David Schroeder serves as the Senior Vice President of Quicken Loans Mortgage Services (QLMS). During his time with Quicken Loans, he has led efforts to provide Mortgage Broker partners with new client leads, sales automation, online training and portal technology. Just before joining Quicken, Schroeder worked in sports marketing, developing high-end experiences for the Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby and The Masters Tournament.
National Mortgage Professional Magazine had a chance to chat with David to discuss some of his firm’s marketing strategies and to zero in on exactly what has made Quicken a household name across America.
What are some tried and true marketing techniques that have been found to be effective at Quicken Loans Mortgage Services (QLMS)?
I’m a big disciple of the “Test and Learn” approach to marketing–firing small bullets and refining the hypothesis or tactics, then launching the cannonballs as a sustained strategy.
That said, I think live events, which create meaningful conversations and build relationships, are the most impactful. Whether at trade shows or our Pinnacle Partner events, we’ve learned that “talking at” our partners is much less valuable than setting up a dialogue where ideation, different perspectives and honest feedback can flourish. That’s harder than just setting up a big booth or rolling out the red carpet … it requires strategic planning around goals and a vulnerability to listen and change and the payoff is huge.
Another marketing strategy we’ve had incredible results from is providing valuable resources to our partners. Quicken Loans is the undisputed leader in marketing within the mortgage space, and we’re constantly working to translate that experience into value for our partners. That includes e-mails, flyers, direct mail campaigns, social media graphics and more–provided to partners for them to customize and use for free.
We don’t operate from a fear-based perspective of a zero-sum game, but rather, a mindset of abundance where we are stronger together with partners who find new clients and new ways to engage with every eligible homebuyer in America.
Finally, I firmly believe the most powerful marketing tool is our amazing team members. Through deep training, a shared mission, integrity of communication and positive leadership, our team members define our brand and earn relationships every day.
How has the power of social media impacted the company?
David Schroeder: At QLMS, we start by thinking deeply about the topics and trends that our Partners and prospects care about. Then, we use targeted- and sponsored-marketing to deliver the most relevant message to that audience. Finally, we work to intentionally engage with comments on our posts in an effort to create a dialogue.
I hate the idea of LinkedIn being a bulletin board of one-direction messages. It’s so much more powerful when there’s an honest exchange of ideas that’s meant to elevate conversations, and ultimately, the industry at large.
The other powerful element of social media today is video. It’s something I’ve been personally investing more time to better understand what people want, and how I can deliver that more effectively. I will say this–there are no shortcuts. It takes a ton of practice. When we launched our CMZ show for Capital Markets news, we filmed more than 70 shows before we really hit our stride to perfect the message, the anchors and the production pacing.
What can mortgage brokers share to help craft their company and personal brand?
I would say that I learn things about marketing every day from our broker Partners. What I’ve shared here are things I’ve learned by talking and listening to these incredible entrepreneurs over the years.
It always starts with authenticity. I can tell you all day that my brand is about speed and trust, but if I fail to provide proactive communication to set expectations or miss the close … well, my brand is just that. Companies and loan officers really need to build brands around who they are, what matters to them, what they are committed to–then stay true to them.
With clarity in what that brand is, brokers need to over-invest in aesthetics. A mentor of mine once told me: “You need to look bigger than you are.” The point was that customers and prospects judge you based on first impressions. It’s a timeless truth and I believe it’s amplified in the digital world, where trust is so important. If someone goes to your Web site and it looks like a garage operation, how likely do you think they are to go check other options? The details matter, so convey professionalism and strength in everything you put out to the world at all times.
Finally, I regularly remind our Partners how much online referrals and references matter. A recent study showed more than 85 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. That’s amazing! Loan officers need to be intentionally cultivating recommendations and getting them on multiple platforms, like Google, Yelp, Zillow and more. You never know where your next customer is looking. As an added benefit, these reviews also help drive search relevance when people are looking for a mortgage broker.
What marketing methods have you found to yield the highest conversion rate?
David Schroeder: If you want customers to respond, put yourself in their shoes to think about what matters to them–what are their challenges, questions and aspirations?
Too often, marketers start with features and benefits without truly empathizing with their audience and narrating to their point of view. With that in mind, we work in an industry with A LOT of acronyms and technical terms. The average consumer doesn’t know what “LTV” is, and yet I consistently see marketing with terms like that in the copy. We’ve got to always challenge ourselves to keep things simple and educate along the way to build confidence.
Having a clear call to action is another critical element to high conversion rates in any marketing. The message should directly lead the audience to what they should do next–download a case study, price a loan, call the phone number, subscribe to a newsletter, whatever. It’s a fine balance between being too assumptive with trust-building and deliberately leading someone along the path to a relationship. I think of it as bread crumbs–providing incrementally more value and asking for (earning) more trust with each interaction where the client makes a decision to proceed.
This sponsored editorial originally appeared in the May 2019 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.