The marketing industry is rife with various kinds of jargon and buzzwords, some of which are overused and carelessly tossed around. Oftentimes, this creates more confusion than solutions when trying to reach customers effectively and generate business. Some of these fluffy terms do have a legitimate place in marketing lingo, however, so it’s important to consider how much value they can provide to you and your business.
Although it may sound cliché, the “buyer’s journey” is an essential framework for your marketing strategy. It can be summarized as the customer’s path leading up to a purchase. This path is broken down into stages through which a customer progresses: awareness, consideration and decision. From a marketer’s standpoint, the process consists of education, solution and selection. Put simply, your business strategy should recognize and answer the “why,” “how” and “who” questions that prospects often pose prior to making a purchase.
The “education” phase should focus on loosening up the status quo and helping buyers identify a challenge or opportunity in front of them. During this stage, buyers will typically search the internet and explore websites. However, highly engaged human interactions are just as important as non-human, low-reciprocity resources such as pay-per-click ads, blog posts and landing pages. In fact, a Sirius Decisions 2017 study showed that live, vendor-hosted webinars focused on the problem are an effective tool for reaching potential buyers.
The next stage, known as “consideration,” comes about when buyers have diagnosed the problem or opportunity and are exploring available options. Buyers begin to compare vendors and differentiate solutions. Because you stayed top of mind with your buyers during the education period, you want to make sure your business gets short-listed. Free trials, email marketing and sales presentation are useful tactics for setting your business apart.
Ultimately, what may differentiate you from your competitors is how you keep potential buyers engaged along the journey. A lesser known tactic is to open a multiuser environment after a webinar or a sales pitch for content distribution. Consider, for example, a members-only LinkedIn group or private channel in Slack where white papers and case studies are shared.
The final stage is when a decision is made. Here, you want to minimize buyers’ hesitations and nudge them to action. Whether it be a reassuring dialogue with a customer rep or distributor, a noncommittal demo period or limited-time discounts, this is the time to reinforce buyers’ decisions and fully convince them to take the proverbial plunge.
Understanding the steps your customers take to get from Point A to Point B is key to a successful marketing strategy. These journeys are unique to every buyer and can be somewhat hard to nail down because each buyer has different life experiences and a different background. However, in most instances, you can find certain patterns in how a group of customers interacts with a brand. These patterns can be gleaned from readily available internal data and research. By mapping out a “buyer’s journey” — as cliché as that expression might be — you can create different personas and deliver content that will resonate with each buyer at their particular stage in the decision-making process.
All mortgage companies are looking for an end-to-end digital mortgage solution that will create a simplified customer experience, but most companies find themselves trying to navigate a sea of choices when it comes to LOS, POS, CRM and technology solutions requiring integrations that cost considerable time and money.
What would an ideal mortech solution look like? Likely, it would tackle many of the most important questions that mortgage executives are asking right now.
How are customers saving for their home and understanding their credit score?
This is where banks have an advantage. By having the data about savings accounts or creating a goal-centered savings plan specifically for the homebuyer, accessible account management is key. If the buyer has an incentive — like owning a home — with a personalized or gamified guide to planning their finances to achieve the goal, that could be a big win.
So too it is with credit scoring websites. While there are many advantages to knowing your score, information about raising the credit is incredibly valuable for a mortgage company to provide.
If a mortgage company knows the goal, how can it manage the expectations of the buyer before pre-approval?
When properly built, a consumer-facing portal should provide everything a potential homebuyer would need to make educated decisions about their finances. That would include any information about their current mortgage, such as payment, amortization schedule and current payoff amount. Additionally, a real-time refinance calculation would be incredibly valuable.
If their savings and checking accounts (along with their overall financial portfolio, if possible) are displayed along with the goals listed above, and calculations of possible mortgage scenarios are offered, that could be a game-changer. Real-time rates and loan scenarios with calculations of payment would be a win as well.
For first-time homebuyers, this is the perfect place for education about how to buy a home. Home-readiness quizzes, videos, a chat-with-an-expert button and a chatbot built to intelligently offer up typical FAQs would allow for opting in to learn more at their own pace.
The ability to ask questions if they so desire is going to be important. Consumers want to move at their own pace and explore their options on their own time but having calls to action for immediate pre-approvals or scheduling an online video chat with an LO is key. Instant access to most banking data should make this an easy review.
How do you streamline and simplify the mortgage application?
Many POS solutions are offering easier than ever application processes for the buyer. Using guided application windows with one task at a time, these solutions could be personalized to specific buyers based on the data already collected.
Co-borrowers or other interested parties should have access to the portal, but the customer should be able to choose the content that is visible.
How do you streamline the loan process?
Automated and gamified “homework” lists are invaluable. With credit score, financial accounts and background of the customer already available, tasks such as tax returns should be easy to upload via mobile phone. Of critical importance are ease of uploading needed documents and storage of those documents for future purchases and refinances.
The customer should then have an easy tracking solution for the loan as it passes through the mortgage stages, and the customer should be pinged at their specified communication choice if more is needed.
Disclosures should be easily downloaded and e-signed, and e-closing should be available.
Pieces and parts of the solution are available now but tying them together into a cohesive mortech solution is just one of the ways that Intent is helping mortgage companies envision the future of lending.