LendingTree's Darren Beck on the Appeal of Web-Based Tools for Leads
Not that LendingTree employees were walking around with pocket protectors, yakking about the Charlotte, N.C.-based online loan offer aggregator's revolutionary mortgage calculators. But it was time to rebrand and add some Web tools that would appeal to more than sure-bet, established Jane and Joe Homeowner.
So the company that's spent a decade advising consumers on mortgages went in search of a useful, easy-to-use personal financial planning and advice tool for its site. In January, LendingTree acquired certain assets of New York-based online financial advisory service Thrive (justthrive.com). Much like the lowercase-lettered, hipper feel of the financial advisory service geared toward 20- and 30-somethings, LendingTree began using more colorful images and less text on its site when it rebranded in July. Now, Thrive's financial planning tool is incorporated on the LendingTree site as its "MoneyRight" feature.
The company reports that since the relaunch and integration of MoneyRight into LendingTree.com, site engagement has increased 13 percent and customer account logins have increased 17 percent.
Darren Beck, LendingTree's chief marketing officer, explains how direct marketing will play into the mix.
Target Marketing: What did younger borrowers prefer about Thrive vs. LendingTree?
Darren Beck: ... Thrive definitely had a younger demographic than LendingTree, but Thrive also had a much smaller group of customers than LendingTree, obviously. And I don't think that Thrive is necessarily only for young people. I think that's more the result of … the type of outreach and marketing they were doing.
TM: Had LendingTree already cornered the market on young customers, or did Thrive help in appealing to them?
DB: I think, over time, it hopefully will give us more to offer to a broader group of consumers. I would agree that LendingTree was probably traditionally skewing older, simply because that was the demographic that was more typically owning homes and a little better established in their finances. But the whole world has changed in the last few years. The economy is a very different place now. And what we found is that it was becoming more and more difficult to find lenders that would be willing to lend money to a broader group of customers.