Tim Wheeldon is joint managing director of Fluent Money
As the secured loan sector struggles against a tide of negative news stories and wary public opinion we need to look critically at the face we are presenting and consider how we can inject new life into our market.
In the pre-recession days, TV presenter Carol Vorderman famously fronted FirstPlus’s advertising campaigns promoting its secured loan products. This campaign attracted consumers to the market and clearly differentiated secured loans from mortgages, focusing attention and bringing knowledge of the availability of secured loans into the national consciousness.
The rise of the payday lending industry has been supported almost entirely by focused and prolific advertising while over the last few years secured loan advertising has been sadly lacking. While the financial challenges faced by many companies naturally caused a drastic reduction in marketing spend the risk is that budgets were cut in the areas that most needed to be sustained. As the advertising space became dominated by big names such as Wonga, secured loan brokers weren’t able to compete on the same scale.
These days there is not as much awareness or knowledge of the secured loan market as there once was and consumers are being drawn towards the clear messaging and high visibility of the payday lenders. By backing away from consumer facing marketing the industry has become heavily reliant upon the comparison sites. While this is a viable way to achieve new business, putting all your new lead eggs in one basket is often a risky strategy.
Big advertising may be a brave move but it demonstrates a confidence that we need in order to draw consumers back to our products. Keeping a high profile in the public realm is really important and although most of us don’t have Carol Vorderman on our side we can still bring back the dynamism to the market.