During the pandemic, traditional co-marketing opportunities went by the wayside. Many mortgage and title offices closed, in-person events were canceled, and face-to-face meetings to discuss partnerships became obsolete. 

Real estate businesses embraced the growing technology at their disposal and used digital marketing approaches to get in front of their prospective clients. October Research’s Special Report: Co-Marketing in the Age of Fintech (sponsored by Qualia) outlined digital marketing trends on the rise. 

Technology enabling new co-marketing opportunities 

In-office and listing traffic, once prime opportunities for exposure and co-marketing, became nearly obsolete during the pandemic. For example, in the past, a real estate broker might display a lender’s marketing materials in their office or at a listing. During the pandemic, consumers often didn’t visit the broker’s office or even physically tour a home. In fact, many of these traditional face-to-face meetings were conducted online. Virtual home tours replaced in-person walkthroughs and in-person meetings took place over video conferencing. 

Businesses found creative solutions to replace in-person exposure with digital tactics. For example, some title businesses co-sponsored virtual home tours by embedding banner advertisements for their businesses within the virtual tour. 

In addition to reaching homebuyers, many businesses also explored digital options for reaching potential partners. For example, traditionally, settlement service providers sponsor real estate brokerage sales meetings in order to get in front of agents and pitch their service. When these meetings shifted to video conferences, settlement providers also shifted by providing video pitches or digital advertisements that could be displayed at the beginning or end of the meeting. 

Beyond the pandemic: digital marketing and affiliated business arrangements on the rise

While many of the traditional co-marketing opportunities may return after the pandemic, other forms of digital marketing are likely to stick around. 

Social media

While social media has not been a primary marketing tool, many businesses are more attuned to social media than they were in the past. Those responsible for business development are using social media to promote their business and find new contacts to connect with online. 

Interactive websites

Settlement agencies, in particular, have historically not invested much in their company websites. This is now shifting as more processes come online. Settlement agencies are investing more in their online presence by creating more interactive and intuitive websites that help depict their digital-forward operations. 

Affiliated business arrangements 

The report noted that one pandemic trend is the rise of affiliated business arrangements (ABA). One contributor to the report noted: “The affiliated business… has just exploded. I’ve never been busier in my life than the numbers that have been coming across my phone.” 

RESPA compliance considerations

While technology is increasing the opportunity to connect with partners and consumers, October Research’s special report cautioned that businesses must consider compliance risks. “This has not changed the fundamentals of complying with RESPA prohibitions and the elements of permitted exceptions to those restrictions,” a contributor to the report said. 

To read more about these considerations, click below to download the full report.

Download the Special Report