This mortgage broking campaign failed twice before succeeding - Showtime Digital

This mortgage broking campaign failed twice before succeeding

13 May 2019 Read 1082 times

In this article we’re going to get naked and vulnerable. We’re going to show you a digital lead generation campaign in the mortgage broking industry and how it was repositioned twice before it succeeded.

This happened back in 2015 and we worked late into the nights to turn the campaign around. Today we avoid these issues and if you’re a marketing manager in the industry and launching your own campaign you’ll be able to avoid the same potholes.

This campaign was one of the most important lessens we learnt and today we’re much wiser for it. It’s the sole reason that today, we never take a campaign online without going through the strategy phase first.

Below are links to eBooks identifying the process we now take to define –

the buyers we’re wanting to engage

how you should go to market

brand positioning

In Showtime’s history we have never had as much repositioning of a campaign in such a short period of time as this one. Generally, a phase would simply be analysing the data and making improvements to the existing landing pages or microsites. Through this exercise and out of respect for the client we’ll protect their identity.

So, let’s get ugly.

The campaign background

It was early 2015 (over four years ago) and I’ve since had a healthy round of therapy sessions to get over this comedy of errors.

It wasn’t one individual activity which went wrong. Have you ever seen airplane disaster TV shows where after the crash they analyse the forensics to find the reason for the crash is never one individual mistake or problem, it’s a series of little issues which made it go south quickly?

That’s what happened with us in the digital marketing campaign in the mortgage broking industry many years ago.

The campaign overview

The following timeline (Graph1) indicates how the structure of the campaign looked over a 4-5-month period.


As represented by the gold nuggets there was little if any conversions in the initial 60 days. When we repositioned the campaign in Phase2 we still didn’t see much improvement. But this gave us the confidence to move to Phase3 of the campaign where we found success.

Mortgage broking campaign – Phase1

This is how the landing page of the initial campaign looked (Image1).


This was based on an initial pitch and the client agreed to move forward on this concept.

Why did Phase1 fail?

When we conducted a brand positioning workshop to define the unique selling proposition (USP) of the company, this proved to be a difficult exercise and there was no concluding outcome.

Somewhere in the conversation (this was 4 years ago and some of the details skip my memory) it was decided to avoid competing directly with competitors on rates by focusing on the engagement consumers woul dhave with local representatives.

In the initial conversations the focus should be the needs of the client, it wasn’t. So, without understanding the consumer or the client USP we went straight to the build phase.

Mortgage broking campaign – Phase2

After the failure of Phase1 a full strategy session was actioned. Based on this exercise, four in-depth buyer personas were built to understand the needs, pains and gains of each buyer type.

We then repositioned the campaign to include landing pages environments, two of which are represented in Image2 and Image3.



Why did Phase2 succeed?

What Phase2 did successfully was align itself with the emotional desires of the four buyer types.

These pages were more in line with the emotional needs of improving their situation and on the comfort and achievement experienced by each buyer profile.

None of these pages included rates and that’s why the campaign experienced only a modest uplift in conversion outcomes.

Why did Phase2 fail?

The logical context was still missing from the page. Further down the page the consumer could tick boxes like social proof and testimonials but without the logic in the equation being addressed consumers were still asking what it means to them.

Mortgage broking campaign – Phase3


Why did Phase3 succeed?

Phase3 was the most successful within the campaign. Here we see the emotional and logical elements coming together (Image4).

On the right side of the page the logical part of the equation is represented. Above and beneath the variable and comparison rates are the two ways to make contact.

We identified that when people move home, they do so with consideration to their friends and family.

Young people may choose inner city living because their friends are local to them. Couples in their mid-30’s want the kids to be near the grandparents. Similarly, empty nesters consider their proximity to their adult children and grandchildren.

Regardless of their situation they all see lifestyle as important.

People want to live near friends and family who support them. When they go through the process of looking for and buying a home and refinancing that asset, they see themselves enjoying this time with those people close to them.

The key ingredient

We used imagery of family and friends sitting around a table having a BBQ. Here we’re future pacing the consumer and placing them on the other side of the transaction.

In a very real sense by being the bridge to their desired outcome and supporting them in their journey, we are their friends, if only on a subconscious level.

Why didn’t the campaign focus on great rates?

Let’s look deeper into this. The following landing pages and websites pages (Image5) are some of the competitor pages which consumers could have clicked on during the 2015 period.


Most of what you see from competitors of the day is very logical with little or no emotional connection for the consumer.

Our research found most people didn’t know the interest rate they are currently on. We concluded if this was the case then focusing solely on rates would be a swing and a miss. Simply because consumers were not comparing their own interest rate with what they saw on the page. They were comparing the rate on the client’s page with the direct competition and all the consumer needed to do to discover this, was open a competitor’s page to find a better option.

By resting on rates we’re enabling the downfall of our own campaign.

When you’re a mid-tier brand and you don’t have the implied trust of a household slogan like, ‘We’ll save you’, you need to focus on something else of value. This campaign did just that.

In hindsight the logical component should have been included earlier. Phase3 was not activated until 75 days into the campaign. However, the strength of Phase3 came from the constant development of the emotional aspect without the ability to fall back on the logic.

What lessons can you take away?

If you want to avoid the mistakes of this campaign remember these key points -

  1. The agency’s ego should never supersede the client’s needs.
  2. The client’s ego should never supersede the consumer’s needs.
  3. Build your lead generation campaign from a consumer first perspective.
  4. If you can’t define the USP, focus on the needs of the consumer.
  5. Strategy first. Know who you’re talking to and why they care about it.

Did you notice everything comes back to the consumer?

If you’re interested in further analysis of how the mortgage broking industry promoted themselves online, this article goes into detail regarding Mortgage Choice, Rams and Aussie.

And if you’d like to engage us for discussion on your mortgage broking or finance campaign you can call or contact us here.

Steve Palmer

Steve Palmer is the Joint Founder and CEO of Showtime Digital. Steve has been in B2B sales since 1997 but influencing people and behavioural science has been a long-term passion.

The magic he brings to his clients is in knowing how to engage their audience. His goal is to help businesses understand the deeper reasons of why consumers convert online with them.