Is your marketing program full length or mosaic?

From: Ameen Kamadia

Outside of large corporations with multi-person departments managed by VPs or Chief Marketing Officers, creating a marketing system that demonstrably contributes to sales can be a real challenge for most loan officers. Of all the overhead functions we handle, (that is, of all the functions that don't contribute a dime to the revenue side of the books), marketing has the highest cost profile. How can you be sure that the energy and expense will lead to the right results?

It doesn't surprise me to learn that marketing is left to chance. Loan officers routinely let others dictate what their marketing should look like, say, and how it should be delivered. And it also doesn't surprise me that in many small to medium brokerages, it is the senior broker or owner who directly oversees marketing. It is crucial to get the messages and positioning right. Marketing presents the face of the company to the outside world, and that face needs to be attractive to target audiences.

Company owners know their customers, they know their competitors, and they know how they want to position their companies in the marketplace. Problem is, these people already have big jobs without the addition or marketing to the mix.

I talk on a weekly basis with owners who have been managing marketing in addition to running their businesses and who have realized that it isn't working. In every case, they are taking a piecemeal approach that costs more money than it should for less than optimal results.

Think of marketing as a mirror that reflects the company. The bigger the mirror, the more (and more accurately) it reflects. Ideally, we want a full-length mirror-one single reflection of the entire entity. This is "integrated marketing," where the entire function is cohesive in appearance and message, from graphic design all the way to multi-faceted events. No matter where or how you encounter a company with integrated marketing, you will get the same reflection.

All the owners who contact me are using itty bitty mirrors for their marketing programs. They use this graphic designer, that copy writer, this advertising agency, that public relations consultant. Online marketing jobs are done by different vendors from those working offline projects. All of these little pieces get cobbled together into a fractured whole, and the resulting reflection is confusing and distracting. The image is broken up, distorted, and the appearance of the entity has to be guessed at instead of seen clearly. This is "mosaic marketing," with key messages seen and heard differently depending on where or how the company is encountered.

With mosaic marketing, activities are often reactive and in the moment: today we need a brochure so we go off and do that, tomorrow we need to change the web site and we go find somebody different to do that. The two activities may have very little (if any) overlap other than the company logo. Mosaic marketers jump on good ideas-let's get company t-shirts, let's do a white paper on that topic, let's have a webinar for this offering-without connecting them into an overarching program.

This isn't rocket science. Using my metaphor, given that the goal is to accurately reflect the company, a full-length mirror beats out a mosaic masterpiece any day. Everything works with everything else to convey a cohesive and consistent image.

So why don't owners marketers go for the full length mirror? I ponder this question every time I come away from a conversation with yet another broker looking for a better solution. The only answers I have come up with are the predictable ones: time and money. With all the demands on their schedules, owners/marketers don't have the bandwidth to proactively integrate marketing activities and ensure consistency across the board. And somehow they think that taking the mosaic approach is more cost-effective-though I am at a loss to understand why they think that hiring different providers for different services and trying to manage all of them successfully is cost-effective.

Just the opportunity cost of having the owners' time taken up with this stuff should be enough to stop the madness. There so many activities that only they can do; what are they giving up by keeping marketing, with all the tasks and activities that need to be managed, on their plate?

This kind of inefficient approach isn't limited to brokers; mosaic marketing is pursued by loan officers too. The same lack of efficiency and integration applies there as well, if not more so. With a one-person service firm, where company success relies entirely on the owner, why would that owner use so much of their time and energy on managing the marketing?

The way for an owner (or loan officer) to go from mosaic to full-length for their marketing mirror is simple: Create a vision of the business. Then systemize the marketing based on your goals and target market. If you are still in over your heads, then hire a consulting firm like ours to help you put the pieces together.

Happy Originating!




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