On this episode of Expert Insights, our host Joe Welu is joined by Sue Woodard, fintech evangelist and senior advisor for Total Expert and the STRATMOR Group. As an industry expert with over 30 years in the lending space, Sue speaks frequently with dozens of the top companies in lending and is current with their most pressing struggles and opinions.
In this episode, Sue and Joe discuss the current mindset top lenders are in as they move into 2023, as well as the priorities and strategies for growth they’re using in order to stay relevant in a down market.
Stop and Evaluate the Resources
The stability of both the lending and home mortgage industries has been hanging in a delicate balance for the past year. “What we’re hearing from a lot of people is that the first part of 2023 is probably going to continue to be a bit challenging,” remarks Sue Woodard. “I don’t think we’re done with some of the measures that people have to take in order to get their businesses in a healthy place.”
Lenders, like any other business right now, are thinking critically and evaluating all their costs and returns. The silver lining, Sue explains, is that the occasional resource audit is a healthy exercise for business. This lull in the market is an opportunity for lenders to slow down and evaluate what’s a priority for the next few quarters.
Luckily for fintech companies, the value of support technology holds strong. “I was in a workshop with a group of technology executives, and I was surprised when I heard the question being asked about budgets for 2023,” remembers Sue. “No one said they were cutting on the technology budget side, which I thought was very interesting. In fact, a third said they were going to be increasing their technology budget for this year.”
This slowdown in the market, however, means the competition for customers has grown even fiercer. Sue explains how she is seeing smart lenders reexamine the complete customer journey in order to better engage with and hold onto leads in the competitive market. Taking time to strategize and earn each transaction is critical in this landscape.
Prioritizing Customer Acquisition
As lenders are evaluating their resources and strategies, three trends are rising to the surface as priorities for investment: cost-cutting, compliance, and customer acquisition.
For Sue, customer acquisition right now should be the top priority. Companies that are focusing their efforts on customer acquisition as a way to gain market share have been successful. Tapping into the plethora of new customer data that was gained during the COVID market boom is a great place to start.
“Over the last few years, lenders have gained all kinds of customers in their databases,” Sue explains. “You’ve got consumers you didn’t have in there before. Now, what are you going to do? What are you going to do with this amount of data that you have in your database, the number of consumers, real humans, and families that are in your database that are going to need additional services from you? They are going to do repeat and referral transactions.”
With the support of technology, the possibilities for marketing to customers are endless. Top lenders are leaning into educational content and engagement to acquire customers who are in need of high-quality advice now more than ever. Sue describes how consumers are more willing than ever before to give up data and information about themselves if they’re going to gain information, advice, guidance, and education that is helpful to them in their life. Lenders who position themselves as financial guides in order to reengage or acquire customers have the potential to earn customers for life. To learn more from Sue Woodard about strategies for growth in 2023, listen to her full discussion with Joe here, The 2023 Growth Playbook: Customer Acquisition With Sue Woodard.