Let’s talk about “Our Marketing Department”
The term “Our Marketing Department” often comes up in conversation in one of two ways:
The first way: as an excuse to protect one’s self from yet another marketing program or product to buy that doesn’t work. This is understandable, in part, but self-defeating as it closes the mind and helps in missing a real opportunity to learn how to do it correctly.
Then there’s the second way: where there is an actual Corporate Marketing Department; one that is provided by the company with noble efforts to make marketing for the LO easy and convenient. (Easy and convenient; these are two words that are not synonymous with success.)
We’re going to be looking at the second reason because the first is just a protection mechanism. Success is never born of justification or ignorance; just like trying to make everything easy and convenient, but that’s another topic altogether.
The problem with the in-house “Marketing Department” is that the focus is supposed to be on marketing. This would presuppose that someone thought this through, however, the actual function of marketing for the LO is quite different than it is for cell phones and sandwiches. Yet, the marketing approach for cell phones and sandwiches is the approach that 99% of in-house “Marketing Departments” use, and the LO trusts that they’re the marketing department, so they must know what they’re doing.
None of the LO’s I’ve spoken with over the last decade can attribute business to their marketing department in any real way, and most of them have expressed how they are not involved with their marketing and its message.
This is where the process starts to break down.
For the homeowner, it’s more than the many signatures and initials they have to submit, along with the personal financial information, and the vulnerability they feel along the way. What they then receive in the form of “marketing” from the “marketing department” makes matters even worse. The relationship of the Loan Officer and the homeowner is the LAST thing considered in a corporate marketing department’s list of priorities.
People don’t refer their friends and loved ones to a bank or a corporation; they refer people to other people and the corporate marketing message never suggests such a thing, even if they’re putting your name and even your picture on content of their own choosing. It is never in line with functional relationship marketing, no matter what is expressed by the bank in terms of personal service, hometown values, a company you can trust, or the myriad of other slogans tossed around with your picture attached.
Sounds harsh, but I assure you, it’s the gospel truth. There are an exhausting number of items that destroy the effectiveness of marketing for a big ticket item like home finance, and to go through them all here would have this blog post resemble a novel, rather than a post, and not all of them even apply to each Loan Officer or Broker. There are some LO’s that could care less about their sphere of influence and where their business comes from and they typically use whatever their mandated to use and never grow their business the way they claim they want to see it grow.
When an LO says “all of my business comes from referrals,” that may be an accurate statement, but consider getting one referral every 4 to 6 months vs. getting one or two referrals every 30 to 45 days at the very least. If you are continually allowing a “marketing department” to guide your messaging and manage your relationships with your sphere, you can expect far less referrals by virtue of the nature and focus of corporate marketing departments. You simply aren’t as important as the corporation, despite much hype to the contrary.
Your ability to draw referrals from your past clients also depends on the size of your past client database. With a minimum of 100 to 150 past clients, the average LO maintaining a real-life communication in monthly intervals will see one to as many as three new files with each marketing attempt.
When the “marketing department” is only concerned with the appearance of doing the marketing based on the latest contemporary digital gimmick in order to save time, money and offer ease and convenience, those marketing efforts are what we call “Mistaking Activity for Achievement.” This has been proven month after month, year after year, and now decade after decade, since the “online” marketing craze has hit the sales floor.
The difference in revenue experienced by actually marketing to a well maintained and accurate past client database is far superior to any and all canned marketing efforts for LO’s and Realtors. Corporate, in-house marketing departments have a natural disconnect from the LO’s they service and the chasm they create between the LO and actual borrowers is alarming, if not embarrassing. That’s sad and, unfortunately, accurate. Talk about inefficient and ineffective…
We have an alarming amount of clients who have said “Oh, we have an in-house marketing department that takes care of all that, I’m good…”, and that, after opening their minds and really looking at the reality of their marketing situation, would never use a corporate marketing department unless mandated. But then, again, the most successful LO’s we’ve ever encountered are true entrepreneurs and are in charge of their own destiny. They’re not employees, and would never put a surrogate in place to speak on their behalf sight unseen to the most valuable marketing commodity, their past clients. It’s alarming how many people do exactly that just for the ease and convenience. In other words, doing nothing is easy, and it sure is convenient.
To find out what actually does apply to you in the realm of doing it wrong, we offer a free Marketing Needs Assessment. Since your situation might not be the same as someone else’s, to apply a blanket answer to a specific question will err in the wrong direction in most cases. But an honest assessment of what you’ve done, what you may be doing, your goals and how to reach them is the best way to understand the difference between what works and what doesn’t. This will set you on the path to not only growing your business, but maintaining loyalty and referrals for a lifetime.