By: John Seroka
If you don’t think you had a successful marketing strategy this year, what makes you think it will be successful next year? What did you learn from your experience?
Many companies throughout the mortgage industry annually create their marketing and public relations plans. But there’s a problem…many fail to achieve their desired outcomes.
For a marketing strategy to be truly successful, there must be a high level of determination among the executive staff that becomes contagious internally. Resources need to be made available. Everyone must believe in it and believe they can succeed.
Here are 8 common reasons for the lack of success of many marketing strategies…
1) You do not have a clearly defined value proposition. Why should your target audience buy from you, work with you or partner with you?
Your value proposition needs to define how working with your company will make a positive difference in their lives.
Defining your value proposition can be intimidating, especially if you’re a mortgage lender, a title company, appraisal management company or any other type of company with a fairly homogenous offering. In these cases, it is especially important to think beyond the characteristics of the product or service you provide and think about why people should choose/have chosen to do business with you.
If you need help, reach out to the people who have done business with you and ask them why they did. You could even approach your own employees and ask them why they chose to work at your company.
For other companies, like fintech providers, for example, the value proposition could include specific benefits of the technology along with the value your key people bring that make you unique. Even in this case, it would still make sense to talk to your customers and employees to help crystallize it.
2) A complete strategy does not exist in print or it’s just a shorthand version from a boardroom discussion. Sure, this is an obvious problem, but many times strategy discussions take place in the board room and other fires get in the way of fully developing it.
3) Goals are poorly defined. According to CoSchedule, marketers who set goals are 429% more likely to be successful than those who don’t.
Before the strategy gets written, there needs to be agreement on quantifiable goals you want to achieve. They need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
An example of a poorly defined interim goal could be “I want to drive more website traffic” when your true end-goal is increasing your account acquisition or origination volume by 20% over the next year.
If you identify increasing site traffic as part of the strategy, then define by how much, what kind of traffic and what you want them to do when they come to your site.
Well-defined goals bring results. In the example of driving more website traffic, a result should go beyond a percentage increase in website traffic, inbound calls or meetings. A result is actual new business due to driving the right kind of traffic for your company that converts.
Here are some tips for goal setting:
Make your goals measurable. If your goal is to increase your sales, new account acquisitions or origination volume by 20%, that’s great! This is easy to measure. Other goals, like increasing awareness of your company, are a bit harder to measure, but it can still be done.
In the case of increasing awareness, you might start with a benchmark study to determine current awareness of your brand within your target audience. This way, you have a basis for measuring how that awareness level changes over the course of a period of time.
Make sure your goals are attainable. Consider your marketing budget and how much can be reasonably accomplished for that budget in the competitive environment.
If your competitors are clearly outspending you based on your competitive research, consider this as you set your market share/sales goals. Setting outsized goals with a minimal budget only serves to frustrate your team when they are not achieved.
Establish a calendar of what will happen and when. Getting things done that drive you toward your stated goal(s) is essential. Without a calendar, your goals become wishful thinking.
4) You forgot to get full team support behind the strategy. Something often forgotten is that everybody in your company is part of executing the strategy to some degree. Everyone should be aware of your campaigns, latest news release, direct marketing program, new AE’s and on and on.
Once the strategy is set and there is buy-in from key execs, everyone must play “follow the leader” and do their part.
There are a variety of ways drive company-wide support. Some could include…
A company outing. Or, if the logistics don’t make this possible, consider other means of communications like a pre-recorded or live event with designated speakers that your company can tune into or even a series of events leading up to the launch.
However you choose to develop the event, you should share your vision and goals for the company, share where you’re going and how you plan to get there. Done well, this event can be a fun team-building experience!
Let everyone know the reasoning behind the strategy so they have a clear understanding of where you were and what you plan to achieve.
Share what you discovered through the competitive review you conducted as you developed the strategy. This will help everyone understand why it’s great to be on your team, pushing ahead to get to the next level.
Build enthusiasm by letting everyone know how they play a role in the success of the strategy.
5) No clear responsibilities or accountability. Strategies die due to lack of accountability and specific assignment of responsibilities. Therefore, make sure that everyone understands timelines and the roles they play in bringing the strategy to fruition as a team.
Don’t forget about those that may only have indirect involvement…they also need to clearly understand their roles. For example, how are leads distributed resulting from a direct marketing effort? Is there any internal training necessary to ensure a smooth process when sales of a new product or service result from a campaign? Who will do the training?
6) Wrong people working the strategy. Do people assigned to work on the strategy have the skills to execute their part? In the effort to get everyone involved, be sure to accurately identify their skill sets so they can be successful in their roles.
For example, if one part of the strategy is producing videos that can be posted on your YouTube channel, this could be a tall order if the person assigned to this task doesn’t have a solid background in scripting or production.
7) Lack of time or lack of money. Nothing is more frustrating than writing a marketing strategy and then finding out that there’s no budget to cover it and/or everybody is too busy wearing different hats to execute.
There’s no shortage of companies that have zero-based budgeting when it comes to marketing. With this, every line item is debated and scrutinized before being approved, corners are cut and then goals are compromised. Even if the budget is small, it’s good to know up front so you can set reasonable goals and design a strategy that fits the budget.
8) Changing market conditions. Interest rate fluctuations, regulations and much more can influence how your strategy is or is not carried out.
If you’ve been in the mortgage industry for any length of time, certainly you’re aware of this. Make sure that your strategy is flexible…and that you are flexible and ready to adapt as changes occur.
Blindly executing on a strategy that doesn’t make sense any longer is not only expensive, but it has the potential of making you look foolish and even drawing unwanted attention.
Any one of these items can impede the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. Simply being aware of these common obstacles should help you deal with them in advance and ensure your success.
Reach out to us to learn how we can help you develop a successful marketing strategy and make 2020 your best year yet!