With all of the dramatic changes that have impacted the mortgage industry, none of us should be surprised by the enlightenment that resulted from the real “truth” in lending that surfaced as a result of years of unacceptable standards and guidelines. Anyone could get a loan (no documentation required) … really?
The tragedy isn’t that a fallout occurred; but rather, that it didn’t happen sooner. And through it all, organizations and individuals guided themselves with a wide range of policies and procedures. So wide-ranging, perhaps, that the ability to implement fundamental methodologies and best business practices became unattainable. But congratulate the loan officers, banks and mortgage companies that had the discipline to embrace high standards of “truth” in every aspect of their business. They are the leaders of our industry today.
So what does it mean to establish “truth” in marketing? At a minimum, it means making a sincere commitment to the relationships that surround a business and continuously sharing time-sensitive information. Homeowners deserve lifelong guidance to make sound decisions with their money. With steady market fluctuations, educational and timely communication will make a big impact on savings and wealth.
The next critical component is to lock down privacy and compliance standards so information sharing does not violate conditions. With ever rigorous rules on external communications, removing loose canons in an organization is mandatory. It is a major liability to produce marketing on the fly. The best method is to create and centralize branded and compliant materials for enterprise-wide access (with opt-out information integrated). It can be challenging to implement without proper technology and infrastructure—educating customers, partners and prospects with relevant information requires centralized databases, the ability to mine data and intelligent alerts. It is well worth the investment and effort. A dependency on reactive, rather than proactive processes, results in delayed access to intelligent, actionable data—and the loss of deserved business.
Realizing the power of professionalism and quality is the next important element. When marketing initiatives are being assessed, focus on value rather than cost. Mass-produced, junk marketing standards should not be considered. With the proper planning, there is no need to utilize them as a vehicle of communication.
The final core components of high-impact marketing are personalization, automation and cross-media. No matter how many contacts exist in a database, segmenting them against specific business rules is key to success. The same holds true for one-to-one customer relationships with loan officers.
Drilling down and delivering communications based on targeted needs of a customer from the loan officer of record is the best method to generate higher response rates. It will also allow loan officers to receive inquiries from customers they can immediately assist.
The next step is automation, which relies on core methodologies that are driven by algorithms that recognize specific database attributes and conditions to push out targeted communications. It greatly minimizes the need to create fragmented marketing pieces. Chaos also disappears, and the heartbeat of an organization is complimented with timely communications to steadily capture new business.
Finally, media formats should not be limited or isolated. Print, e-mail and telephone campaigns are each relevant to an organization. Cross-media allows information to be shared across multiple formats with sensitivity to opt-out requirements. If a customer asks not to receive e-mail, it is imperative to utilize approved methods.
Overall, being relevant and compliant with marketing standards is being true to you, your customers and organization. Taking shortcuts or thinking that “something is better than nothing” is ineffective. If you want to rival the competition, take marketing seriously and implement effective strategies. You will be pleased with the impact it will make.
Mary Beth Doyle is founder of LoyaltyExpress and continues to lead all aspects of creative and sales initiatives at the company. Her critical eye for detail, analytics, and design steers the direction of new product offerings, services, and corporate relationships. Nationally, Mary Beth has been recognized by Executive Women International as a top achiever in business. Previously, she held several executive-level positions for major data mining and business intelligence companies (internationally) as well as owning and operating start-up and consulting companies in the print and fashion industries.