Best co-marketing practices

by Kimberly Greene28 May 2019

When working with a valued partner, co-marketing can be an ideal solution to combine efforts and resources in order to grow both business simultaneously. Such arrangements can also be a perfect example of sunk cost and effort without yielding much in the way of growth or strengthening a partnership.

Three industry experts from Total Expert shared proven techniques to overcome some of the most common co-marketing challenges in a recent webinar.

The biggest takeaway was that mortgage companies need to be proactive when it comes to providing materials, or assets, for their originators. There’s often a rush when it comes to requesting assets, and originators hope that their marketing departments can create whatever they need in the required time frame. They may have to settle for old or irrelevant content because they can’t get what they need in time.

Kate Cosgrove, customer success manager at Total Expert, suggests that companies try to preempt common requests that marketing teams get from LOs, and develop a process where originators are aware of the content that already exists and how to get access to it. By centralizing the requests and their execution, companies can streamline the process, ensure that duplicate requests are eliminated, and align sales and marketing departments on marketing strategies.

Centralizing marketing asset management delivery comes down to the organization of material, and Mike Ahart, senior customer success manager at Total Expert, says that best practices that they’ve seen include creating appropriate keywords and ways to filter content so that originators can easily find what they need. Companies should also undertake periodic reviews to make sure that they’re not missing any critical content, as well as set an expiration date on material with a short shelf life. This ensures that originators don’t use any outdated content.

Ahart said there’s also such a thing as too much available content, which can overwhelm originators, especially when they aren’t able to spend much time searching for something. A lengthy search process can lead to them either settling or making new requests, and in turn overwhelming the marketing department.

“If there are assets that haven’t been ordered in the last 6 months, eliminate them,” Ahart advised. “Mark most frequently used items as most frequently used; there’s a reason why they’re most frequently used.”

When establishing co-marketing processes and policies, faster approval channels and processes are critical to getting materials approved and into the field. The better mortgage originators are able to capitalize on partnership opportunities in a timely manner, the better the right message can be delivered to the right person at the right time through the right channel, said Katy Lyman, Total Expert’s product management lead. A danger of having a slow-to-market process is that originators could “go rogue” and use materials that haven’t been approved, and could therefore not be compliant.

“Audit is not an ‘if’, it’s a ‘when’. Having a high level of self-imposed accountability pays dividends when that day comes,” Lyman said.

A company that isn’t compliant or that isn’t ready for an audit is putting themselves at risk, but avoiding the issue altogether because it can be difficult to scale in a compliant matter could mean missing out on co-marketing opportunities altogether. Ahart suggests that companies look for technology that can automate the speed to market, track the share of costs, and standardize workflows.

Ultimately, mortgage originators need to feel comfortable enough with the process to take charge with their co-marketing relationships. Top producers can recommend assets to their peers and share engagement strategies that have worked for them, and Cosgrove said that lenders that are focused on getting LOs educated and up to speed are focused on a number of things, including empowering their top producers and using their peer influence to drive others to follow suit.

Even with the best materials available, originators should make sure that a co-marketing partnership is the next step in their relationship with an agent or other referral source. Set goals, said Ahart, and focus on connecting with a partner that’s going to help achieve those goals.

“Some partners are going to be a better goal than others,” he said. When branded alongside someone else, “their interactions will ultimately be a reflection you. Think about that as you establish relationships and determine who you really want to work with.”