Meet the Marketer - Sara Graham_594w

This is the third in an ongoing series. Our goal is to accelerate your learning curve by connecting you to some of the brightest minds and best marketers in the apartment industry. Is there someone you think we should feature in a coming post? Let us know!

Sara Graham calls her career as a multifamily marketer a “happy accident.”

She fell into the real estate industry fresh out of college, after a failed one-year experiment at a PR agency. Flash forward 15 years and the Director of Marketing at The Dolben Company Inc. can’t imagine working in another profession.

“One of the things I love best about my role at Dolben is the fact that I get to touch so many parts of our business: marketing, technology, and operations are all very closely intertwined,” says Sara. “That crossover allows for ongoing innovation, and ultimately helps our team get more accomplished.

Want to learn what she finds incredibly frustrating? Who she’s continuously impressed by? Read on.

What’s the greatest marketing challenge you’re currently working on?
One of our biggest projects right now is piloting a call center platform. We’ve been doing a lot of troubleshooting over the last few weeks, and have made some great progress. Change management is always difficult, but we’re fortunate to have a superstar testing team and a committed technology partner.

What’s your proudest marketing accomplishment to date?
I am extremely proud of the team that we’ve built to help support and educate our on-site associates at Dolben. I’ve always looked at our marketing team as an in-house agency, where our on-site teams are our clients. There are only three people on the marketing team (which often surprises people!), but we’ve developed a highly efficient group, and are able to tackle an enormous amount of work.

What’s one thing the apartment industry as a whole could do better as far as marketing and advertising is concerned?
The inconsistency of data online is incredibly frustrating, and much of that ties back to the MITS feed. If the feed were updated and standardized, it would lead to a vastly improved experience for both our prospective residents and our on-site teams. Fortunately, updating this technology seems to be a priority for the industry, and I am extremely optimistic that 2015 will be the year of change.

Who do you think is doing the most innovative apartment marketing right now?
I am continually impressed by Bozzuto. They are always exploring new platforms, and consistently incorporate the latest and greatest into their marketing efforts. A prime example: they just recently live streamed their management awards via Meerkat.

Who is doing innovative marketing outside the industry? Where do you look for inspiration?
I love to look at retailers, like Lululemon, as well as boutique hotels, like Kimpton, for inspiration. They make a concerted effort to understand their customers, have an authentic and unique voice in all of their branding efforts, and are actively social.

You can order anything at the bar. What are you drinking?

Keep up with Sara and her team by visiting You can also follow Sara on Twitter (and on most social sites as @sarasgraham).