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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Commercial Edition   |   September 2018

What Type of Marketer Are You?

There are many ways to promote your business, but each of them invite a sales opportunity

Could there be a more ambiguous term than marketing? What exactly is marketing?

Digital marketing, pay per click, Craigslist, door flyers, newspapers, billboards — the list goes on. How about wearing a company shirt while volunteering at your kid’s school? Which of these is marketing?   c_2018-09_stone_spot

The answer is all of the above. Each of them represent paid or nonpaid forms of marketing exposure.

All of us in the commercial financing industry are constantly bombarded by solicitations offering to create new designs for our websites, sell us leads and provide outbound calling, for example. Faced with all these choices, how can we make sure we’re making smart marketing decisions?

Breaking it down

The role of a mortgage originator requires sales skills. So why does a salesperson also need to focus on marketing and a marketing plan? One of the most succinct statements about marketing as it relates to sales is as follows: “Marketing creates leads and sales closes them.”

That means marketing and sales are like two sides of the same coin. With that in mind, let’s break down the marketing side of the coin to get a better feel for how it works, which should allow you, as a commercial mortgage broker, to better coordinate your marketing efforts with your sales mission.

  • Paid advertising: This is anything that costs money directly and includes a lot of different things, ranging from pay-per-click online promotions, newspaper ads, billboards and more. Generally, if you pay for the advertising, then it’s paid advertising.
  • Cause marketing: This type of marketing is when your services or products are linked with a “cause.” Doing volunteer work while wearing a company shirt or hat is a good example of cause marketing. It also could take the form of a fundraising campaign for a local charity to raise awareness for that particular cause as well your own business.  
  • Relationship marketing: This is the “trusted adviser” type of marketing. Focusing on building customer relationships, customer loyalty and referral loyalty can reap huge benefits.
  • Undercover marketing: Commonly referred to as “stealth marketing,” this is understated and attempts to fly under the radar, to the point where the target customers are normally not even aware it is happening. Donating bottled water with custom company labels to a community event would be a good example of undercover marketing. 
  • Word of mouth: A major part of this marketing approach is aimed at cultivating referrals. This strategy is commonly used to increase a salesperson’s “sphere of influence” through building relationships and then actively working that base for referrals. This type of marketing relies heavily on the impression you leave on people as well as the level of customer service they perceive.
  • Internet marketing: This can be paid advertising, as in pay-per-click Google or Bing ad campaigns, or it can be unpaid, such as using Facebook, LinkedIn or another free social media platform to promote a product or service. Remember, Facebook and other social media platforms also offer paid advertising opportunities that can be combined with free posts to amplify a message.
  • Transactional marketing: This approach involves offering a discount, coupon or a special free-of-charge offer. The goal is to create a higher likelihood of a sale by coupling it with a motivator aimed at the customer. Offering a free oil change with every brake-service job, for example, is a type of transactional marketing that promotes a loss-leader teaser service (the oil change) to create the opportunity to sell customers a more profitable service for the business — in this case, brake service.

There are many more types of marketing, of course. These are among the most basic approaches, however, and are easy to identify and work into a marketing plan.

Creating a plan

When starting a marketing plan, you must first define what your overall business-marketing aim will be and who will be your target market. You might need different marketing plans for each focused aim and each target market. Marketing, for the most part, is done to increase sales.

When starting a marketing plan, you must first define what your overall business-marketing aim will be and who will be your target market.

In any marketing effort, however, there may be distinct niches to address, such as attracting new borrowers, getting existing borrowers to borrow again, or introducing a new loan program to your existing client base. For reverse mortgages, for example, you may choose to spend less time with internet marketing and more on relationship or paid marketing. That’s because you may determine that reverse-mortgage borrowers are less active on the internet than younger target markets. For fix-and-flip loans, however, you may choose the opposite course, or focus on being perceived as the “trusted adviser” for financing information when targeting real estate investor groups in your area.

In each of your marketing plans, keep in mind these two acronyms: USP and WIIFM. A unique selling proposition, or USP, is what sets you or your product apart from the competition. The “what’s in it for me,” or WIIFM, focuses on the benefit of your product or service to your target market. The benefit, or WIIFM, of your USP might even be different for each target-borrower segment. 

To help get a clear idea of your clients’ perspectives, try testing a few marketing messages or marketing headlines with some of your existing clients to get feedback. This can be as simple as sending an e-mail to a few recipients and having them vote on their favorite of several of your ideas.

You are selling a financial product that you believe in as a professional, but you must first see that product through the eyes of your clients in order to craft an effective marketing strategy and plan. Your customer might see the benefit of that product in a variety of ways — as being a step toward financial freedom, less stress or some other quality-of-life improvement. Does Starbucks sell coffee, or does Starbucks sell service and a nice atmosphere? Grasping each target market’s possible views of your USP is key to laying out your marketing plan. 


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