Rethinking lead technology for a post-pandemic world

While the pandemic and refinancing boom are really separate phenomena, it's hard to tell which of them is causing which consumer behavior, said Nick Belenky, chief revenue officer of Top of Mind, which offers the Surefire customer relationship management system and is now owned by Black Knight.

Lenders "are looking for ways in which they can get borrowers to interact with their websites, interact with them socially, through social posts and content sources," Belenky said. So Surefire creates social content for its customers to help them navigate what is known as the "refi boom recovery".

But that's not enough. Against prepandemic research suggesting a decreased impact of direct mail, Surefire is developing omnichannel marketing articles like direct mail to improve contact. Consumers are inundated by email, especially now with many people working from home, Belenky said.

As part of the omnichannel experience "we are asked to deliver physical – physical graduation gifts, physical postcards for lead generation in addition to mobile contact.

"They work from home and get physical mail in a place where their decisions are made," Belenky said. "So shipping physical goods home just becomes more effective when people spend more time at home."

These mailings work in tandem with text message videos, such as a person's milestone on their road to home purchase, Belenky said.

Big Purple Dot recently added SMS / MMS video marketing to its CRM lead management platform.

The pandemic meant that the originators "not only had to do business virtually, but also had to stay in touch with the borrowers without interacting," said CEO Roxana Davidoff.

Unlike Belenky, Davidoff sees physical parts as victims of the pandemic. "They were so fixated on mailings, but overnight because nobody wanted to properly process anything from the mail due to contamination, everything changed," she said. "With nobody wanting to deal with anything anymore, we had to find a more creative way to interact and connect with borrowers."

Consumers expect a seamless experience in obtaining a mortgage that can be carried out from the comfort of their own home.

"We're seeing more and more lenders take advantage of marketing that combines SMS, MMS, AI, bespoke text and multimedia messaging with what Big Purple Dot does, video," said Davidoff. "All of these things have somehow advanced this industry in terms of communication and the way we communicate with borrowers."

And that resulted in video being added to text messages. Users create personalized messages in these videos to connect with the prospect.

"It's much more focused on the borrower and their specific needs and wants," said Davidoff. "We're trying to get in touch with them because we can't get in touch with them personally."

Leaving a voicemail message won't work, she said. If anything, many people have stopped checking their voicemails, especially when they appear to be from a mass marketing explosion. You'd rather have this text message.

"People want things now, they want them to be personalized and they want them to connect with them," Davidoff said. "If it doesn't connect with you, if it's not personalized, they don't want it."

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