From Easy-Bake Oven to Chef’s Table – Elevating your marketing and improving results in 2024

At Red Propeller, we close for the holidays, but we find that we’re incapable of switching our marketing brains to “off.” This year, as we sat watching the children in our families fling wrapping paper aside with unbridled glee, we had some deep thoughts. Not about world peace, intentions for the New Year or what was for dinner (well, maybe). No, we were considering the attributes of the Easy-Bake Oven.

Easy-Bake Oven

Great for easy kids baking. Not a recipe for great marketing.

Did you or a sibling ever receive an Easy-Bake Oven? Did you know that they still exist? Introduced in 1963, the ovens originally used a lightbulb to cook tiny cakes made from pre-packaged mix and tap water. Today they use a real heating element but are conveyor belt-driven to avoid burning small fingers. The available mixes have been expanded to include pretzels, whoopie pies, cookies and pizza. But never fear, the required culinary skills are still limited to adding water and pushing the creation onto the belt.

An interesting Hasbro history lesson, we know. But how is the Easy-Bake Oven relevant to today’s multi-family market?

Consider this analogy. Many, if not most, of the apartment buildings we visit across the country are being marketed with an Easy-Bake Oven approach. Marketing teams provide developers with a flat fee, a standard set of online lead generation listings (aka ingredients) and simple reporting that says “the Cost Per Click (CPC) is right where we want it to be!” If your building isn’t seeing enough traffic, the solution is to increase the budget for each online channel while also increasing the concession. It’s kind of like adding more liquid to the Easy-Bake Oven mix. What comes out the other side will have expanded in volume, but it will be watered down and of a much lower quality.

In Easy-Bake Oven marketing, everyone is doing the same thing. No property is distinct, no story is being told and no one is building a relationship with prospects. The Easy-Bake Oven spits out the same result for every property, because after all, you can only use the provided mixes with an Easy-Bake Oven – no other recipes will work.


Table outlining the key components of Chef's Table Marketing for apartments, including (1) Critically assess current channelsand performance, (2) Outline opportunities for wins, enhanced visibility, and lead generation, and effective hooks to convertleads into tours, (3) Create a unique strategy that targets specific and appropriate audiences and provides consumers with a “WHY?”, (4) Ensure consistent storytelling that differentiates the propertyIn frothy markets and in tight markets, with new community launches and repositioned assets, Red Propeller engages with developers to take a critical look at their marketing, with a goal to ensure that every dollar is being spent efficiently and effectively. Budgets are not limitless, regardless of market conditions. To ensure marketing efforts are firing on all cylinders, we execute a property marketing and performance audit and outline quick- and medium-term wins, enhanced visibility, and lead generation opportunities, as well as considerations to convert leads into tours.

From there, we dive a little deeper into the marketing ingredients. Is the marketing effort a standard mix that is being applied to every building in the market, like the just-add-water cakes in an Easy-Bake Oven? Or is there a unique strategy in place that not only targets specific and appropriate audiences, but that also provides the consumer with a “WHY?” Why should they care? Why should they choose your property beyond a list of features and benefits (that are likely the same as your competitors)? Is there consistency across marketing channels, leveraging storytelling that differentiates the property?

In 2024, many prospects are making decisions about your building before they ever reach your front door. A high percentage of tour no-shows and cancellations showcases that fact. Concocting the right mix for your marketing has never been more important, and ensuring that your audience understands the lifestyle of your property through storytelling is imperative.

If any of these symptoms sound a little too familiar, it’s time to stash away the Easy-Bake Oven, take a closer look at your marketing and support your New Year’s resolution to improve your asset value. Let us help with a quick audit and a simple strategy outlining targeted, specific next steps to improve your traffic and conversion in 2024. Give us a shout!