How digital automation saves real estate investment firm employees hundreds of hours per year

The Challenge

Kenwood Management is a real estate investment company built as a vehicle to attract private equity from long-term investors and to provide superior property management services to business owners throughout the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. 

Kenwood has seen great success since its founding in 1997. They’ve beaten the S&P 500’s returns for their investors while building a premier commercial property management service. However, Kenwood’s systems and processes were primarily analog and had become an obstacle that prevented them from scaling the business in an increasingly digital world. Because of this, they didn’t feel like they were bringing in enough new investors and high-quality tenants. 

Kenwood Management partnered with Illumine8 to deliver an enterprise-wide digital transformation that replaced legacy systems while also empowering the organization to connect with its community and further differentiate the brand to attract new tenants and investors:

  • Updating and modernizing the Kenwood website

  • Addressing outdated CRM systems and automating time-consuming and error-prone manual tasks

  • Increasing customer engagement by creating compelling digital experiences

The Solution

Web Redesign and Marketing Automation. Before working with Illumine8, Kenwood hadn’t touched their website since 2008. It was little more than an electronic brochure for the company. They quickly realized their site was far behind modern industry standards.

Illumine8, in partnership with Kenwood, began by fully redesigning and modernizing Kenwood’s website to improve user experience and further establish Kenwood’s brand. To create a more personalized experience for Kenwood’s customers and to better understand how the website can deliver value, Illumine8 leveraged marketing automation to develop a dynamic homepage for Kenwood that shows users relevant information based on audience segmentation. 

In Kenwood’s case, this means the content presented to tenants and investors is a different experience on the same page. Through marketing automation, Kenwood shows tenants a homepage with items like tenant services, lease availability, and more. Meanwhile, investors will see the page containing investor-specific content such as Kenwood’s investor services, property press releases, and more.

Kenwood Management Website

Time-Saving Automation. Before the engagement, Kenwood kept its data siloed in a local CRM and numerous separate spreadsheets. If an employee needed data on a customer, it wasn’t easy to access remotely and the entire picture of that customer’s engagement with Kenwood was scattered across multiple systems. Illumine8 first helped Kenwood migrate to the cloud-based HubSpot CRM platform.

Rent renewals were automated by designing a workflow that automatically alerts appropriate Kenwood team members when a tenant is due for renewal. It also handles emails, follow-ups, and task creation. Plus, management has a central dashboard containing tenant information across all properties, cutting the need to juggle 18 spreadsheets.

Illumine8 also helped Kenwood to automate its Certificate of Insurance (COI) management. The new COI workflow identifies tenants with soon-to-expire COIs, then automatically emails them, and continues following up until the recipient updates their COI.

“Before, we were only about 20% compliant on COI after initial contact. Now we're on target to be around 80% compliant without having to invest more employee time,” said Bill Singer, Principal at Kenwood Management.

Kenwood Webinar

Engaging Content That Sets Kenwood Apart. Kenwood’s largest goal was to go beyond the purely transactional nature of tenant-landlord relationships by adding value. In doing so, they could build a long-term base of investors and tenants that remained loyal to Kenwood. 

Illumine8 helped Kenwood leverage technology to create more connections with existing tenants and investors by producing different forms of educational content, including written newsletters, blog posts, webinars, and videos.

Kenwood found the video content to be especially helpful in adding value and strengthening relationships with investors:

“I think it’s a very, very powerful tool, and it's a very good way for us to connect to our tenants, investors, and even contractors. That content has produced a significant amount of positive feedback from people in the real estate industry,” said Bill Singer.

The Results

Kenwood’s digital transformation and task automation created dramatic results for the firm. Here are some quick stats:

  • 177% website traffic growth YOY

  • 39% social media following growth YOY

  • 44% opens and 19% clickthrough rate (CTR) on emails

  • 16 hours per month saved on manual tasks

  • 90% customer retention rate

  • Kenwood’s most significant improvement, in their opinion, is the high level of engagement with their Kenwood Community.

“In the 3-4 years that we've worked with Illumine8, we've produced so much additional content, so many additional connection points with tenants and investors.”

The Impact

Dynamic Website. Kenwood’s customers now have an easier time finding what they’re looking for and stay on the website for a much longer time, boosting on-page SEO performance. This enhanced user experience also increases the chance a visitor becomes a tenant or investor.

Time-Saving Automation. Thanks to these two automations, Kenwood can maximize renewal revenue and ensure COIs are up-to-date while drastically cutting employee time spent on these and lowering company risk.

Engaging Content. Through creating consistent, high-quality content, Kenwood has and continues to foster a loyal community of investors and tenants in an industry where such a thing is rare.

 

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