Last week, I traveled to New York City with our Chief Economist Dr. Ted Jones for a special presentation at the New York Stock Exchange. Among the audience were several clients, local Stewart associates and market leaders. This was my first trip to the NYSE and my first time on the floor. It was the experience of a lifetime, and I’m thankful for the opportunity.
I’m also honored to have presented alongside Ted. He not only leads the industry in real estate and economic forecasts, but he is renowned for being one of the most charismatic speakers in the business. He has also been a great mentor and colleague during my time at Stewart.
Before Ted’s economic update, I gave my portion of the presentation, which focused on transforming traditional marketing departments into dynamic customer experience teams – and what that means for business growth.
This topic is one of my passion points, and something I encourage my team to consider every day. How do we align marketing to sales, generate new leads to support the business and demonstrate ROI for marketing? Because this topic is so important, I knew it would be impactful for the occasion and the audience. Here are three key takeaways from my presentation that you can easily apply in your business strategy.
Align marketing and sales teams. At Stewart, our new marketing structure was created first and foremost to support the sales organization. Our three teams – customer experience, marketing services and external communications – all work toward that one central goal. This alignment between marketing and sales is especially important for the title insurance industry, which serves as the nucleus of the real estate transaction; working closely with the buyer and seller, real estate agents and the lender.
Lead with customer experience. With touch points reaching all involved parties, the customer experience has to be seamless. Marketing has to provide sales with materials that resonate best with the customer, and sales needs to be diligent in how they collaborate with marketing. Both teams have to work in unity, and decisions must be supported with data and analytics. This gives us better insight into the customer, which enables us to deploy new marcom tactics that help propel lead generation and achieve sales goals.
During my presentation, I showed a series of clips on customer experience. One of those clips was from Steve Jobs. He said you must start with the customer experience first and work back to the technology. In Apple’s case, that’s iPhones and computers, but in Stewart’s case, that’s title and escrow services. First, we must educate our customers on the benefits of title insurance and what that means for protecting and enabling home ownership – benefits that are relatable and understandable. Then, we can successfully provide a differentiated service and closing experience, one that our competitors cannot match.
Demonstrate ROI. An important indicator of how you’re ranking in customer experience is realized in what your customers are saying, both in the news and on social media. As we continue to make strides in aligning marketing and sales, we are seeing a steady increase in our online presence. Compared to a year ago, Stewart consistently owns share of voice in the media – and is being mentioned more prominently in news articles compared to our competition. The Stewart blog has also made great strides in engagement and readership.
At Stewart, customer experience led our marketing strategy in 2017, and it will continue to do so going into 2018 – and beyond. Our focus on customer experience will help us lead the title insurance industry into the future, and propel Stewart to an even stronger position. Be on the lookout for more blog posts from me in the future expanding on this topic.