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Review Your Mortgage Marketing Practices, the FTC is…

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The average mortgage broker and real estate professional is flooded with offers of marketing innovation. Real estate and mortgage marketing short-cuts–guaranteed to overload your email and telephones with customer inquires. Buyer beware!

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been one of numerous government agencies on a hunt to clean up mortgage fraud and beef-up consumer protection.

One of the latest FTC announcements hits a very popular mortgage marketing short-cut: Voice Broadcasting. Voice Broadcasting canvases a block of numbers to acquire an opt-in, hot-transfer and possibly exploits a loop-hole in “Do Not Call” legislation.

The FTC says, “No More” as of September 2009.

DoublePositive, a hot-transfer marketing group, covers the details of this FTC announcement on Voice Broadcasting ban. Here is the pertinent summary of the announcement, from the FTC press release:

The first will expressly bar telemarketing calls that deliver prerecorded messages, unless a consumer previously has agreed to accept such calls from the seller. This means the current forbearance that permitted calls to consumers with whom an EBR existed is coming to an end. This provision requiring the consumer’s permission prior to delivering a prerecorded message will go into effect on September 1, 2009. Also, beginning on December 1, 2008 prerecorded messages must at the outset of the message include an automated keypress or voice-activated interactive opt-out mechanism so that consumers can opt-out as easily as they can from a live telemarketing call.

This and related FTC actions are making it important to use mortgage and real estate marketing strategies that attract and engage consumers. Some examples include:

  • Audience development–Internet lead generation and social media
  • Traditional direct mail marketing
  • Database marketing and client-loyalty programs
  • Internet mortgage and real estate lead buying

The pendulum is swinging towards the consumer–requiring them to actively engage you for services. That means marketing strategies need to attract their attention or increase referrals.

Also, do yourself a favor and monitor this FTC press release page to stay in the FTC “good guys” group.

Reader Response

What are some marketing strategies that you are using? Which ones are returning good results? Do you agree with the FTC action?

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May 4, 2009 by · 10 Comments

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10 Responses to “Review Your Mortgage Marketing Practices, the FTC is…”
  1. What a shame. Govt. is trying to make telemarketing a thing of the past. The only person that gets hurt in this situation is the consumer. Plus with voicemail and caller id how bad are the telemarketers?

  2. Bill Rice says:

    I wouldn't call “voice broadcasting” telemarketing. It is power-dialing with little or no effort or targeting. I don't think leveraging technology to assault the consumer is good for the consumer or the sales force that gets these types of leads.

    Most of these calls are being sold to unsuspecting mortgage brokers as “premium hot-transfers”–how high do you think the intent is on these calls.

    I have a tendency to lean away from government action and intervention, but I am not som sure this is not a good thing.

    What do other think? Are we taking away our marketing opportunities or cleaning things up and improving our industry reputation?

  3. Chris says:

    The trend all across the board is that there will be more and more restrictions. It is a shame that the sales profession is becoming harder and harder. Great information though. I don't use dialers but now I can warn other loan officers who do.

    Chris

    nj mortgage

  4. LeadCritic says:

    Hi Bill,

    I think this is a great move! Voice broadcasting is intrusive and annoying. With the recent loan modification buzz I have been receiving 2-3 a week. And it is not from telemarketers only voice recordings.

    Its one thing to have a telemarketer call, but voice broadcasting is straight spam and unwanted. I think this actually makes it easier for the real sales person to compete. The consumer just may be in a little better mood when you call now, rather then the bad mood they are in when they just received 2-3 voice broadcasts in the past week.

    I see this as a positive step for sales people, not a negative.

    just my opinion, though

  5. Bill Rice says:

    I agree. These are, as I mentioned in the post, negative marketing short-cuts. Just because technology can make it happen does not mean it will yield a better solution.

    This technique may yield inquiries, but how many did you drive away from your brand or industry with the technique.

    I also agree that sales professionals and legitimate telemarketing operations would favor this action.

  6. Mark Green says:

    Bill, good talking to you today.

    @LeadCritic: Have you registered with the Nat'l Do Not Call yet? I feel lucky that I haven't been getting hit too hard with automated call-bots.

    Bill, you asked what's working? We're finding great results via direct mail. I think this could be for a couple reasons:

    1) In light of increased postage and fulfillment costs, many marketers have moved away from direct mail, thereby reducing clutter.

    2) Heck, rates have been at or near all time lows – why shouldn't direct mail work in such an environment.

    Thanks for the article.

  7. Gail Tassey says:

    More law does not always equal more protection. I do hate getting those robot calls though, of course looking back over the past several years at the number of cold calling telemarketers and now the silence of the phone at dinnertime, I would have to say the DoNotCall list has been effective.

  8. Bill Rice says:

    Gail,

    I definitely agree. I don't get a lot of these calls–other than a consistent one telling my car warranty is about to expire. I think the most important point to take-away is: 1) that these short-cuts as a marketer aren't effective, and 2) as a potential lead buyer of these “hot-transfers”–they aren't effective.

    Thanks for the comment!

  9. Bill Rice says:

    Mark,

    I agree on the direct mail tip. I have heard a lot of mortgage brokers have renewed success with this and other “traditional” marketing methods. As we talked yesterday–it seems good old-fashioned belly-to-belly sales is getting rewarded with closed deals, again.

  10. GGold says:

    FTC has changed the voice broadcasting laws as of September 2009. You will need written permission from the recipient before sending a voice broadcast message.

    Voice broadcasters need to re-invent a solution to continue voice broadcasting within the constraints of the new laws. Luckily, there is a solution. A new service called voicemail courier makes it possible to resume mass communication with a pre-recorded message.

    This method of mass communication is legal because a live person interacts with each call and message delivery, thereby satisfying the new voice broadcasting laws.

    This service uses proprietary software developed by Voicelogic.com

    Check out voicelogic.com and see if they can help you.

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