The new iPhone app has been undertaken as a partnership with Westpac bank. There is, in my mind, real value in being completely open and up front about this as it is vastly different to the traditional sponsorship model, where a large branded company pays money to “get their brand” on some other product or other. Often resulting in a sense of “selling out”!
The partnership with Westpac could have been with any bank. We chose to work with Westpac due to their pro-active, open approach from their marketing department. It also speaks to the logical synergy (ahh – marketing speak!) – banks, mortgages and property buying are all one inextricably linked event or activity and cannot for the vast majority of home buyers be unbundled.
Westpac have been a partner on realestate.co.nz for over a year now with a smart mortgage calculator on the property-for-sale side of the website and also another calculator on the rental side of the site, offering renters an insight into what their weekly rental payments could afford them if they put that towards a mortgage payment. This rich integration which pre-populates the selling price / rental price of property into calculators, is judged (based on feedback) as valuable and an added-value service. What is great news is that Westpac are delighted with the lead generation from these tools and the partnership.
With the iPhone app we wanted to go further than just a calculator. The app has the ability to let the user call the real estate agent or email the agent from the phone when reviewing property from right across the street. So why not allow people to contact someone to discuss the mortgage? Westpac have mobile mortgage managers out and about in most areas of the country and these can be contacted through the virtual bank branch on the app. Just locate the closest branch on the map and dial up the mobile mortgage manager based there.
As well as accessing finance help and advice through the app, Westpac naturally have a vast number of ATM’s around the country and adding these to the map view of property search makes total sense – we all need to top up cash reserves, and knowing that there is one round the corner from the cafe seems to make sense and add to the interactive ability of the app.
Finally Westpac has the ability to communicate really effectively with our target audience in a way that benefits both of us. They have very highly trafficked website and featuring the app on that site reinforces the values of innovation with their customers. Their email campaign also accesses a large database of property prospects and then lastly their latest TV commercial being aired over the summer enables them to reinforce the value of this partnership and showcase the app.