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The challenges brokers face in marketing

by: Chris Hall, operations director at Mortgage Guardian and mortgage adviser at 1st Call 4 Mortgages
  • 12/04/2017
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The challenges brokers face in marketing
Just like Lennon and McCartney, sales and marketing make for a great partnership but they are not the same by any means.

Mortgage brokers generally adapt well to mastering the art of sales but quite often misunderstand the main principles of marketing and how to use them effectively.



“If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying: ‘Circus coming to the fairground on Saturday’, that’s advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations. If you did all of this on purpose, that’s marketing.”


Effective business tool

Marketing can prove a challenge, especially for smaller broker firms who are not sure how to best use it as an effective business tool.

A plan of action is an essential first step to outline the results you want and address each marketing element.

Marketing is generally a pre-sales activity and both online and offline opportunities should be considered to reach and communicate with your target market, group or audience.

Online marketing has particularly soared in popularity because you can inexpensively reach out to your target market via many different channels to remind potential customers that you exist, and what better way to reach them in a place where they spend quite a bit of time.

Although offline marketing has become less popular because of the high costs involved, don’t ignore it completely as both online and offline marketing can support each other well if coordinated properly.


Targeting customers

Target markets are also generalised too much. I often hear that the self-employed are a target market for many mortgage brokers.

That is great but are you targeting the self-employed who don’t declare enough income to qualify for a mortgage or are you drilling down further and seeking business from the self-employed who can actually qualify?

Visualise your audience and imagine what they look like, how old they are, how many children they have, how they spend their money and what dreams they have. All this will help you establish the channels where you can effectively communicate with potential customers.


Word on the street

Word of mouth marketing is important, because a new customer resulting from somebody spreading the good word is much easier to deal with and less expensive than an advert.

The same goes if a blogger or journalist writes positively about you in an article. Subliminally, people will value the comments of others more than if you were to write about how good you are yourself such as in an advertisement.

It’s the same principle when potential customers search for reviews from past clients who have used your service. The word of another means a lot which is why you should always bear in mind reputation management.


Resource management

A major issue is the time – cost balance.

Larger brokerages may have the resources to fund a marketing department. Smaller brokerages may be considering taking on the bulk of the marketing work themselves with some of the specialist marketing activities being outsourced.

As a minimum it is worth working with a marketing strategist who can advise a marketing plan and help keep you on track.

What you do must be measurable but bear in mind that marketing is not necessarily an instant fix. This is particularly true when a firm sees little by way of results after a month or two and then stops all activity. Be persistent with your marketing as you may not see the full result of your actions for several months.


Universal appeal

Whether you are one of the large brokerages or a one-man band, marketing is definitely for everyone if you can see a need for it.

The size of the marketing plan and financial budget should be proportionate to the size of the organisation.

If you are a one-man band then you will more than compete for new business if you have planned a local marketing strategy, however there is nothing to stop larger brokerages having a national and local strategy and vice versa.

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