Identify Target Personas for a Successful Property Marketing Campaign

Topics: Millennials + Gen Z, Media + Advertising, Property Marketing

Posted by: Marketing

As a student housing property manager, your target audience likely seems pretty straightforward. You’re marketing your property to college students, end of story. Or is it? The best way to successfully engage with any audience is to understand who they are and what they want. When you take the time to identify target market personas for your intended audience, you’ll have a more complete picture of who they are and how to reach them efficiently and effectively.

Hand with marker writing question

Identifying target audience personas is the second step in our proven plan for creating a successful student housing property marketing campaign.

+ Learn what a state-of-the-art student housing property marketing campaign consists of.

+ Learn how to create a successful marketing campaign for your student housing property step-by-step.

         + Learn how to develop, establish and refine student housing property marketing goals.


What are target market personas and why do they matter?

Also known as buyer personas, target market personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data and research. The deep understanding of your customer base that you gain in the development process drives everything from content creation and the advertising channels you use to sales follow up and your property management priorities. Because of this, developing comprehensive buyer personas not only will help you attract larger amounts of better qualified leads, it can also assist in keeping your existing renters content.


“The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.”


The best and most effective buyer personas are based on both market research and the insights gleaned from your existing renters and qualified applicants.


To drive user engagement further and faster, you must explore what makes your ideal customers tick.

There are a number of factors to take into account as you identify your target market persona.

  1. PERSONAL BACKGROUND - What are the demographics of your ideal renter? Where are they at in their education? What is their likely career path?

  2. THEIR COMPANY (or school, in this case) - Does the college market you serve lean heavily towards a certain type of major or industry? Is the local university geared towards nursing, engineering, liberal arts?

  3. THEIR ROLE  - What does your target audience’s typical day look like? Do they have responsibilities outside of school? Where do they spend their time?

  4. THEIR CHALLENGES - What problems are college students in your area looking to solve with their housing? Is budget an issue? How is the local transportation infrastructure?

  5. THEIR GOALS - What objectives are area students looking to fulfill in their housing quest? Do they want space, proximity to lecture halls or nightlife? What amenities will they find enticing?
  6. HOW THEY LEARN - What type of messaging will catch your audience’s attention and drive them to take action?

  7. SHOPPING PREFERENCES - How are your target renters likely to conduct their housing search? Will they notice a sign in the window and call the listed number? Do they search for rental properties online? 

We’ve developed a worksheet that will help guide you through the process of identifying your target audience.

+ Get the buyer persona identification worksheet.


When identifying target audience personas, student housing properties must seek to understand Gen Z and millennials.

The vast majority of consumers looking for college rental housing will be millennials and members of Generation Z. This is particularly important for student housing property managers to keep in mind as they work to identify target market personas. Here are some facts worth noting about these younger demographics.

  • Millennials and members of Gen Z are digital natives. They’re typically very active on all social media platforms and are on top of digital trends. 

  • Gone are the ways of older generations who used phones sparingly. It is no secret that college students spend a lot of time on their phones. 71% of millennials use social media daily on their mobile devices. 

+ Learn more with our millennial online usage data infographic.

  • Coupons aren’t just the province of older generations. Members of younger generations love them too. In fact, 88% of millennials say that obtaining a promotion or discount would encourage them to make a purchase. 

  • Millennials and Gen Z-ers look for connection, moments that they can discover and share. In fact, 79% of millennials believe that participating in events helps them connect better with their friends, communities and the world at large.

+ Learn more about how to engage millennials and Gen Z when advertising. 

  • Generation Z and millennial audiences tend to be less receptive to "standard" advertising tricks. They might not pay any attention to a print advertisement when out and about if it doesn't catch their eye. These younger generations also value authenticity far more than previous generations, especially in their ads. So make sure you feature diversity and communicate authentically if you want to win with these audiences.

  • Although Generation Z and other Millennial audiences spend a lot of time on social media, when they are ready to purchase, they go to Google. Don't forget to include a Google Strategy in your digital marketing plans.

+ Learn more about how to advertise to Generation Z & millennials. 

Would you like to learn more about how to create a successful property marketing campaign for student housing?




Here at MSSmedia, we’ve been providing Education, Government, Real Estate & Lifestyle clients with succinct, optimized, and successful marketing solutions for more than 15 years. Consider MSSmedia a full-service, one-stop shop for all your Media and Public Relations needs. Your goals are our motivation. And our mission is to propel your message, further and faster, to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for. If you found this blog post helpful, please share!

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