Monday, March 17, 2008

Sparkroom: Mortgage Lead Performance Optimization

I think all mortgage outfits spending money on interent leads intend to be analytics driven organizations. But the distractions of an independent sales culture, of multiple origination channels, of substandard lead managment technology, are obstacles for many despite best intentions.

Enter Sparkroom, a new Lead Peformance Optimization company. (Full disclosure: I've known Ed Powell, one of the co-founders since his days at LendingTree).

They've been hanging around lead generation conferences, and quietly poking around. Now they are ready to join the conversation.

I'm looking forward to hearing more from them! Shared analytics and transparent conversations about what works and what doesn't are a boon for this industry.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Unlimited Free Mortgage Leads from Zillow

Jumping onto the speculation bandwagon, I'll bet that Zillow's new mortgage offering will not include:

-Access to customer name and contact information
-A process that will significantly reduce or prevent "bait-and-switch" scenarios

What I hope, is that Zillow -- in the spirit of Doc Searls' push towards user controlled relationships with vendors -- will enable consumers to share their virtual "mortgage folder". (A concept which Bill Rice has promoted).

Local, Zillow approved lenders will then be able to view the mortgage folders a scenario description submitted by a user and begin a conversation, and potentially earn a relationship and a transaction. Hopefully, this will provide Zillow users a better mortgage shopping experience than, say, walking into one's bank branch, or completing a LendingTree.com application.

Whether or not this is the path Zillow ultimately takes, the idea of a user controlled vendor management in financial services is an emerging trend worth following.

- Wesabe, although it does not allow users to actually propose transactions to vendors, enables at least users to control their financial data and analyize it.

- Mint takes user contributed financial data and proposes appropriate financial products and services that should meet or exceed the existing terms the consumer is getting.

All take a fair to moderate bit of effort by the user. With a user profile/product match process as complex as it is with mortgage financing, perhaps the complexity is still too great to translate meaningfully into a social network in a way that will ultimately improve the quality of customer/mortgage vendor transactions.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

LeadsCon

I will be speaking on a panel entitled Lessons from the Mortgage Market, at LeadsCon. LeadsCon is a 3 day conference to be held at the Palms, Las Vegas April 2-4, and is focused on the online lead generation and customer acquisition business. Hope to see you there.