7 Game-Changing Marketing Trends You Need To Know About

Over the last few years, technology has changed a lot. The pace of change in technology is very fast. It is getting even more difficult for marketing firms to keep up with this change in technology. So what kind of technological change should you expect soon? You need to be prepared for these upcoming changes. Here are some, coming very soon:1. Relationship MarketingRelationship marketing is also known as customer relationship management (CRM). It is focused on long-term engagement and relationships with the customers instead of short term relations. The aim of relationship marketing is to emotionally engage customers with the brands. This leads to free word of mouth marketing and loyalty. It is different from traditional marketing approach because it is not focused on individual profit generation.2. Marketing AutomationMarket automation refers to the latest technologies and software that are designed for marketing departments. These software and online channels are used to promote products at different platforms like emails, blogs, social media and websites.3. Location-Based Marketing TechnologyThe location-based technology uses mobile phone location for marketing the products. It is another direct marketing strategy. An opt-in is usually activated to process this type of marketing. What actually happens is that when opt-in is activated it starts tracking the location of device holder and sends a text about nearby product or service which is available. This includes any free coupon schemes or any discount deals. This technology actually bridges the physical gap between customers and the available products in their nearby places.4. Virtual RealityOne of the most prominent marketing strategies that should be utilized by every marketer is virtual reality. Virtual reality artificially creates sensory experiences. It can be aimed at sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch. It is used in the depiction of business products, games, movies, and arts.5. Ephemeral MarketingSnapchat is one of the best examples of ephemeral marketing. It is one of the latest leaps in technological development. Marketing firms and businesses can use it for their own benefit. Ephemeral marketing means providing something to the customers for a very short period of time. This has many advantages. For instance, when discounts and special offers are announced like this for a limited time period it will enhance the excitement of customers. Similarly giving a sneak peek of the new product, which is not yet launched in the market, could also increase the excitement of people. In this way, people will be more attracted towards the product.6. Search Past Search EnginesMany social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are trying to create their own search engines. It will also boost the marketing opportunities for the marketers so they need to be prepared for this change.7. The Internet of ThingsInternet of things is actually a network of physical objects. For instance vehicles, devices, buildings etc. which are electronically connected with each other. For marketers, it means that their data is more easily accessible to the customers so they can market their products more efficiently.

Title Industry Report Recommends Coordinated Regulatory Effort For State And Federal Regulators

The current regulatory environment enveloping the title insurance industry is clouded by constrained enforcement resources, minimal oversight of title agents and a lack of coordination among state and federal regulators, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) long-awaited report on the title insurance industry.On April 17, the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, released the results of its much ballyhooed probe of the title industry, launched a year ago at the request of then-House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley.The report, titled “Title Insurance: Actions Needed to Improve Oversight of the Title Industry and Better Protect Consumers,” identified significant barriers to the successful regulation of the title industry, but for every weak link in the regulatory chain, the GAO offered a remedy, calling for the active participation of federal, state and local regulators.”Given consumers’ weak position in the title insurance market, regulatory efforts to ensure reasonable prices and deter illegal marketing activities are critical,” the report stated. “Given the variety of professionals involved in a real estate transaction, a lack of coordination among different regulators within states, and between HUD and the states, could potentially hinder enforcement efforts against compensation for consumer referrals. Because of the involvement of both federal and state regulators, including multiple regulators at the state level, effective regulatory improvements will be a challenge and will require a coordinated effort among all involved.”This effort is one strongly supported by all industry players, but exactly how and when the GAO’s recommendations will be implemented is a source of some debate.Frustration exists at federal and state levelsLimited state and federal oversight of the title industry has resulted in proposals for change, the GAO found, but those changes are focused on the state level, mainly in the affiliated business arena.”Some state regulators expressed frustration with HUD’s level of responsiveness to their requests for help with enforcement, and some industry officials said that RESPA rules regarding ABAs and referral fees need to be clarified,” the GAO said.However, the more limited regulation and oversight of title agents and AfBAs in less active states could provide greater opportunity for potentially illegal marketing and sales practices, the GAO said. While the GAO listed states such as Colorado, California and Minnesota as leaders in enforcement and oversight, the report concluded that states’ enforcement of anti-kickback and referral fee provisions were uneven.That would place the onus on HUD, but HUD officials expressed concern over a lack of enforcement authority for RESPA Section 8 violations, the GAO said.”According to HUD officials, it is difficult to deter future violations without stronger enforcement authority, such as civil money penalties, because … companies view small settlements as simply a cost of doing business,” the GAO said.Viewing these concerns as critical to the health of the industry, the GAO made a number of recommendations to improve oversight at each government level as well as to better coordinate the various efforts of those regulators.Agents: Where’s the beef?State regulators could most benefit by examining title agent costs, the GAO found. Officials in several state insurance departments last year questioned whether agents are worth their premium splits, and the GAO quickly picked up on this debate, finding that regulators do not fully assess title agents’ costs during rate reviews.”Few regulators review the costs that title agents incur to determine whether they are in line with the prices charged,” the report stated. “In fact, in the majority of states, agents’ costs for search and examination services are not considered part of the premium and thus, receive no review by regulators. Therefore, title agents charge separately for their search and examination services, yet they receive about the same percentage of the premium as agents in states where these costs are included in the premium.”Title insurers told the GAO that they generally share the same percentage of the premium with their agents, around 80 to 90 percent, regardless of whether those agents were in states where consumers pay for agents’ search and examination services within the premium rate — known as all-inclusive states — or whether they were in states where agents can charge consumers separately for those services — known as risk-rate states.However, reliable data to determine whether consumers in risk-rate states consistently paid more than those in all-inclusive states does not exist, the GAO said, and thus recommended a “multi-step process that could involve detailed analysis of some title agents.” While the GAO placed the onus of this auditing function on state insurance regulators, some industry experts pointed out that reporting requirements currently vary by state, making it difficult for some companies to provide the type of uniform data needed to form constructive conclusions.In California, for example, some companies are concerned that the Department of Insurance’s proposed statistical reporting requirements will force them out of business, as they cannot now provide data from past years that was not required of them at the time.”Some of the information the GAO wants to collect drills into personnel and hiring practices and micromanages the entire process,” said Joe Petrelli, founder of Demotech, a ratings firm based in Columbus, Ohio. “It’s a level of detail I don’t think people have. It’s a tremendous layer of fixed overhead that no one anticipated, and it’s not like you can snap your fingers and get that type of detail.”Matters for Congressional considerationAs far as Congress’ role in the melee, the GAO recommended that Congress reevaluate certain aspects of RESPA.”Revisiting RESPA to ensure that consumers receive this information as soon as possible when they are considering any type of mortgage transaction … could be beneficial,” the GAO said.The GAO’s recommendations to Congress were twofold. Congress could provide HUD with increased enforcement authority for Section 8 violations, such as the ability to levy civil money penalties. Congress could also make a detailed homebuyer information booklet available to consumers.These recommendations are in line with what HUD’s RESPA office has likely been discussing since Fall 2005, when the department retreated into its chambers to mull over RESPA reform. Thus, by all accounts, the GAO’s Congressional recommendations stand a fair chance of becoming reality.”HUD has long sought such authority, and the GAO report may be HUD’s best chance to get it,” said Rich Andreano, partner with the Washington, D.C., law firm Weiner Brodsky Sidman Kider PC.Doubting ThomasesBut the apparent consensus between HUD and the GAO does not mean these recommendations will see the light of day, at least in the foreseeable future, said some skeptical industry leaders.Some industry players are hedging their bets that the recommendations will be swept under the carpet as Congress contemplates changes to predatory lending and FHA reform.Noted RESPA attorney Phil Schulman of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis said, “The timing of the report works in the industry’s favor, given that the focus on Capital Hill and elsewhere is on subprime lending and the avalanche of foreclosures, not title insurance reform.”National mortgage training expert Christopher Cruise observed that “the title insurance industry has dodged a bullet here. Asking the states to step up their enforcement activities seems reasonable, but, except in a few states with strong insurance commissioners, that simply won’t happen. I believe, in the long run that this report will have minimal effect and that title insurance rates will change little, if at all.”Ken Trepeta, regulatory policy representative for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), likewise said, “The RESPA civil penalties issue is intriguing, but I wonder if anyone in Congress really has the stomach to revisit RESPA. I know Sen. [Mel] Martinez is interested in RESPA, but he has spoken more along the lines of disclosure.”The writing on the wallAlthough some are skeptical that the report will matter much in this era of increased scrutiny on predatory lending and mortgage issues, others believe it is a fallacy to say that the problems of the title and settlement services industries are that far removed from the problems in the mortgage industry.Indeed, Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, has commented, “The GAO’s findings are significant, and I look forward to reviewing those findings thoroughly.”Some respected sources have indicated to The Legal Description that Congress has been waiting for the results of the GAO report in order to determine if there were issues that needed to be addressed before putting RESPA and title industry reform on the front-burner.Other industry leaders willing to speak on the record agreed that this scenario is not as farfetched as some skeptics believe.”Congress obviously is still reviewing this and will be, I presume, taking that under consideration along with any other appropriate legislation,” said Sue Johnson, executive director of the Real Estate Services Providers Council Inc. (RESPRO). “I would be surprised if Congress did not touch base with HUD to check on the status of their RESPA rule and consult with them. A lot of this has to simply play out.”Andreano was perhaps most confident in the prediction that Congress will put all of the pieces of the puzzle together to bolster its ongoing homeownership initiatives.”I think it’s safe to say that the GAO will not be on the title industry’s Christmas list this year,” Andreano said. “While the report focuses on, and is critical of, the title industry, all settlement service providers need to focus on Congressional reaction. Clearly, title industry revenues are now under a microscope and the industry needs to be prepared to address scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers.

An Inside Look at the Importance of a Smile in Sales

If you’re in sales, then you’ve probably heard all sorts of advice, from “don’t oversell” to “focus on solving problems.” However, one of the best pieces of advice that many forget is to smile! After all, your smile is one of the first features people notice about you, and it plays an essential role in the first impression you make. Keep reading to learn all about the importance of a smile in sales (as well as how cosmetic dentistry can help!).

Smile: Your Sale Depends on It!

Knowing your product and knowing your audience are key in sales. However, you don’t get far if your client doesn’t trust you or believe you. That’s why it’s so important to make a good first impression! Here are a few ways a smile can help:

• Smiling is more powerful than you might think – One study found that smiling has the same effect on our brain as $25,000 in cash!

• Smiling communicates your state of mind – Smiling is a non-verbal cue that you are happy to be where you are, that you are confident in your product, and that you are ready and willing to help.

• Smiling creates a ripple effect of positivity – Have you ever seen a friend yawn and done the same? Or seen someone take a sip of water and immediately realized you’re thirsty? Thanks to the mirroring neurons in our brains, we naturally mimic the behavior of those around us.

But What If You Don’t Like Your Smile?

If you don’t like your smile, don’t worry – that’s where cosmetic dentistry comes in. Whether you’re struggling with misaligned, misshapen, cracked, or otherwise imperfect teeth, your smile goals aren’t out of reach. The first step? Scheduling an appointment with a skilled cosmetic dentist. For both my father and myself, providing high-quality, personalized, and judgment-free dentistry is a passion. There’s truly nothing better than seeing someone walk out of our office with a dazzling, confident smile! So, don’t wait to make your dream smile a reality – it could make all of the difference when it comes to your personal and professional life!