Using Technology to Optimize Leasing in an Age of Social Distancing

“Pivoting how we marketed and sold ourselves during the pandemic has actually resulted in some good lessons,” says Tim Hermeling, executive vice president of marketing at Cortland. “Finding new ways of interacting with our prospects is a positive that has emerged from it.”

For example, Cortland quickly picked up on consumers’ change in behavior from looking at apartments on their phones to researching them from desktop devices. Whereas two-thirds of Cortland’s searches previously came in from mobile devices, it noticed that number dropped to around 55% during the pandemic, with desktop searches increasing to 45% of its traffic.

“Because people are at home, they're spending a lot more time on their desktops,” Hermeling says. “And so we shifted some of our lead generation and brand marketing efforts to more digital advertising platforms, so we can be where they are consuming their media.”

For instance, in addition to paid campaigns on apartment-specific sites such as or pay-per-click search campaigns, Cortland targeted broader reaching sites such as Pandora, to be front of mind with prospects when they were ready to look.

Beyond that, though, whereas physical traffic previously drove a lot of its prospect outreach, connecting with people on a broader array of websites helped Cortland reach potential residents in some cases before they even started an apartment search.