As interest rates continue to stay well below 3% with no end in sight, lenders are faced with consumer demand from all corners of the housing market. From refis to first-time-homebuyers in the beginning stages of their search, consumer interest has certainly been piqued by low rates and is only growing stronger. 

To help lenders navigate through a sea of refis and potential purchases, fintech companies like Jornaya are adding value by providing behavioral data that informs lenders when their consumers are visiting mortgage-related websites. “With behavioral data, lenders can see which of their consumers are in-market…around 100 days prior to a credit trigger or an MLS trigger and up to 180 days before a closed loan,” said Mike Eshelman, VP of Consumer Finance at Jornaya, a 2020 Tech100 Mortgage recipient. 

According to Eshelman, the use of behavioral data can tell lenders exactly which customers are actively visiting mortgage shopping sites. These behavioral shopping signals are the earliest signs available indicating a customer has started their mortgage shopping journey.

We reached out to Eshelman to learn more about how behavioral data is transforming the way lenders market to consumers and what the customer experience will look like in 2021.  

HousingWire: Leveraging behavioral data has transformed marketing and consumer experiences across industries. What are some examples of the most impactful uses of behavioral data in the housing industry?

Mike Eshelman: Reaching the exact right consumer sooner with personalized messaging. With behavioral data, lenders can see which of their consumers are in-market, and how active they are shopping, around 100 days prior to a credit trigger or an MLS trigger and up to 180 days before a closed loan.

The use of behavioral data can tell us exactly which customers in a lender’s database are actively visiting mortgage shopping sites. For those not familiar, behavioral data includes things like page views, email sign-ups, sites visited, device used (desktop or mobile), IP, location, time of day, and amount of activity. This type of data is typically created and stored in the form of an “event,” meaning an action that was taken with “properties,” or metadata, to describe the event.

These behavioral shopping signals are the earliest signals available indicating a customer has started their mortgage shopping journey, much earlier than credit triggers, listing their house for sale, or completing a lead form. We’ve seen 6.5 times more mortgage application rates from behavioral data-driven campaigns. Lenders can monitor aged leads and focus on recapture; and direct mail response rates can go 2-3x higher with behavioral data.

HW: Thinking about the technology behind these behavioral capabilities, what and when was the inflection point that enabled technology companies and brands to really start activating this intelligence?

ME: We are really in the midst of the inflection point right now. Many factors have come together to create the “perfect storm” environment for behavioral data to take a central place in the capabilities of every advanced marketer:

  1. The increasing need for CMOs and marketing departments to demonstrate that marketing expenses are driving revenue and growth.
  2. The availability of true behavioral data that protects consumer privacy
  3. The capabilities of marketing automation systems to customize messaging and marketing campaigns to individual consumers.
  4. The increasing imperative to protect consumer privacy due to growing consumer preferences and government regulation.
  5. Consumers increasingly tuning out messaging and brands that are not relevant to them based upon their needs and interests in the moment.  

HW: Looking to 2021, what are you most excited about?

ME: I’m most excited about the opportunities lenders have to provide a substantially improved customer experience by leveraging behavior insights, while also protecting consumer privacy. We see the increased focus on consumer privacy as an opportunity for Jornaya to help the entire sales and marketing process in the mortgage and housing market. Our products enable marketers to provide interactions when consumers want them most, all while protecting the consumers’ data at the same time. While it’s mandatory to be compliant with regulations, combining privacy, consumer preference, and the Golden Rule of Data—treating consumer data like you would want your own data treated—are the most critical parts of providing an exceptional customer experience.

The days of spamming customers or hammering them with phone calls that lead to bad experiences are coming to an end. The days of the marketer’s voice being at the center are also coming to an end. It’s now about creating value for the customer by providing them with timely and relevant services and information based upon their needs at that very moment. The use of behavioral data in the right way will enable marketers to create exceptional consumer experiences.

HousingWire’s Tech100 recognizes the most innovative and impactful companies in the real estate and mortgage industries. Tech100 nominations for 2021 run through December 18, 2020.

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