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PR is part of the marketing mix, so why aren’t marketers leading the way? – Hunt

by: Paul Hunt, director of the Mortgage Marketing Forum
  • 08/04/2022
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PR is part of the marketing mix, so why aren’t marketers leading the way? – Hunt
Ask anyone in the mortgage industry, whether they are a broker, packager, tech firm, service partner or lender, and they will all tell you that this is a market built on communication.

Brokers in particular will regale you with cases that were looking doomed but which they managed to get over the line thanks to a phone call or an email to the right person.

However, I think it’s fair to ask whether communication among the various elements of the mortgage market today is quite as good as it should be. Not on a case-by-case basis, but more broader communication – are lenders, distributors and the like doing the best possible job of explaining exactly how they operate and what they stand for?

I’m not so sure.

When I think back to how the market looked before the financial crisis, things were rather different and not just because the major trade titles were all thick, printed publications. Back then, many of the names representing mortgage businesses, taking on the role of spokesperson were professional marketers.

Today, however it’s generally people nearer the coal face – the sales directors and heads of intermediary services who are also acting as spokespeople and figureheads.

Now, I can see value in this for brokers: You are getting those comments direct from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Sales directors are well placed to offer real insight that may help inform the way a broker operates.

 

All channels of communication are important

That’s the case when it works well, of course, when that spokesperson also happens to be an efficient communicator. However, for some undoubtedly, communicating with the press and brokers at large is simply one extra task on their to-do list, and if we are being brutally honest – one that they really don’t want to be doing.

After all, any sales director will tell you that their performance is measured in raw numbers, the completed sales, rather than the response they got to a well thought out blog for Mortgage Solutions.

It seems to be easy to overlook how important efficient communication really is, but brokers will know themselves how crucial it is in their own advice process.

They will also know only too well the lenders and distributors who present a muddled image – the names that don’t seem to really know what they want to be, in contrast to the mortgage firms who have a consistent message.

Making use of a professional marketer as a trade press spokesperson offers mortgage firms an awful lot of benefits.

First and foremost, it means that those heads of intermediaries can actually focus on their day job, rather than field phone calls from journalists looking for a scoop. That means devoting all of their energies to delivering the best possible experience to brokers and their clients.

It also means that these mortgage firms will be better placed when it comes to communicating with the market at large, explaining exactly what that lender or distributor really wants to deliver.

 

Good communication breeds good results

When communication is good, brokers will know precisely which lenders are best placed to help certain types of clients whom they can provide with a smoother and more stress-free borrowing experience. Also, as it is part of their day job and a valued part of the marketing mix, undoubtedly press engagement will be more proactive, which in turn will drive more coverage and eventual awareness with brokers.

It’s because of this that we set up the Mortgage Marketing Forum last year, a community for marketing professionals across the industry to come together, share ideas and champion the benefits that good marketing can provide. The response that the forum has already had in its first six months is a real cause for optimism – this industry is filled with professionals who want to learn, who want to understand how to get their message across in a rapidly developing environment and build the skills that will allow them to do just that.

When you have been in the mortgage market for a long time, there is obviously a danger of viewing the past through rose-tinted glasses, of lamenting the fact that it’s no longer the ‘good old days’. But in a variety of ways the mortgage market is actually in a far healthier, more sustainable position today than it has ever been.

Yet it’s also important to take lessons from the past. I firmly believe that mortgage businesses can do a far better job of communicating with their customers – whether brokers or borrowers – by making use of professional marketers and developing these individuals to be the senior managers of the future.

This will give businesses more depth and greater insight, knowledge and experience across their sales and marketing operations.

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