Be different or be damned

Be different or be damned


It is vital for bridging lenders to push their proposition out to brokers and intermediaries successfully in order to gain as big a share of the market as possible. So, what strategies do they employ in order to best market themselves to brokers?

Alan Cleary, Managing Director of Precise Mortgages, which operates a significant marketing budget, gave us an insight into his company’s marketing approach, explaining: “We target magazines that we know are read by intermediaries, conducting both on and off-line marketing through trade publications.”

Precise’s marketing is split up in various sections, from: “PR – we do a lot of press things to get our name out there – to an in-house team with a database of around 10,000 who send targeted marketing or e-shots.”

The sales team on the road also do a lot to market the Precise brand. He added, “Roger Morris (Sales Director) and his team work with networks and our Premier Panel to conduct roadshows, which are mainly designed to educate and help brokers understand how bridging works and which customers would be suitable for this lending solution.”

James Bloom, Chief Executive of development lender Regentsmead, told B&C: “We believe in old fashioned face-to-face contact and get to see our brokers as often as possible. We have been established since 1934 so are fairly well-known in the industry but we believe that building brand awareness is a constant process which we continually work on.”

He explained that alongside marketing with B&C and some of the other online publications, Regentsmead also exhibits (at the NACFB expo) and sends solus emails direct to its own database.

For Dragonfly Property Finance, the best method of marketing is PR. Mark Posniak, the company’s Head of Marketing and Operations, commented: “We value PR the most as it’s important to get your message out to brokers and show them that you’re there. PR does that better than advertising.”

Precise is known for helping its broker partners boost their own brand profile. Alan said, “We have a Premier Panel which consists of ten companies. Part of our marketing function includes one person whose job it is to work closely with the panel to help them with their own marketing.

“We use our expertise to help companies with, for example, HTML coding. A lot of companies don’t have a dedicated marketing team and we take the view that an investment of time into our preferred partners is definitely worthwhile, because if they flourish then hopefully so will we.”

Masthaven Bridging Finance also works with brokerages and distributors on marketing. Richard Deacon, Sales and Marketing Director, commented: “Often we help provide material, case studies, and ideas for them to market their name with the understanding that we get the enquiries when they come in. This often works very well.”

What is the main message lenders are most focused on getting through to their brokers?

Mark explained Dragonfly’s ethos: “Our message is that we are 100 per cent focused on our brokers. Our entire proposition is based on providing them – and their clients – with an unrivalled level of service, and saying yes, rather than no.”

James said: “We want to focus on the fact that, because we lend our own funds, it is really easy to deal with us; we are very straightforward. It is vital in this overheated market to have a niche within the market and use this to differentiate yourself.”

Masthaven regularly produces Bridging Life – an e-newsletter dedicated to bridging brokers. Richard said, “There are so many companies jockeying for market share that you have to be innovative and think outside the box to get the message across to the market.

“The trick is to think how many mainstream mortgage brokers have heard of Masthaven. We like to think it is a lot more now than it was three years ago.”

Mark added, “Be different or be damned, that’s one of the age-old adages of advertising. It’s one of the reasons we went for Dragonfly Property Finance when we rebranded.

“There is a lot of competition in the sector and therefore it is important to do all you can to stand out from the crowd. But ultimately, how you perform comes down to what other companies say about you – and that comes from offering a good service.”

For Alan and Precise, which prides itself on the way it calculates its interest, it is all about transparency. “Bridging lenders can all quote the same rate but in the end what the borrower is charged is massively different. I would like to see APRs on all the KFIs so that borrowers and brokers can figure out which really is the cheapest deal.”



By Miranda Atty

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