David and Goliath: How Small Players Beat Out the Big Banks

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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in the National Mortgage Professional Magazine. We are re-posting it here because the advice has value for any small- or medium-sized business (a David) competing against giants in the same industry (the Goliaths, aka the Big Fish).

Big fishWith mega-banks continuing to dominate the mortgage industry, the smaller players need a smart strategy for retaining customers and intelligently targeting new prospects. With limited marketing budgets and resources, competing for customers with the big banks is no easy feat.

The marketing game used to involve saturating the market to the fullest extent of a company’s pocketbook. But the game is changing.

The rise of digital marketing and online consumerism

With the evolution of the Internet, there has been a drastic shift in the way consumers make spending decisions. With increased access to online information, customers are empowered to explore and discover products and services on the Web at their leisure. They are active participants in their own buying pathway, and their specific buying interests can be identified by marketers based on the Web pages they visit, the emails they open, and the content they consume.

This means that companies need to take a more targeted, digital, marketing approach, focusing on identifying buyers who are in the discovery process, and leveraging marketing automation technology to deliver appropriate sales messages at a calculated cadence.

The rise of digital marketing and online consumerism has created a new paradigm in which massive budgets aren’t a prerequisite for creating a powerful marketing presence.

Optimizing the use of LOS data

Mortgage professionals are uniquely positioned to leverage this shift, as most have ready access to potential customer data via their loan origination software (LOS). (Note to non-bankers: most LOSs are huge databases containing loan histories and borrowers, including when the person took on the last loan, changes in their income and credit score, etc. -Ed.)  Marketing automation can help companies intelligently communicate to these potential clients with automated drip email campaigns (known as lead nurturing to marketers) to get higher engagement rates and higher conversion rates for prospective customers.

It’s common for LOS data to be used in postcard mailings or other offline initiatives, but taking a cost-efficient digital approach can generate a higher yield given that consumers are spending more and more of their time online, and paying less attention to print ads, mail, and other forms of traditional marketing.

A new digital marketing tool set

Taking advantage of this new paradigm requires businesses to adopt a new set of tools and tactics for targeting customers. These tactics can be broken into three distinct categories:

1. Attracting traffic to your online properties (social media, search optimization, search ads)

2. Converting web traffic into sales leads (web site sign-up forms and useful free content)

3. Converting sales leads into sales (lead nurturing and lead scoring)

For smaller competitors in the mortgage industry, this opens up a world of opportunity for winning out against big banks.

All it takes to win is the right technology, the right mindset, and proper planning.