Marketing 101: It's the Message That Makes the Difference!

March 30, 2012

This month, you will find a variety of articles in this magazine covering a number of ways in which to market yourself and your company. While there are many great options out there, especially with the world of social media taking off, we wanted to focus on a different part of the marketing process: The message. No matter where you decide to spend your time, money and effort, if the message doesn’t work, your success will not be there.
Marketing is everywhere, in every business, and in every media type possible. As we sit here writing this article, we are one week away from the 2012 Super Bowl. We all know that the Super Bowl is as much about marketing and advertising as it is about football, if not more. Now unfortunately, by the time you read this, the Super Bowl and its commercials will have come and gone, but we want to give you a little homework before you start to move forward with your marketing plans for 2012. What we would like you to do is the following: Go to and search for “Super Bowl 2012 Commercials” and watch each of them. While watching them, you need to be making notes about each one. Here are the questions you should try and answer:
►What is the primary message? (Hint: Not what are they selling!)
►Was there a call to action? (Did it make me want to go do something?)
►Can I relate to what they said?
►Did they set themselves apart from their competition?
The goal of this exercise is to get your mind zeroed in on the most important part of marketing, your message. No matter how much effort and research you put into finding the best place to market yourself, without the proper message, it will be a complete waste of time and money. It always amazes us when we sit down with our clients, how much time they have spent deciding where, when and how much to advertise and market themselves, and how little time they have spent, if any, on the message.
Let’s take a look at two different very specific areas that mortgage professionals might look at when formulating a marketing plan. The first topic we will look at is the tough job of generating loans or referral sources. This can be the toughest marketing job in the mortgage world, because every single loan officer is working towards the same goal. Any time we are faced with a great deal of competition, the message we are delivering becomes so much more important. So, after you have decided where to market yourself (Google, direct mail, social networks, pay-per-click advertising, etc.), you must begin to formulate your message.
There are two main objectives when building your message. The first objective you need to achieve is, “what sets me apart from my competition?” Be sure not to fall into the simple trap of “I have the best rates” or “we provide the best service.” There are two problems you will encounter when using either of those messages. The first is that everyone says they provide great rates and great service, so how can you differentiate yourself when using those lines? The second issue is that, eventually, you will not be able to back those statements up, and then what?
When trying to generate business for yourself, you must have a solid reason for whoever has seen your marketing to feel that there really is something that differentiates you from the competition. And while we cannot go into details about how we help our clients achieve this goal, there are many different ways to do this … it just takes time and creativity. The second important thing about your marketing message is you must include a call to action. McDonald’s spends millions of dollars a year building name recognition, but you don’t have millions of dollars to spend! You must get through to your potential clients the first time. Readers or listeners to your message must be given a reason to reply or respond to your message. Don’t just assume they will see your name and decide to call. You must give them a reason to call, and more importantly, a reason to call NOW!
Now, let’s look at things from a company point of view. Many companies are looking to increase their production through either branch or loan officer acquisition. We all see these ads in so many different places. When we sit down with our clients and begin to build a plan to increase production through talent acquisition, we always remind our clients to list the reasons why someone would choose their company over the hundreds of other quality options in the marketplace.
Depending upon your company’s name recognition, the task of maximizing your marketing dollar can either be hard or really hard. When trying to attract attention from those within the mortgage industry, you not only have to adjust where to market, but the message you market with. It always amazes us how many companies use fast turn times or low rates as the reason someone might want to join their firm. While that message may have worked a few years ago, most originators and branch managers left in this business are just too smart and experienced to fall for such a message.
Companies must now provide solid concrete reasons as to why becoming a part of their team is advantageous. We always ask our clients the following question: How will your company help me grow my own personal production? If you struggle to answer that question about yourself, how can you effectively answer that question from someone who actually answered your call to action?
Any good loan officer or branch manager would want their company to provide them with help in growing their business. Finding the answer to that question above, and then getting that message across in a marketing message (including a job posting) can be tough but crucial to your success.
In an industry with so much competition, differentiating yourself from everyone else can be tough. But if you want your marketing to succeed, you must find a way to accomplish this, with or without help. In our past experience 50 percent to 70 percent of all advertising and marketing in the mortgage industry fails to achieve the success desired. We believe this is because the message included simply did not persuade those who were targeted to respond.
Remember, you must find a way to set yourself apart and you must have a call to action in all marketing messages. Learn all you can about the many options out there, including social networking. Don’t forget your homework, and don’t ever stop trying to grow and succeed. The business is out there, you just have to go and find it!
This article was co-authored by Jon Traver.
David Lykken is president of mortgage strategies and managing partner with Mortgage Banking Solutions. He has more than 35 years of industry experience and has garnered a national reputation, and has become a frequent guest on FOX Business News with Neil Cavuto, Stuart Varney, Liz Claman and Dave Asman with additional guest appearances on the CBS Evening News, Bloomberg TV and radio. He may be reached by phone at (512) 977-9900, ext. 10, or e-mail or Jon Traver is production consultant—branching, recruiting and LO training for Mortgage Banking Solutions. Jon has spent 12 years forging referral relationships with builders and realtors for his own mortgage company. He has extensive experience working with branch companies to grow their businesses through branch and LO acquisition, as well as building long-term business development plans. Jon trains executives, branch managers, and loan officers how to redefine who they are and what they do. He then helps them build a game plan for taking that new knowledge to the streets, including the execution. He may be reached by phone at (512) 977-9900, ext. 112, (972) 467-3990 or e-mail

Marketing, Originations, Residential