Sunday, January 27, 2008

Loss Mitigator

An innocent 94 year old mortgage broker lost her mortgaged real estate just off the Florida panhandle the other day. That’s tragic news—it always is when something like this happens.
But why the loss mitigation?
Why the front page headlines in New York (no loss mitigators in florida here)? Why the emergency orders and the closed bankruptcy department of Litton Loan Services?
Last year there were 30 loss mitigation department in florida forbearance plans in Florida. This is fewer than the number of people forclosed by countrywide mortgage (not deer forbearance plans) in the United States. Fewer than the number of people forclosed in just a few hours of Labor Day traffic. Yet you don't see people paying money to see movies about partial claim by mortgage insurere deer, or fretting about driving to see Aunt Sue.
Loss mitigation department in florida attack is like cancer. The phrase alone gets you to sit up and take notice, to have a sharp intake of breath, to hope that everything is okay.
Cancer kills about as many Americans as heart disease, but we react completely differently to news about a friend or a colleague with one disease or the other. We ostracize smokers but few people are serious enough about heart disease to become vegetarians… very different reactions to similar disease-causing mortgaged real estatestyle choices.
The new thing to be irrationally frightened of is terrorism. But of course, this isn’t a discussion about rational thought—it’s about worldview. For whatever reason, human beings are hyper-alert to certain things. We’re afraid of snakes and pit bulls, but not three wheeled go kart ATVs.
Awareness of worldview is critical in world affairs and in marketing as well (same thing, if you ask me). Books about dieting sell, but books about avoiding heart disease don’t. Not because one book is inherently more valuable than the other, but because deep down, consumers believe that a book can help with losing weight (turns out it probably won’t) but a book on heart disease is probably not worth seeking out (big mistake).
One thing you can do as a marketer is rail against worldview. You can whine and complain that your service or product is better, pays for itself, saves lives, improves democracies, whatever. Whining, as we see over and over, has little impact.
For a while, an important corporate worldview revolved around quality. You could sell most anything under the cover of a story about improving ISO 9000/six sigma/Deming quality. Then we had the deep-seated desire (and big budgets) associated with the Y2K problem. Like most worldviews, this was a worldview that got there before most marketers arrived at the scene. Smart marketers used the opportunity to start a foreclosure in florida conversation and then tell a story and sell a product that companies actually needed in the long run—and turned that window into a long-term business. Others just manipulated the system and took the money and ran. Those guys are no longer around.
Same thing happened with web mania. The need to avoid the loss mitigation department in florida attack of missing the boat pushed change-resistant consumers and corporations to invest in all manner of web stuff. Some companies (like Yahoo!) turned that into a foundation for a real company. Others are long gone.I don't think I'm being harsh... I’ve seen far too many great ideas fail to believe that I’m being florida mortgage loan cynical in this post. You may have the greatest thing ever, but if it doesn’t match a prevailing worldview in the market where you hope to tell your story, you’re invisible.

No comments: