MReport July 2021

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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28 | M R EP O RT FEATURE of 50.8%, Hispanic or Latino Americans it was 47.5%, and for Black Americans the home- ownership rate was only 42.1%. Homeownership is often seen as a key indicator of wealth distribu- tion and, evidently, we have a long way to go. However, we as mortgage professionals must do our part to educate and empower all Americans to achieve the dream of homeownership. This includes marketing strategies that are inclusive and representative of the entire population. Training Talent and Fostering Culture C ustomers are intuitive and can often tell when messaging is inauthentic or when it is genuine and comes from true cultural un- derstanding. Inclusive marketing will not be achieved by merely discussing it in advertising and implementing it in a company's social media voice if they don't actually implement inclusive prac- tices into their internal culture. To achieve the best results when marketing to our mortgage clients, we must start within and foster a corporate culture that promotes diversity and champi- ons inclusiveness, which results in better innovation and greater customer communication. A 2017 Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study identified diversity as a key driver of innovation, showing that companies with diverse teams de- velop more relevant products be- cause they are more in tune with their customer's changing needs. Incorporating different voices in the marketing process is also imperative in developing content that is relevant and doesn't verge on insensitive or pandering. Hiring and promoting talent from various backgrounds is just one component to achiev- ing an internal culture that truly embraces inclusivity. Enacting fair employment practices such as equal pay, leadership that emphasizes diversity strategy and is open to new ideas, and policies that encourage frequent, open communication are all important steps in the right direction. It's certainly a process, and we all have a ways to go. The positive effects diversifica- tion has on employee morale, retention, and productivity, as well as the financial benefits of diversity in the workplace, are ap- parent. Once the culture is there, the voice of marketing can do its job to reach customers authenti- cally and make them feel repre- sented and understood. Through a thoughtful inclusive marketing strategy, this can be achieved in a way that empowers Americans from all backgrounds to achieve the dream of homeownership. . TANA GORDON is the COO and VP of Marketing for Open Mortgage. She has had careers in many industries, including journalism, and pharmaceutical, high tech, and the financial industries. Although she started working full-time for Open Mortgage in 2016, she has been involved in the company since its inception. While taking time off to raise her two children, Gordon completed her B.A. in organizational communications at St. Edward's University in Austin. She finds the degree to be highly applicable at Open Mortgage and believes that communication is key to a smoothly running organization. SOMETIMES, IT'S GOOD TO BE A FOLLOWER. Follow MReport on social media to put the latest mortgage banking news, stories, strategies, and insights at the touch of your fingertips. MReport @TheMReportNews The MReport powered by THEFIVESTARINSTITUTE

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