Founding Stories: Todd Allen of Connect Digital Aims to Reshape Apartment Marketing Strategies

In real estate, one fundamental issue persists for apartment operators—measuring the true impact of their digital marketing efforts. The conventional methods of using Internet Listing Services (ILSs), paid ads, and social media often fall short, providing murky source attribution and rendering the calculation of return on investment (ROI) nearly impossible. 

Todd Allen, a seasoned real estate professional turned proptech entrepreneur, recognized this prevailing problem. Fueled by a passion to revolutionize apartment marketing, he founded Connect Digital. This innovative platform leverages cutting-edge technology to not only generate more qualified applicants but, crucially, link them precisely to the ad serve locations, enabling unparalleled source attribution and ROI measurement. 

We asked Todd a few questions about his journey, inspirations, and predictions for the future of the rental industry. 

How did you become interested in real estate?

TA: I have been in real estate my entire professional career. My passion for the industry started before my teenage years when I would help my dad work on his first few investment units. As the company grew, I was able to build experience in nearly every aspect of the business. We grew into a full-service developer, builder, owner, and manager of affordable and luxury properties in Kentucky and South Carolina. These first 20 years of my career ultimately led me to start my own proptech business, Connect, and has provided excellent insights into what our clients need and want as customers.   

What inspired you to solve a problem and found Connect? 

TA: The most important metric in apartment marketing is the number of applicants that a community adds during a given period. Applicants become paying residents which in turn generate nearly 100% of a typical apartment community’s revenue. Most present-day apartment marketing tools, such as ILSs, SEO, and social media, however, are built to focus on lead generation. Leads as a primary performance KPI can be quite misleading and a poor performance metric. We believed there was a better way to market apartments and measure revenue-generating applicants instead of focusing on leads, which are a non-revenue metric.  By using geotargeting ad campaigns in concert with our proprietary technology, Connect attributes the applicants from our ad campaigns and uses the applicant data to show the ROI we generate for our customers.

Tell us about your team: Who’s on it, and how did you meet?

TA: Our team consists of Barry Quattlebaum, our CRO. He joined Connect in the summer of 2023. Barry has spent most of his career as a sales leader with nearly 20 years of experience in selling software to apartment owners and operators. We met at RealPage and stayed in touch over the years. He has been a fantastic addition to our team. Clayton Allen, our National Sales Representative, has been with Connect as a sales rep or intern for almost three years. He has developed fantastic industry experience and relationships with us. We also have a Business Development Representative located in North Macedonia and several operations team members in India. 

We believed there was a better way to market apartments and measure revenue-generating applicants instead of focusing on leads, which are a non-revenue metric.

Where do you see real estate and the rental industry headed in the future?

TA: As an industry, we are returning to a more normal market after several years of out-of-control growth. As the industry returns to a more traditional supply and demand model leaning towards moderate over-supply, the demand for apartment marketing tools is increasing rapidly, which is fantastic for Connect and our growth plans for 2024 and beyond. Apartment marketers are also looking for new technology to lease apartments at better price points than the existing tools available in the market. This is also a great opportunity for Connect.

What does success look like to Connect in the short term and long term?

TA: Short term success will revolve around our seed round planned for Q1 2024. We have some aggressive goals but are very confident in our initial interest from potential investors. In the long term, our goal is to be the catalyst in shifting the paradigm for apartment marketers from focusing on lead generation to measuring success and ROI through applicant generation. 

Find out more about Connect Digital at Are you a startup based in or looking to relocate to Kentucky? Keyhorse’s current quarterly investment cycle is open! Apply now.

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