marketingtechoutlook

The Growing Imperative of Marketing Automation

By Tim Wagner, CMO, Envoy Mortgage

Tim Wagner, CMO, Envoy Mortgage

In the age of digital transformation, even the stubborn mortgage sector is scrambling to adopt and adapt. On one hand, you have elevated end user expectations that must be met, from digital and technology perspectives. On the other hand, you can quickly outdate yourself—and your entire business model—if you’re not keeping pace with new technology standards and demands.

As an e-commerce and digital marketing professional, marketing automation plays a critical role in an organization’s ability to scale its marketing efforts and extend its digital reach. With the right tools and resources, automation can substantially reduce capacity constraints, regardless of the overall business model or structure. For instance, my company operates in almost every state in the US with hundreds of loan originators and well over a hundred branch locations. Thus, flexibility and scalability are crucial for us to meet the marketing needs from the field, which can range from unique location-based content marketing per location to pre and post event marketing at the local level to lead generation whereby we drive borrowers or referral partners to our specific loan originators.

Now more than ever, technology innovators are driving competition in the marketing automation space as well. In the financial services sector, especially in the mortgage space, we are seeing more technology and digital companies that do not have subject matter expertise enter into the equation. The reason being it’s these out of the box (and industry) companies who are most aligned with, and many would say are actually the reason behind establishing, the new wave of customer and user expectations. Thus, this is now opening the playing field within traditionally tech-challenged or tech-limited verticals. As a result, these technology innovators and mortgage vendor newcomers are growing their market share in this vertical, and their services are being highly leveraged by e-commerce professionals to drive production and business growth.

So, finding (or building) the right platform, which can include a number of different components, depending on the business model, is critical for taking full advantage of a company’s digital database and employee or location footprint. For instance, with the right tools and workflows, my company is significantly expanding our digital reach across social media and search engines by leveraging our newly deployed customer satisfaction survey process and automation platform. This tool also integrates into other important digital assets, such as our branch and loan originator websites. The result of this automation is that a single positive customer satisfaction survey or one great testimonial from a happy client or customer can now be disseminated across many social profiles and web assets, which boosts our local search engine presence and assists our online reputation management efforts.

"As an e-commerce and digital marketing professional, marketing automation plays a critical role in an organization’s ability to scale its marketing efforts and extend its digital reach"

The right marketing automation platform and strategy can provide means to efficiently and effectively control the brand, mitigate compliance concerns, and scale marketing efforts quickly. Recently, my company developed an end-to-end platform that provides our loan originators and our referral partners, such as Realtors, a broad range of marketing products and services, including the ability to customize automation workflows in minutes to meet specific individual’s needs. It is amazing to see how some of these tools can be leveraged to create a highly relevant and truly engaging experience for our customers and business clients. With the right tools and internal support, what used to take days or even weeks, can now be accomplished in only minutes, including dynamic landing pages and email campaigns that tie back to a specific employee at the company.

Reporting is yet another area that ties into the formula. Business intelligence, whether via analysts or with systems and tools, is substantially enhanced with the right automation vendors. Broad and granular reporting allows us to constantly optimize campaigns, narrow our targeting and content focus, and provide the right messaging at the right time to relevant users, whether through retargeting, direct search or social acquisitions or any other integrated marketing channels.

Another aspect to consider is the openness (open API, if not completely open source) of many newer platforms and systems that allow us almost infinite ways to integrate into other important systems to support key marketing channels and initiatives. Lead generation efforts, for example, can naturally include dozens of potential lead sources – lead purchases, broadcast, direct mail, search, social, affiliates, etc – that can be difficult to manage, track and report results from without proper integration into numerous systems. This is another example where marketing automation can eliminate the headaches of manual workarounds.

I am very fortunate to work at an innovative, forward-thinking mortgage company that places a high value on technology and integrated digital marketing. Marketing automation plays a critical role in our organization and provides our loan originators a robust suite of tools that significantly assist in boosting their production and allow them to provide superior, high (digital) touch customer service to their referral partners and borrowers.