Property Management Insider's Guy Lyman looks at how owners and managers are using basic business intelligence tools to better quantify the marketing spend.

While cost-per-lead and cost-per-lease are useful metrics, they don't quite go far enough in terms of understanding the long-term quality of a rental household, or the "lifetime value of a customer." After all, renters who stay longer are worth more given the cost of turning a unit.

To understand this value, you have to factor in how much you save in turn and vacancy loss when they stay with you longer.

Here’s another example of BI at work. Your need to fill units ebbs and flows with changing numbers of move-outs and new leases. If you’re smart, you’re planning ahead to keep vacancy low. But how do you match lead sources to your vacancy projections? BI tells you which sources generate prospects who tend to move in quickly vs. those who take their time shopping for apartments. So if those vacancies will be upon you soon, you can pump up the lead source with the quick-decision renters.

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