My apologies for the lengthy delay. I’ve been busy!
One of the things I have been doing is observing the way our industry reacts to the sea change affecting it every day. The regulatory scheme is different, and getting differenter every day. (Nice thing about blog postings is that one doesn’t need to use perfect grammar all the time.). The overall economy has transcended the hell that it was a year or two ago, but not by much. Originations are still waaaay down. Unemployment, although improving, is still high. And a number of factors have made the default/foreclosure/REO business a roller coaster that hasn’t been maintained in a while.
Oh, and nobody has a trustworthy prediction as to when any of the above will solidify, improve or stabilize. Good? Bad? The same? Worse? Dunno’…and we don’t know when, either.
In other words, if you work in the real estate, mortgage or housing industry in any capacity, things are still difficult, and it’s probably the uncertainty of the future that makes it that much worse.
So how have many in our industry reacted to this continuing requirement that they engage in a game of log rolling to stay afloat? Some have adapted, changing product mixes, opening new lines of business, streamlining processes, etc. Best practice stuff for dealing with a market undergoing historic change. Some just keep on keepin’ on, using bile and vinegar and sheer old-fashioned stubbornness to keep the lights on and the doors open. Others have simply fallen by the wayside. Quite a few others. You may see them looking for jobs at the annual convention. Or you may simply never hear from them again.
I guess I’m struck, however, by the lack of innovation I’m seeing in our space right now. I know that “innovation” is a word strictly reserved for technologists in our space, but I’m going to borrow it anyway. I’m also keenly aware that the twin demons of uncertainty and regulatory sprawl make it tremendously difficult to plan beyond tomorrow and planning is needed if one intends to be innovative. I will also add that I do see some out there taking very creative (and successful) approaches to altering their business plans. They’ll be around for a while.
That said, I still sense far too much of a “let’s wait it out in the bunker” mentality out there. Folks, I’m just a marketing guy. I don’t do economic tectonics all that well. But judging by what I see and what I hear, this IS the proverbial Big One. This is the transition of all transitions for our industry, the asteroid that finally hits our island. For better, or for worse, simply doing it the way you’ve always done it will not likely work much longer. That applies even in my little corner of marketing communications.
My sense is that we haven’t seen the biggest changes yet, and that there will be some whopping news events hitting our industry this coming year or so. Not to play the role of Chicken Little, but I really believe that the creative ones and the flexible ones will be the ones left standing when and if things settle down. I encourage all of us to put aside our mental constraints and preconceived notions, and while we’re at it, get out of the bunker and let a few non-industry types know that we really do work for a living, and that we really do bring some positives to our economy. We’re going to have to in order to weather the storm