Jul 152008

The mob I work for at the moment isn’t really up the pointy end of marketing and promotion in the age of high technology. The people I work with, amazingly, have no concept of the blogosphere. Rather, they didn’t, until I showed them today.

I work for a Mortgage Manager. A middle entity between non-bank financial institutions like ING Direct, RedZed Lending, Breez Finance and Origin Credit and prospective borrowers. Mortgage Managers do precisely what the name implies. They ‘manage’ the admin side of mortgage accounts on behalf of the NBFI’s which provide the funds for the MM to lend out.

In these present difficult economic times, with good deals hard to come by and difficult-to-set deals crawling out of the woodwork, the only real difference between Mortgage Managers is the service they provide to their customers. My customers are borrowers, and introducers of borrowers to the business. In other words, brokers. Yes …. I know, finance brokers …scum of the earth! Well, while that dismissive opinion may well apply to a small cadre, experience on both sides of the fence has taught me that 90% of finance brokers are honourable, decent and helpful individuals, just trying to eke out a living from decreasing commissions in these lean times. Mortgage Managers, like my employer, rely on repeat referrals from broker-introducers and it’s the service from people like myself in terms of information, experience and influence with funders and mortgage insurers which helps to ensure that repeat referral business.

As I stated at the outset, a technological approach to self-promotion and marketing isn’t high on the order of "must do’s" for my employer. The corporate website is skinny on basic data at best and badly in need of a make-over. Important funder information, servicing calculators, documentation and so on isn’t up to date or otherwise completely missing. It wouldn’t be the first Mortgage Manager website I’ve seen that needs smartening up, and certainly isn’t the worst, but short of telling the Managing Director where he’s falling down, and that he needs to spend some serious time & resources (read ‘cash’) pulling to organisation into a 21st century marketing regime, I’m debating doing something off my own bat.

Readers will quickly realise that I own the domain which this tome inhabits. It’s name isn’t too strange for the purpose I’d like to put it to. Waddayano_dot_org. "What Do You Know?" It’s an invitation for feedback, which is why I registered the domain in the first place. Weblogs are a powerful communications medium, and if you’re a regular reader of blogs, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. I’m seriously considering using this domain as a communications medium for promotion of my employer, myself as a Business development Manager (grand title which doesn’t mean squat, really) and above all else, promotion of the services both I and my Mortgage Manager employer can provide. A mechanism by which our referrers might interrelate, make suggestions, offer ideas for improvement and by which we – the Corporate ‘we’ – might promote products, events, special offerings and just straight out information which finance brokers need on a daily basis to stay in touch with their industry and market place.

Yes, I know there are two peak bodies which are supposed to provide at least some of this support, but as any broker will tell you, they’re members of either peak body – the MFAA or FBAA – simply because they know they have to be in order to garner industry recognition. I’m yet to speak to any broker who’ll say their annual membership is money well spent. I wasn’t in the game long enough to speak authoritatively, but I know what the MFAA membership did for me wasn’t worth writing on the back of a postage stamp.

I’m still in the musing phase of ‘should I bother?; what’s in it for me?; will it work as I’d like it to?’ I know blogging is quite capable of communicating a message, but will it work in the context that I need it to?

My workmates tell me I might be onto something with the blog-for-business’ idea. I guess there’s really only one way to know for sure.

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