The mortgage and real estate industry has been flipped on its head with the launch of “Rocket Mortgage” and other similar technology initiatives. These platforms focus on removing the friction from the traditionally high touch business of buying and financing a home. As the pace of change continues to accelerate, the stakes have never been higher. For the companies that execute and adopt changing technology, market dominance and a future paved with the largest pool of home buyers in American history awaits. On the other hand, the companies that remain unfocused and uncommitted to true innovation can expect to have their market share eaten by a faster-moving, more innovative, and more aggressive competitor.
After several years of in-depth analysis, I have found key areas of focus that the fastest growing and widely considered “game changing” companies have in common. Here are a few that stood out:
An Authentic Brand
Today’s home buyers are well informed and crave authenticity in the brands (i.e., both companies and practitioners) with whom they choose to do business. “Canned content” is not something game changing companies use or rely on— ever. You generally won’t see these companies deploying cheesy cartoon videos and hacked together marketing pieces with a faded logo and a 1990’s graphic design. But what you will see coming from these companies is high quality and exceptional authenticity branding.
Millennials, which happen to be the largest segment of homebuyers in American history, are highly sensitive to “marketers” and continue to improve their innate skill of tuning out unwanted messaging and marketing.
Fresh content with crisp branding that focuses on providing knowledge and education is proven to win both the attention and the loyalty of this massive group of home buyers.
Commitment to Innovation, No Exceptions
The game-changers are constantly focused on innovation, and work hard to establish a solid foundation capable of scaling as the business grows. This foundation is typically comprised of core systems and applications that have a flexible architecture complete with open API’s. By having the right core systems in place, it is much easier to connect new data sources, iterate rapidly, course correct as changes in the market arise, and capitalize on enhancement opportunities.
Companies that are not focused on rapid growth tend to dip a toe in the water rather than committing to long term innovation. Game-changers do thorough research, seek out thought leaders and advisors, select the best partners, and go “all in.” They are thinking as much about the business needs of the future as they are about today’s needs. Therefore, they make long-term decisions and are likely to avoid the “me too” solutions that are popular with the overall market. They are thinking differently— generally much bigger.
Exceptional Employee and Customer Experience
To deliver the best possible employee experience, great companies focus on removing friction from every touch point, which makes it simple to interact and engage with them. Many of the best companies in the world believe passionately that the single best way to build a great company is to have happy employees with high job satisfaction who believe in the vision of the leadership. While this may seem obvious, it is often far more complex than those simple components. Building a great company with passionate employees demands a more thorough analysis of the techniques utilized in onboarding, training, technology, and communication.
The post-Uber world has made people hyper-sensitive to anything that does not deliver instant gratification. By frequently examining all of the engagement points through which a customer interacts with their brand, top companies are continuously able to adjust. They focus on the entire lifecycle of the customer— from lead, to post-close, and then referral and retention.
One of the most effective techniques used to improve employee and customer experiences is creating an initiative where members of the executive team go through all the touch points employees and customers have with the company. They are asked to document their findings and make a list of necessary improvements. Instead of getting bogged down in months and months of analysis, they make subtle weekly adjustments, which over the course of a year yield major changes.