Tip of the Month - Marketing Zaio Style by Stewart Mednick

In my May column, I wrote about what I call ?The Formula?; benefit ? cost = value. One reader, who read the column, was inspired to write to me with some very valuable related information on the topic of superior customer service. He stated that: ??marketing customer service is an area where many mortgage companies are deficient. Every day I hear stories about marketing efforts proving to be ineffective?.? Jim Kirchmeyer is the Vice President of Northeast Operations for Zaio Inc, the North American leader in developing and maintaining a database of photos, valuations and property information of virtually every residential property for entire cities. He knows a thing or two, being in the real estate/appraisal business since 1986. The questions he wants to ask to you are: How do you measure the results of your marketing campaign? Who is your target audience? Have you performed research prior to launching your campaign? Too often, these questions return a deer-in-the-headlights type look in response. Jim would like to share five simple techniques that any company can use to produce results. 1. Create an Internal ?Think Tank? For those who work in a larger financial institution, brainstorm with other departments to determine consumer needs. Different departments play specific roles in a mortgage-related business. While these roles come together to meet the goal of closing the deal, these same entities should be involved early in the process and focus on serving the customer. There is a wealth of information that each department can contribute, and to maximize your marketing dollar, it is important to hear from them all. Take into account what each has to say, from operations and sales to information technology. This is where you will determine what your unique advantage is over your competitors. Jim has a great point here. I would like to add that for smaller companies like the independent brokerages, perform this process in a weekly training or staff meeting. Utilize the input from all of the diverse backgrounds of the entire staff, including processors and administrative support. 2. Determine Your Target Market Once you?ve met with your departments (or staff) and discussed consumer needs in general, you must determine your target market. If you specialize in refinances, a new homebuyer won?t be interested in your product. Are you looking to increase your reverse mortgage portfolio? Then target a more mature homeowner segment. Know your audience and address them in your marketing campaign. Your return on investment (ROI) will be greater. 3. Research, Research, Research Take the time to research where your message will be most successful. There are many media outlets available, but not all will be the right fit. Before you make the investment, search around and find the medium that works for your message and reaches your target audience. It will take a few clicks of your mouse and several phone calls, but your time will be well spent. Jim?s point here is one that I agree with wholeheartedly. I would caution, however, to not put all your marketing eggs in one basket. Try one with a small investment; see if it works before writing the big check. 4. Track Your Investment Here is where it can all go downhill if this task is not properly executed. You?ve done everything right. You?ve seen an increase in applicants and profits are up. Is this due to marketing or an otherwise explained increase in market demand? This cannot be determined unless you?ve been tracking your marketing investment. Just as you would check your stock portfolio every day, the same should go for your marketing dollar. Jim?s point here tied in well the with SWOT Analysis concept I talked about in the May issue. 5. Find an Agency to Assist You in Your Efforts Look into hiring an agency that specializes in marketing and public relations to help you. I am not an architect. Therefore, I am not going to fool myself into thinking I could design a building to industry standards and specifications. As simple as this may sound, many companies don?t consider this an option. While some may believe this is an unnecessary expense, I can assure you this is one investment you should make before launching a major marketing campaign. It will prove well worth it. Thank you Jim! Great information that dovetails well with much of the information this column provides every month. If you are interested in contributing feedback to the contents of this column, send me an email at [email protected]. Stewart Mednick is a seasoned mortgage banker and published author. His writing focuses on relationship development, customer satisfaction, marketing and sales techniques. Stewart is available for personal coaching and training sessions. If you have a comment or a question for Stewart, contact him at 651-895-5122 or [email protected] James Kirchmeyer currently serves as an executive officer of publicly traded Zaio Corporation, an independent supplier of technology and appraisal services to more than 500 USA lenders. He is responsible for product development, public relations, marketing communications, pricing, market research, and customer service. Kirchmeyer is also the founder of real estate appraisal company, Kirchmeyer & Associates, and the author of AVMs 101: A Guide to Automated Valuation Models. His most recent accomplishment is the completion of his second book AVMs 201: A Practical Guide to the Implementation of Automated Valuation Models, available online at http://www.zaio.com/avms201/.