Tag: content marketing

There are some good numbers flowing forth from associations like MBA, ALTA and NAR these days.  Numbers that suggest origination volume (and demand) is increasing.  Numbers that mean more orders are coming in for the title industry.  Numbers we don’t usually see this early on in the dead of winter.

Is it over?  Is it finally over?  Years of market volatility; seismic change and regulatory scrutiny amounting to a business foundation as sturdy as quicksand….really over?

Well, probably not.  But a lot of folks believe we are (finally) grinding our way to a better and newer “normal.”

It may be decades before we see the breathtaking and historic volume we saw earlier this century.  It may never happen again.  So, right now, your battle is for market share.  Yes, we’re likely to see some contraction across the industry as some exhausted owners give up under the burden of increasingly active regulatory changes.  But not so much as to counter the “new normal” we’re likely to see in overall origination volume.

So my question to you is, do you have a plan?  How will you gain market share?  There have been enough changes in our industry to suggest the old ways may not work as well.  This is where I make the obligatory “box of donuts” reference.  But there’s truth to it.  Flyers, phone calls and postcards simply ain’t gonna cut it.

We can all agree that, to keep a client’s business, we need to “provide value.”  Yes, the term is a little cliche.  Ok…a LOT cliche.  But I use it to demonstrate that “providing value” is no longer enough after we’ve won new business.  In fact, you probably need to be providing value long before a prospect becomes a client.

Now, believe me, I’m not advocating that we give our products and services away until someone agrees to pay us. But the days of interuption-based marketing; self-promotional communication and counting on the “numbers game” to predict new sales are over.  Content marketing is no longer a fad, a trend or a theory.  It’s reality, and it’s far more effective (done well) than virtually any of the old tools in the marketing tool kit.

If your marketing isn’t content based today, I’m pretty sure it’s not working.  The fact is that your prospects expect something from you long before they start paying for it. And if you haven’t made that correction yet, the market may well correct it for you…

They’re everywhere!  In my in-box.  In my mail-box.  At trade show booths and in the marketing collateral I get.  They’re content marketing newsletters, and it would appear that the good people of the mortgage and real estate industry have picked up on their value. more

One of the most effective tools in the marketing communications arsenal is The Event.  By The Event, I’m referring to a seminar, open house, roundtable, Webinar or audio seminar.  Few other marketing tools have the potential to brand you as a trusted advisor, generate leads and put you in direct contact with prospects or customers in quite the same way. more

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.

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

There is a dramatic change taking place across the mortgage and settlement services industry.  It concerns how professionals take in, and disseminate data, information and knowledge.  

Why don’t many of the trade organizations and publications serving the space get that? more

For some, “marketing” is little more than a flyer extolling the virtues of one’s product or service.  There’s actually some truth to this.  But when the “strategy” behind a marketing piece starts, and ends, with little more than a look in the mirror, it’s more likely than not that your marketing piece isn’t going to be that effective.  Not with today’s prospect. more

Ok, so the economy isn’t what we hoped it would be by now.  I guess the timeline of reality doesn’t always align with our own timelines of convenience and tolerance.


And where are we, exactly? more

After commenting on a few deeper topics lately, I thought I’d get back to my bread-and-butter this week.  So my topic will only be as deep as the subject of marketing communications allows! more