When things are moving as quickly as they are in the housing industry, it can become challenging to keep marketing material locked down from a branding and compliance perspective.
Many times, a home moves so fast that a loan officer might put in a request for a marketing piece that they need the same day.
With old and outdated technology, it’s impossible to manually build a piece that can pass strict marketing and compliance standards.
In this scenario, the door opens for rogue marketing, and the potential damage that comes along with it.
With a constantly focused regulatory eye on marketing and co-marketing efforts, these types of non-compliant rogue marketing can do tremendous damage to your mortgage brand.
What Is Rogue Marketing?
Rogue marketing, for purposes of this article, can be referred to as any marketing, or marketing-related, material or campaign deployed without the proper disclosures, branding or compliance standards.
A perfect example would be a flyer that was created and sent out, but it was not created by the marketing department or approved by compliance.
While this might seem harmless, it’s not.
Damage Rogue Mortgage Marketing Can Do To Your Brand
You’ve worked incredibly hard to create your mortgage brand, which is built on trust.
Rogue marketing threatens that trust.
When rogue marketing is deployed, and marketing materials don’t line up, consumers can spot it a mile away. At minimum, that can be confusing. Consumers could be thinking, Is that the same mortgage company? Is something off?
If questions like these surface, damage has already been done, because an atmosphere has been created where the customer no longer trusts the brand fully, not like he or she did before.
When a poorly planned, poorly designed, and poorly deployed marketing campaign stumbles into the limelight of your business’ audience and claims itself as the main act, it can do some serious harm.
This is why it is essential for your marketing department to have complete control over when, where and what is deployed on behalf of your brand.
Losing consumer trust is damaging, but rogue mortgage marketing can also attract unwanted attention from regulators, and given the state of the mortgage industry, this should a major concern to your organization.
Compliance Risks Associated With Rogue Marketing
Regulators keep a strict eye on non-compliant material found on any channel to ensure that lenders abide by federal and state laws, and are acting in the best intention of the consumer.
What happens when a marketing asset circulates around social media with your brand’s logo on it, along with the wrong disclosures and an additional logo -- your partner’s logo?
A one-off postcard or flyer designed by an loan officer who doesn’t have the correct disclosures or knowledge of regulatory standards could cost a company unnecessarily.
The worst part of this is that it could’ve been done with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, even the best of intentions could welcome non-compliance.
Today’s regulatory environment is ambivalent in many ways, but it’s still navigable. For instance, if you co-market with an agent on a flyer, the specific disclosures for each party must be displayed correctly, images must be proportional, every pixel must be accounted for and ultimately paid by the owner of that space.
For loan officers whose expertise doesn’t fall in the realm of marketing or compliance, it’s easy enough to see how disproportional images, brand logos, or written copy could be incorrectly divided when it came to paying the costs of this marketing asset. And this is what regulators are looking for: unfairly divided payments.
Each step must be taken with the utmost caution and seriousness when splitting shares with co-marketing partners, protecting your brand, and your business.
You Need to Stop It At The Source
Often, rogue marketing is deployed due to a strict time constraint. How many times have you heard a loan officer say, “I need this flyer… today!”
When the loan officer realizes that his tight deadlines will not be met, this is where unapproved, rogue mortgage marketing slithers its way in.
Streamlining your asset requests and marketing workflows, putting in place good compliance approval policies and procedures, and remaining consistent in every asset you create is vitally important to your business, especially if an audit opened.
Ensuring your sales force has access to compliance and marketing approved templates that satisfy all potential needs will help alleviate many of these concerns of quick deployment.
With an approved template library available, loan officers can edit any non-compliance required elements of a marketing asset and deploy it without being slowed down by an approval process.
Ultimately, this will ensure your sales force is able to deploy marketing in a speed that is acceptable to them, while giving your marketing and compliance departments complete control, down to the pixel.
If an audit were to ever come your way, you would be prepared.
Audit-Level Control of All Marketing
Hypothetically, if an audit were to happen because of questionable rogue mortgage marketing activity, as a best practice, you need to have all of your marketing and advertising documentation readily available in one centralized location, including the digital copies of the physical advertisement.
That’s awfully hard to do if rogue marketing takes places, because what’s facing the public now, representing your company, might be hard to account for seeing as though your established marketing department didn’t create it.
In turn, if it’s an advertisement, the original file might be gone, deleted or lost because it wasn’t organized in your company’s system. If the original file is gone, that can be a problem, especially so because how are you going to report accurately on that specific asset? It will be next to impossible.
So, in turn, having strong internal policies and workflows that promote efficiency between sales, marketing and compliance departments, readiness with templated marketing material, and stringent approval processes are going to do your business justice by keeping marketing hard at work -- designing, implementing and tracking assets -- and everybody else contributing to the hard-earned image of the business in ways that best suit their expertise.