarding, and the number of
jobs expected to grow faster than average, how can we better market our profession to
make it a career of choice?
In 2009, McKinsey & Company developed a marketing model that better captures
the circular journey people take in their decision-making process. They named the
loop the Consumer Decision Journey (CDJ), and it has since replaced the traditional
marketing funnel model. While the CDJ was initially aimed at business-to-consumer
marketing, it has been found to be applicable to other efforts and certainly can be used
to build a brand around the property management career. For this, attention will be
focused on two stages: ( 1) active evaluation and ( 2) post-decision (post-purchase) experience. These two stages offer the most opportunity to connect with career explorers
and build influence throughout the rest of the CDJ. During active evaluation, people
gather information that will be the basis for their next career decisions. The post-decision experience provides insights into our profession that career seekers use to make
decisions about it.
The target market for our efforts can be stratified into two general categories: new and
experienced career explorers. Each has unique perspectives, motives and goals that
must be touched upon in order to effectively reach them.
New explorers will be looking for opportunities where they can gain experience,
develop skills and build personal brands. This group will typically be younger and
includes recent graduates with little experience. Here we’ll need to emphasize the benefits of a career in property management and clarify the journey from zero experience
to mastery. We will want to reach these explorers while they are still in school, and
partnerships with schools will be instrumental to that end.
Experienced explorers are either in transition or about to be. Their professional
experience may range from just a few years to a few decades. Regardless, people in
IREM and the IREM Foundation
sponsor an annual student
essay competition, the goals
of which are to:
>> Encourage and recognize
excellence in the study of real estate
property and asset management
>> Support the study of real estate
property and asset management
that has practical application to
the industry and would benefit its
>> Promote the development of
future real estate management
>> THIS YEAR’S TOPIC ASKED:
Even though the field of property
management has many opportunities
for those entering the industry, many
still say they stumbled into their
careers by chance. Imagine that
you are working for a marketing
firm and you’ve been hired to sell “a
career in property management and
to make it a career of choice.” What
would you say? What tactics would
you use? What would your strategy
be in marketing this career path to
students and young professionals?
Marketing a Career of Choice
By Jeffrey G. Faria