One size doesn't fit all when it comes to mortgage marketing departments, but one way of thinking is critical for success. Mortgage companies committed to growth must empower their marketing departments to function as if they are a large organization - regardless of their current size. Marketing departments in companies of varying sizes produce results commensurate with the way that they operate, which can be small, medium or large. What's your marketing department's functioning size?
Small: Beck and call
Marketing departments that are physically or functionally small are almost completely reactionary because they were put in place to respond to loan officer needs and wants, and they're frequently staffed with people new to the industry. Fulfillment, compliance and reporting can be manageable with a small feedback loop; however, multiple requests for different types of assets as a bank begins to grow or a mortgage company adds more branches can quickly derail efficiency.
It's very difficult for small marketing departments inundated with requests to be proactive when they're bogged down trying to serve numerous, different agendas, which can lead to erosion of brand cohesiveness and equity - especially if mortgage loan officers (MLOs) begin using marketing materials obtained outside the company. Marketing departments in this category rarely have the opportunity to drive the company vision in a concerted way.
Medium: Focus on funnel
Medium-functioning marketing departments have more experience and resources than their small counterparts, allowing them to direct some effort toward generating more leads and increasing velocity; however, this group still deals with an a la carte mentality among the MLOs they serve. Medium-functioning marketing departments intend to be proactive but are still plagued by custom requests and loan officers obsessed with whatever is touted as the latest, greatest thing to boost lead generation and conversion.
These departments are constantly dealing with originators' "one thing" mentality: They field multiple requests for the one thing that MLOs are certain will drive their production into the stratosphere - a custom campaign, an exclusive deal with a broker, the ability to market on a major lead-gen site, etc. Satisfying these requests is as impossible as it is unadvisable. This group still spends a great deal of time and effort in reactive mode.
Large: Big scale buy-in
Companies that have physically or functionally large marketing departments have evolved their business and brand to the point where they hold clout in the marketplace as well as with the talent they wish to recruit and retain. At this stage, it's OK for companies and marketing departments to say "no" to multiple, disparate requests that deviate from core values and messaging because it violates the scalability that helped them get to this point and grow beyond.
Rather than permitting individual producers and teams to create and maintain their own identities, companies at this level have gotten their MLOs and support staff to buy into the bigger identity of the company brand. Additionally, the company has created marketing assets and has a system in place to deploy them, freeing loan officers up to build relationships and nurture borrowers. To succeed, marketing departments of all sizes need to think and work big - even if they aren't.
Small and medium marketing departments who implement the same strategy that larger, more successful organizations use for growth will become more efficient and effective as well as lower compliance risk by curbing the temptation and ability for MLOs to use materials created outside the company. Large-functioning marketing departments all do these five things:
- Plan. Establish a marketing calendar and determine how many times you will be contacting groups like post-close clients throughout the year.
- Create. Build all of your marketing assets and make them available to your MLOs in an easy-to-access library. Finished, ready-to-use collateral that originators can see will help you get buy-in from the majority, whereas simply telling producers what you're planning to deliver is not enough to get full commitment.
- Commit. Company leadership must commit to your strategy, participate in getting MLO buy-in and resist the temptation to yield to individuals and teams who want to function outside your brand and plan.
- Trust. Leadership must trust the process or MLOs will not. For example, be prepared for people to unsubscribe to new marketing if you haven't been contacting them consistently or at all. Over time, people will become conditioned to your communications and your influence will gain momentum.
- Review. Monitor whether emails are being opened - if they're not, evaluate the strength of your subject lines. Track responses and make adjustments depending on consumer reaction and feedback. Analyze your metrics for opportunities: For example, bounced emails could indicate a contact has experienced a life event that could trigger the need for your services such as a retirement or change of workplace. Try another method of contact to learn more.
Thinking and working big is critical for success. Marketing departments who do so will drive the sales process, creating an environment where MLOs absorb the company's process instead of trying to influence or work against it. Results and revenue follow the size of your mindset and functionality … how big are you?
For additional information, download the Co-Marketing Best Practices: Fatal Compliance Mistakes webinar
featuring Mitch Kider.