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Amerifirst Home Mortgage drives smart marketing investments with Crayon competitive intelligence

The Opportunity

As an independent company, Amerifirst had some unique opportunities to succeed in the insurance market. However, the team was still collecting competitive intel manually, which didn’t allow them to leverage their market position.

The Outcome

Amerifirst is now able to monitor a wide range of competitors, from small local lenders to large national brands. The team is able to jump on great marketing opportunities, make informed decisions on where to invest, and secure internal buy-in to grow marketing overall.

Amerifirst Home Mortgage, the Michigan-based mortgage lender, provides a wide range of loans to customers in 12 states. As a company in a traditional, regulated industry, Amerifirst competes with many other lenders, both large and small. They leverage Crayon’s competitive intelligence software platform to keep tabs on their competitors and drive smart marketing investments to stay ahead.

Challenges & opportunities in a regulated industry

The mortgage lending industry is vast yet slow-moving. “There hasn’t been a lot of innovation in the industry,” shared Jill Perney, Marketing Manager at Amerifirst. “But as an independent company, we have some unique opportunities - and challenges - to succeed in this market.” On the positive side, Amerifirst has a greater ability to stay nimble and try new things in marketing and across the business. On the flip side, they often compete with large, national lenders with much larger budgets.

The Amerifirst marketing team is lean but growing exponentially - doubling in size this year alone - and needed to focus their efforts on the most impactful areas. Prior to Crayon, Jill and the team would try to stay on top of the industry and their competitors’ marketing strategies, but it was a manual process that didn’t capture the full picture. Jill would read newspapers, check Twitter daily, and review content from key research firms, looking to inform marketing campaigns and investment.

Sparking marketing ideas & driving investment with deep competitive intelligence

When Jill and the team came across Crayon, it opened a door to expansive intelligence to improve many different marketing efforts. Jill explained that now, “Crayon gives a view into what other companies are doing and provides inspiration for different approaches to our operations and campaigns.” Jill leverages Crayon intel to drive efforts across marketing, recruiting, and even legal.



Marketing Manager at Amerifirst
Crayon found our competitors’ internal training videos, which uncovered incredible intel on how and why they were investing in different areas. This initiated a productive conversation about how and why we wanted to allocate our investments.
  • Amerifirst looks at where competitors invest across marketing to inform discussions on where they should focus.
  • Amerifirst looks at multimedia content shared by competitors on social media and sends ideas to content marketers, social media managers, and designers as relevant.
  • Amerifirst looks at blog content shared by large competitors especially, to highlight opportunities to branch out their content efforts strategically.
  • Amerifirst monitors news stories especially around legal issues to provide necessary caution to various internal teams so as not to fall into the same traps as their peers.
  • Amerifirst jumps on recruiting opportunities uncovered by Crayon, namely competitors’ office closings and disgruntled employee reviews. Jill sends this information to their HR team to jumpstart recruiting efforts in relevant regions.

On top of each of these tactical activities, Jill surfaces more strategic takeaways for their CMO and President to discuss key topics. All three actively engage with the intel regularly, discussing the significance of competitors’ activities and how it relates to their own efforts. The President loves the “behind the scenes” view that allows him to stay in the know about what competitors are doing. The marketing team loves the actions they’ve been able to drive from Crayon intel, as well as the impact Crayon has had on getting internal buy-in to scale up their marketing efforts.

Gaining & maintaining a competitive edge

Today, Jill and the Amerifirst team monitor a wide range of competitors, from small local lenders to large national brands. The Amerifirst team is able to jump on great marketing opportunities, make informed decisions on where to invest, and secure internal buy-in to grow marketing overall.



Marketing Manager at Amerifirst
Crayon is a must-have for understanding where we are as a business and where we can go. Without Crayon, we wouldn’t have the deep grasp of our industry and competitors down to the details of their marketing investments.

Crayon has become the platform for the Amerifirst team to get a complete view into their market and key competitors. Jill explained, “Crayon allows us to keep a finger on the pulse of our competitors. It is not humanly possible to keep tabs on your competitors without Crayon. Even if you had a team dedicated to capturing competitors’ activities manually, you would still miss key pieces of intel.” Armed with Crayon intel, Jill and the Amerifirst team are able to gain and maintain a competitive edge in an established industry.

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