Maria Zywiciel is president of NAHREP Consulting Services
(NCS), a marketing-consulting company specializing in the
Hispanic segment of the housing industry. Zywiciel has more
than 20 years of financial industry experience. Her expertise
in how cultural nuances factor into buying decisions and
consumer behaviors has been critical to successful strategies
for financial-service companies reaching diverse markets.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a
master’s degree in marketing. Reach her at
The New Face of the Market
Marketing to younger, more diverse borrowers requires the right tactics
By Maria Zywiciel
the social media space. Marketing tactics should
reflect the likelihood that Hispanics have a smart-phone nearby. Latinos and African-Americans are
more likely than whites to use Instagram and Twitter,
according to the Pew Research Center. In addition, Hispanic consumers both stream and download video to
a greater degree than non-Hispanics.
Word-of-mouth and endorsements also are important to Hispanic consumers. It is important, therefore, to
foster genuine conversations among customers and encourage public reviews when engaging on social media.
Originators can organically grow word-of-mouth
awareness through the organizations they join, or
they can invest in others to sing their praises through
commercials, infomercials, testimonials and the like.
Sources to tap on that front include trade and professional associations, celebrities, customer testimonials
and social influencers — such as YouTube stars and
When engaging online, don’t skimp on content.
Younger and diverse consumers are hungry for relevant information to help them make informed decisions. Originators should make sure their social content
is rich, but also easy to understand and relevant to their
diverse audiences. Millennials are savvy consumers and
conduct a lot of research before they buy.
Social responsibility is another key. Being present in
the community is important, not just to diverse segments, but to millennials as well. According to Omni-com Group’s Cone Communications, 70 percent of
millennials look to support brands that back causes
they care about. Consequently, social responsibility has
become a considerable priority for brands targeting
this segment. Originators should look for ways to show
their company’s values and support of social issues.
Finally, community involvement does matter. Mortgage companies must be present in and support the
segments they wish to serve. There is no shortcut to
building relationships at a market-by-market level.
Also, who a company puts into important positions
matters and is a reflection of their brand and their
Not all outreach solutions are limited to communication and presence, however. The soaring costs of higher
education and the related debt of many millennials also
affects the ability of millions to afford a home.
According to the National Association of Realtors’
2016 profile of homebuyers and sellers, about 71 percent
of millennial-aged buyers said their student debt is
hurting their ability to buy a home. With more limited
incomes and less money available for downpayments,
millennial buyers need solutions to help them acquire
affordable and available housing.
Originators should investigate loan products that can
help younger borrowers who are dealing with student-loan debt and be prepared to discuss these options
with those borrowers. In addition, builders hold another
critical key for the future success of millennial homeowners, which is through providing more affordable
housing inventory, such as manufactured homes.
n n n
Just like any other important initiative, originators and
mortgage companies must create a diverse millennial
strategy with care and thought. Seek the opinions of
younger employees in the office. Employee resource
groups make great internal focus groups. If necessary,
hire outside assistance that can look at the company’s
diversity initiatives with an impartial eye.
The key, however, is to make sure your company
approaches the millennial market with diversity in
mind and that these diverse efforts are focused on the
younger demographic. An approach that takes both
into consideration will yield the best results. n
Alot of discussion these days surrounds mil- lennials (individuals ages 18-34) and diverse market segments. Part of the reason for this interest is that the millennial generation is
the largest consumer segment since the baby boomers,
and it’s far more diverse.
Pair that data with statistics about the growing diversity in the United States overall, and it’s no wonder why
these two topics are garnering much needed attention. The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard
University estimates that between 2015 and 2025 there
will be 13. 6 million new household formations in the
United States. Of these, 40 percent will be minorities.
Last year the Zillow Group published the Consumer
Housing Trends Report. In this report, Zillow looked at
the demographics of all homeowners and compared
them against the demographic breakdown of millennial
homeowners. The report’s data shows that millennial
homeowners are by far more diverse than the general
population, especially in terms of Latinos.
In addition, last year, The Brookings Institute said
“racial diversity will be the most defining and impactful
characteristic of the millennial generation.” This data and
the increased attention overall shows that mortgage
companies must begin to take millennials seriously —
especially racially diverse millennials — if they want to
capture this elusive and lucrative market segment.
Although we still need to lessen the gap between
minority and white homeownership, Latino homeownership is seeing great strides overall. The National
Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals
(NAHREP) points out that Hispanics were the only major
ethnic demographic to record an increased homeownership rate last year, growing from 45. 6 percent in
2015 to 46 percent in 2016. The overall U.S. homeownership rate was 63. 4 percent in 2016.
What makes the Latino market seemingly so well
poised for homeownership? According to NAHREP,
Hispanics’ strong workforce participation, desire for
homeownership, efforts from companies targeting
Hispanic homebuyers and an increase in Hispanic
entrepreneurs are the main reasons for the growth.
Among Latino millennials, the desire for homeownership remains strong; however, there is still a need
for mortgage originators to tweak their approaches
and communication tactics. Following are some ideas
on how to get marketing messages out to these communities in relevant ways.
Originators who are not on board with social media
need to ramp up quickly because millennials dominate
“There is no short-
cut to building
relationships at a