Laura Martell is marketing manager for Mountain West
Financial Inc., where she oversees all print and digital advertising, recruiting materials, websites, online advertising,
social media, public relations and brand development. As a
veteran of the mortgage business, Martell understands the
industry, from retail to wholesale and sales to operations.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Cal
Poly Pomona. Reach Martell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bring Clarity to Your Business
Your marketing strategy should focus on what you offer that
your competitors do not
By Laura Martell
Many mortgage companies and origi- nators fly blind on a day-to-day basis, without discovering what truly moti- vates their borrowers and referral
partners to work with them and remain loyal to them
— essentially, the ingredient in their business that
solves a problem the competitors can’t.
This ingredient has a name: value proposition. What
is that? Google will tell you it’s “an innovation, service
or feature intended to make a company or product
attractive to customers.” Others will tell you that it’s
the top reason that determines whether people
will read more about what you have to offer, or hit the
According to marketing institute CXL, if applied to
the mortgage industry, a value proposition should
explain how your loan products, service levels or
marketing and business strategies solve a client’s or
referral partner’s problems, or accomplishes what
they need done. It should also deliver specific benefits
and tell the borrower or referral partner what you can
do that’s different from your competitors.
With this in mind, no one value proposition or statement will speak to your entire audience. You will need
to create different messaging for your specific audience of homebuyers (by defining location, loan type
or other relevant factors), as well as your real estate
agents and other referral sources. We’re going to dive
into creating your value proposition, testing it in the
market and getting the word out.
Craft the message
Start by putting yourself in your target audience’s
shoes. You may want to create a few audiences.
Examples would include real estate agents, first-time
homebuyers, builders, certified public accountants,
veterans, investors, home flippers and do-it-yourself
As you define your audience, write down as many
specific characteristics as you can about them (this
will be valuable in one of the last steps), such as who
he or she is, their demographic information, income
and age. Get specific.
Although it’s never a good idea to sell by talking
badly about someone else, it is important that you
know who your competitors are for each segment of
ucts and the unique services they offer. This step is
crucial because you can use this information in a pos-
itive way to enhance your messaging. When a bor-
rower asks you, “Why should I do business with you?”
your value proposition must answer this query in a
compelling way. Are you offering a unique program,
service level or process that exceeds the needs of
Is your product more affordable or does it have
lower closing costs? Do you have a fail-proof open-house or lead follow-up strategy to support your real
estate agents? Write down the root of the problems
you solve from the viewpoint of your target audience.
Your value proposition should dispel myths. The
mortgage industry is full of myths that we sell around
every day. Think of the nightmare stories that have
been told about past loans, outrageous requirements
for documentation or the stringent financial requirements for borrowers.
These myths can lead to tremendous concern and
uncertainty. Often, the most important part of the
decisionmaking process is an emotional decision,
and dispelling myths can help ease this portion of
Above all, the value proposition needs a clear mission and message. It should be about understanding
your own product, knowing how it compares with
your competitors, and realizing how it fits with what
borrowers and referral partners need.
Your value proposition should connect with your
personal brand’s mission. What do you stand for? It’s
bigger than just your marketing plan and can really
take some time to figure out. It needs to be simpli-
fied into something that can be easily understood
by everyone involved. To this end, it should contain
a headline to describe the end benefit, as well as a
subhead, paragraph or bullet points to offer a more
detailed explanation of what you offer and why.
Make a list of possible value propositions that fit
your business — this isn’t something you’re going to
knock out in 20 minutes. Write several down, stew on
them a bit and narrow it down to a few that you want
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