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There’s no doubt that the mortgage and especially the settlement services (title, closing, escrow, appraisal, etc.) industry are….ahem, traditional.  Even conservative.  The most popular approach to business development remains, even to this day, hopping on a plane and visiting the prospect.  That’s sales.  The marketing is the flyer brought along as the “leave-behind.”  Really, there’s nothing wrong with either approach.  They’ve worked for decades.

Similarly, it’s hard to argue that the industry will ever return to doing business the way it did  five years ago.  We’ve had some big changes, with more coming.   Many from outside the space.

If there is consensus among the experts and thought leaders tasked with reading the crystal ball, it seems to be that pretty much everyone in the industry, from lender to closer, will need to be more flexible, more efficient, and more attuned to the net than the gross in the future.  That’s just the way it will be.

So, with that in mind, what will the best marketing communications strategies look like five years from now?  Glad you asked….

They’ll emphasize the cost-effective.    If firms won’t have the extra cash to carry large staffs or redundant processes, they sure won’t have much budget for marketing, PR, or social media.  Traditional print flyers will likely give way to PDFs.  Postcards will be e-mails.  Advertising will become a luxury for many.  Social media will be embraced.  Content marketing will replace blanket ad buys. And the “blast and pray” approach, long ineffective anyway, will by necessity give way to much, much more targeted and customized approaches. 

They will dovetail with the sales strategy.        They’ll have to.  Mortgage and title companies won’t be able to afford the luxury of large sales and marketing departments.  Long gone will the days of the marketing guys at odds with the sales guys.  That’s because the sales guy will be the marketing guy.  The good news?  Marketing collateral and marketing messages will be better aligned with the on-site sales pitch.

They’ll allow for two-way communication.     The consultative sales approach tends to be the standard in our industry.  In the old days, you made the flyer, hoped it worked, and dropped it into the mail.  Then you made a call or paid a visit.  If you were lucky, the orders (and the phone calls) came back…eventually. With the advance of technology (social media, e-mail marketing, etc.),  and the growing importance, in general, of being more responsive and adaptive to one’s marketplace, good firms will make sure their marketing materials—from e-newsletters to Webinars—provide ample opportunity for the prospects and customers to express their concerns and needs. Feedback at every turn will be a key ingredient to companies that know they need to somehow have both ears to the ground of the marketplace at all times.

They will emphasize the best of traditional techniques, but use them more efficiently. The fact that this is a relationship-based industry will not go away quickly, if at all.  Who knows whom will still play a big role.  But things already move quickly, and they’ll move more quickly in 2016.  There will be a push from the outside for increased transparency and the complete avoidance of even the appearance of impropriety.  Therefore, marketing communications will mirror the remainder of the new industry.  That said, title insurance, a closing, an appraisal, will never be “impulse buys.”  The trusted advisor approach will remain a key ingredient to closing a deal.  Alliances, partnerships and collaboration, where allowable, will continue.  You’ll just see it in a LinkedIn group  more often.  Travel won’t go away—there may just be less of it as fuel prices and whatever else the airline industry dreams up increase the drain on the travel budgets, eventually shrinking them.  But we’ll reserve travel for key prospects.  We’ll combine visits at trade shows, and attend less of them.  Face to face will never go away.  But we’ll be streamlining that as well.

Admittedly, I could lose my marketing and PR association memberships for that headline (assuming I were a member in the first place).  I most certainly don’t condone or advise a “one-off” approach to public relations or marketing, that’s for sure.  more

Happy New Year to all of my loyal readers (hi Mom!).  Only 12 days into 2011, it’s becoming plain to me that, while many of us hit the crowded gym, save a few pennies here and there, or take a break from the “see-food” diet (see food, eat food), many in the mortgage and title industry have a different resolution. more

Ok.  Now I’ve done it.  I’ve given myself away as a (deep breath) marketing guy.  (*sighs and groans of disappointment ensue*).  But I just have to do it. Today, I’m going to revel in my craft. That’s right.  Here’s what I saw this year in the title and mortgage industry in the way of marketing. more

Even in a competitive industry, not everyone is your competitor…

A couple of years into the End of the Real Estate World As We Know It, it looks like there are still a few more dips ahead on the roller coaster ride no one asked for.  I see the good people of the mortgage and real estate industry buckling up for another year of uncertainty.  Much has changed, and yet, much hasn’t.  One thing that may have to is our general attitude toward our peers.  more

Let’s all agree that the mortgage and real estate industry is a tough place to be right now.  Poor market conditions, heavy government scrutiny and interference and overall uncertainty have more than a few firms uneasy right now.  It’s understandable that many are loathe to make commitments to major expenditures right now with many lines of business and sources of revenue almost impossible to forecast accurately.  more

“The first step toward change is awareness.  The second step is acceptance.”   Nathaniel Branden

Ok, maybe that was a little cheesy.  And it’s possibly even out of context.  But it strikes me that Dr. Branden’s words could be very applicable to the real estate and mortgage industry today. more

Always good to begin a blog with a few disclaimers, no?  Here goes.  I don’t have an MBA.  I’m not an accountant, nor have I ever played one on TV.  And yes, I accept the basic business principle that a successful company maintains a strong margin; that revenue is only useful when it outpaces one’s expenses.  more

Ok, you’ve probably seen enough analysis about this week’s midterm elections to fill your head for years.  So one flack’s humble opinion about the results is probably not at the top of your reading list.  (Wow, what a way to grab my readers!  Who wants to read more?). more

I recently returned from the MBA Annual Convention in Atlanta, and must say I was impressed.  I’ve been to other conferences, and other MBA conferences.  The show was nice.  But that’s not what really caught my attention.  more