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Reaching Borrowers

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There is always talk about how much the mortgage industry has changed over the last twenty years. Most of it revolves around the flood of new rules and regulations, technology shifts, borrower expectations and the list goes on and on. One area that doesn’t get as much attention— but is just as critical to a lenders’ success— is how marketing to potential borrowers has changed. Julie Quinn, Vice President of Operations at TTP Enterprises, sat down with our editor to talk about how marketing to potential borrowers has evolved over the years and what it takes to drive business to the point of sale.

Q: You were involved with marketing automation before people even knew what marketing automation was. How would you define marketing automation?

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JULIE QUINN: I think it helps to begin with a quick overview of what marketing automation is before we discuss how it has evolved over the years. Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels (such as print, gifts, email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.

“At its best, marketing automation is software and tactics that allow companies to buy and sell like Amazon – that is, to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. This type of marketing automation typically generates significant new revenue for companies, and provides an excellent return on the investment required.” Hubspot.

Q: How has mortgage specific marketing and more specifically marketing automation evolved over the years?

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In the early days of mortgage specific marketing, lenders started primarily with gifts to prospective borrowers through the use of printed items like calendars, and gifts of cookies, etc.

The next shift or advancement was for lenders to realize that past borrowers where a great source for repeat business and referrals to family and friends.

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JULIE QUINN: In the early days of mortgage specific marketing, lenders started primarily with gifts to prospective borrowers through the use of printed items like calendars, and gifts of cookies, etc. The basic concept was to gain mind share so when the prospective borrower was ready to make a decision, the lender who was marketing to them would be the first lender that they would contact.

The next shift or advancement was for lenders to realize that past borrowers where a great source for repeat business and referrals to family and friends. This is what caused the advent of print post-close loyalty programs. These programs are typically 3-5 year nurturing programs that would send printed materials such as Thank You cards, loan anniversary cards, birthday cards, recipe cards, etc. throughout the year to remind the borrower of the great job that the lender had done so that when the next opportunity arose they would continue to do business with them.

Then came the introduction of digital marketing (emails, and then social media). With more and more borrowers gaining Internet access, lenders realize the power of the Internet through email marketing. This is still a powerful tool in the arsenal of mortgage marketers. The key is knowing when and how frequently to use this tool. The natural extension of this was the use of social media for the exact same reasons.

While digital marketing was gaining traction, innovative lenders introduced Pre-Qualification and In-Process marketing to the fold. The right marketing automation solution automates engagement with prospective clients and provides relevant updates for in process milestones while developing and enhancing partner relationships.

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Lenders looking to stand out from their competition in today’s mortgage market must realize that these marketing tools are not mutually exclusive. The most dynamic marketing programs, the ones that produce the greatest results, have circled back to incorporating gifts and post-close print marketing into their digital efforts. It is the right combination of all of these marketing approaches that delivers the greatest ROI. The consistent communication with the potential borrowers, past borrower and referral partnerships in a highly professional and dynamic way shifts the relationship to one of a “trusted advisor.”
Q: There is so much talk in the industry about everything going digital including marketing to prospective borrowers. Why does the best marketing automation solution need to include the right combination of print and digital to produce the greatest marketing ROI?

JULIE QUINN: The key is for lenders to understand that there isn’t one proven approach, which reaches all prospective borrowers. Combining digital and print marketing increases the odds in your favor of potential conversion.

A digital only strategy certainly comes with a lower initial investment, but lenders need a much larger and higher quality prospect list. Remember that almost 85% of your email targets do not even open your marketing and a fraction actually acts upon it. Direct print marketing can see a response rate of 3-4% whereas Email is about 0.1%.

One of our customers specifically implemented mixed marketing approach utilizing both print and digital that generated over 60 new loans in less than six months of campaign. (With the average home price close to $200,000 x 60 loans= $12,000,000 in this campaign alone, that combined both print and digital).

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Our customers that have consistently had the greatest success have combined both print and digital to truly stand out in a highly competitive marketplace.

We are seeing a greater interest in establishing loyalty programs for older loans in lenders’ databases. We are also seeing increased interest in post closing gifts.

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Q: What are some of the pros and cons of email marketing and print marketing?

JULIE QUINN: Pros and Cons of Email Marketing: Pros – Good ROI, Low Cost, Easy tracking, low time investment (assuming you have a good database); Cons – Very competitive, easily discarded, SPAM filters.

Pros and Cons of Print Marketing: Pros – High ROI, Less competition, Personable, enhanced delivery, Great for relationship building, increased trust; Cons – Varying costs, more difficult to track and measure (although including some digital related call to action can help)

Q: With print still being a critical component of marketing automation can you provide some examples of how lenders are incorporating print into their campaigns?

JULIE QUINN: Our customers that have consistently had the greatest success have combined both print and digital to truly stand out in a highly competitive marketplace. For example, upon a prospective borrower reaching Pre-Qualification status, we are notified by the LOS system of this milestone and a personalized 12 page “Homebuyer’s Guide” is generated and mailed directly to the prospect. This book walks the prospect through the entire home buying experience and is branded to Lender and Loan Officer.

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We are seeing a greater interest in establishing loyalty programs for older loans in lenders’ databases. We are also seeing increased interest in post closing gifts.

Lenders are combining both methods by creating print campaigns to drive a prospective borrower to a certain online or digital activity (web application, engage in social media, download something) to gain traction and drive conversion.

Q: What can lenders do to drive new business to the point-of-sale?

JULIE QUINN: The first step for lenders is to get off the bench and make marketing automation a high priority. Remember that marketing automation is so much more than just an email blast or printed post card.

In addition, lenders need to tailor their program/materials/approach to the needs of their prospective borrower. No one approach works for everyone.

A combination of prospect marketing, in-process communications and post-close marketing will deliver the greatest results.

Q: Why is Marketing Automation important to lenders if they are serious about driving new business to the point-of-sale?

JULIE QUINN: In order to survive and thrive in this mortgage environment of constantly changing rules and regulations, heightened competition for borrowers and extreme pressure to produce results, you must realize the need to identify high quality business opportunities. It is critical to identify leads quickly and efficiently and then drive them to the point-of-sale with compliant communications for converting them into clients. It’s equally important to retain these clients and to maximize their on-going value through repeat business and referrals.

Engaging these prospective clients in real time across a multitude of channels such as the Internet, email, social media, print, video, and mobile devices highlights the importance of working with a proven marketing automation solution that can illuminate or emphasize the best in your marketing while easing your compliance burden.

That’s where marketing automation comes into play. Lenders focused on driving new business and attracting more borrowers are turning to advanced marketing technology to attract more borrowers in today’s highly competitive and regulated mortgage market.

Q: What role does compliance play in the right marketing automation solution?

JULIE QUINN: Regulation. It’s everywhere these days. And on the marketing side of every mortgage company’s operations, as much as any other, it means that management has to take a much more active role in ensuring its brand and its products are correctly and compliantly represented in the marketplace. Communications with prospects, customers and even referral partners – whether driven from the center or by loan originators – must be controlled, but without inhibiting genuine creativity and individual initiative. The right mortgage specific marketing automation establishes a controlled environment in which ingenuity and enterprise are able to flourish.

It does this by providing management with five levels of control over the players in the marketing process. All you have to do is decide what degree of control you want to exercise in relation to each of the system’s key functions. For example, you can make sure that Loan Officers are unable to edit company information or upload unacceptable graphics or run on-demand campaigns that breach corporate guidelines.

The levels of management control that should be available in the right mortgage specific marketing automation are as follows, working down from the most to the least restrictive:

Prohibition: Different types of users can be prevented from accessing a system function, or even an entire page, by means of the systems “permissions” capability.

Authorization: Marketing materials created by users at lower levels in the corporate hierarchy cannot be implemented until approved at the center.

Alert: A defined set of fields is monitored and changes are reported via a feed on the systems Home page, enabling quick action to remedy any departure from company policy.

Oversight: Users at higher levels in the corporate hierarchy can “impersonate” users at lower levels, giving management an instant window on the activities of Loan Officers.

Reporting: The solutions “My Reports” function provides information that allows management to hold users at lower levels accountable for their performance.

Q: As the market continues to shift and adjust to constantly changing condition, can you discuss how marketing automation can deliver a competitive advantage for lenders?

JULIE QUINN: Over the last 10 years more and more lenders are utilizing marketing automation. The key now is to differentiate yourself from the “standard content”. Working with your marketing automation solution provider, your marketing team can separate from the pack with unique messaging and materials.

Q: What should the ideal marketing solution include?

JULIE QUINN: The ideal mortgage specific marketing automation solution must include:

>>The Right Mix of Print and Digital

>>Automated Loyalty Marketing

>>On-Demand Campaigns

>>Extensive Content Library

>>Comprehensive Marketing Compliance

>>Ability to Recruit & Retain Top Talent

>>Strong Partner Relationships

The ideal mortgage specific marketing automation solution delivers:

>>Increased Sales revenue

>>Increased Lead Generation

>>Improved Lead Nurturing

>>Improved Marketing Productivity

>>Improved Campaign targeting

The ideal mortgage specific marketing automation provides lenders with the ability to increase market share, stay legal and compliant, grow profitable relationships, protect corporate branding and attract and retain top talent within the organization.

INDUSTRY PREDICTIONS

Julie Quinn thinks:

1.) Lenders that best utilize the combination of print and digital will receive the greatest ROI from their marketing efforts.

2.) Consistency is critical to gain mind share of potential borrowers.

3.) Nurturing past borrowers will deliver referrals and repeat business in 2017.

INSIDER PROFILE

Julie Quinn oversees operations for TTP Enterprises covering the collection of client data through fulfillment of output. A significant portion of her duties include sourcing and implementing state-of-the-art print production equipment, software and processes. Julie has over 20 years of experience in commercial print, on-demand digital print, design, specialty binding, mailing services and all aspects of technology-based production. As a certified color and production design specialist for digital and commercial print, Julie brings TTP Enterprises the unique ability to provide high quality and consistent print production to our customers.

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