MReport June 2021

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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M R EP O RT | 21 EXPERT INSIGHTS Future-Proof Your Marketing for Millennials and Gen Z To make sure your mortgage business doesn't miss out on growth driven by these younger generations, it's crucial to rethink how you engage with prospects and customers. By Larry Avery I t's no secret that millennials (also referred to as Gen Y: born 1981 to 1996, currently aged 25 to 40) are posi- tioned to have substantial and long-lasting influence on the real estate sector. What fewer people realize is that Centennials (also known as Gen Z: born 1997 to present, the oldest currently 24 years old) are not far behind. In fact, millennials have been the largest share of homebuyers since 2014, and currently account for 37% of buyers. On the Gen Z side, mortgages are the fastest-growing credit product among this genera- tion, expanding 52% YoY. Realtor. com says that Gen Z could leap- frog many millennials financially since Gen Z has a more stable foundation on which to build. To make sure your mortgage business doesn't miss out on growth driven by these younger generations, it's crucial to future- proof your marketing. This may mean rethinking how you engage with prospects and customers. Show Them Who You Really Are T his audience cares about the greater good and tends to seek out companies whose ethics and philanthropy align with their own. This is especially relevant in commoditized markets like mortgages, where a brand's story and mission are a critical com- petitive differentiator. These generations value diver- sity and are socially conscious on a wide range of issues. They put their money where their hearts are. For example, during COVID, millennials and Gen Z were, respectively, the first and second most generous generations when it came to sending financial aid to family or friends and donating to nonprofits. These young folks actively seek out ways to get involved and make brand choices based on their values. For instance, 44% of millennial parents say they will only shop with brands who share the same social or political views. It's also important to note that these customers have the poten- tial for sticking by a brand—60% of millennials stay loyal to brands they purchase from. Those are excellent odds for an increased lifetime value. Know How and Where to Engage T hese generations are online and on social media. They are used to the seamless and highly convenient digital experi- ences provided by the world's most well-known and sophisticat- ed brands. They expect the best. It's critical to meet these buyers where they are. You need a broad and engaging digital presence that skips the hype and the buzz. (They can see right through that, and they are over it.) You need to embrace an omni-channel market- ing strategy that includes not only your website, but also email, text, chat, social, and even apps. In short, these folks demand instant access and instant responses. You may also want to consider ways to spotlight positive reviews since these buyers tend to be skeptical by nature: 40% of them regularly refer to reviews and testimonials before making a purchase. Your content should be edu- cational and position your brand as a mentor, trusted ally, and ad- vocate. Sixty-five percent of Gen Zers don't feel confident about their knowledge of the mortgage process and would turn to a real estate agent (58%) or the internet (54%) to learn more. Close that gap to earn their trust. Use Technology the Right Way M illennials are very tech- savvy, and Gen Z is the first generation of "digital natives." They love technology—not for technology's sake, but for the ways it makes their lives easier. "Experience" is the key word when thinking about how to reach and engage this audience. They want interactions that are intuitive, customer-centric, seamless, integrated, secure, and personalized. Approximately 70% of all Gen Y and Z consumers are more willing to share per- sonal information with an app in exchange for more personalized or convenient services. Take Advantage of the Opportunity M ortgage professionals have a great opportunity to engage these influential audiences now and build the foundation for valuable customer relationships that will last for years to come. Partnerships with like-minded organizations can play a pivotal role in supporting such efforts. Birchwood is a leading provider of credit services, and a company that has built its reputation on providing service that delights. We'd love to help you delight your customers, too. Visit birch- to learn more. . LARRY AVERY is the EVP of Partnership, Vendorship. SPONSORED CONTENT

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