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Marketer Intel: Jim Anderson at Stearns Lending on margin compression, M&A and what’s next

Mortgage marketers have to do more with less

We recruited 10 marketing leaders from some of the top lenders in the industry to serve on the advisory board for our engage.marketing summit June 13-14 in Charlotte, North Carolina. These leaders helped us develop an amazing agenda focused on giving mortgage marketers practical insight to solve the challenges they face every day and now we’re interviewing each one to find out more about their perspective on the industry and what they see coming in the future.

In this segment we welcome Jim Anderson, CMO of Stearns Lending. Jim joined Stearns last year after serving as CMO for Certainty Home Loans for two years, where he successfully launched a company rebrand and name change, and Introduced an enterprise CRM and marketing automation solution, process and campaigns across the organization. Those campaigns resulted in 507 units and $106.4 million in funded loan volume and 82% loan officer system adoption and utilization in the first 12 months. Earlier in his career Jim held senior positions at Accenture, CNN and The Weather Channel

HousingWire: What is the biggest challenge facing mortgage marketers right now?

jim AndersonJim Anderson: More competition over fewer loans have led to margin compression and tight balance sheets. So marketers and loan officers need to be very selective in their investments, focus on ROI (a good thing) and do more with less.

HW: CMOs are bombarded with new technology options. How do you decide which ones are worth pursuing?

JA: First we only review technology that supports our business goals and marketing plan. Narrowing the vendor options to demo can be challenging and time consuming. We score our needs and approach the vendors that deliver the solution that best fits those needs.

HW: The mortgage industry saw lots of M&A in 2018. What are some of the challenges and opportunities for marketing departments in the midst of those upheavals?

JA: There is a lot of misinformation in the marketplace, so a strong internal communication strategy is key to retain talent. But the market conditions also provide an advantage to well capitalized companies with sound business models to capitalize and bring on great talent.

HW:  Earlier in your career you worked with The Weather Channel and CNN. What were some things that you had to adjust to when you moved into the mortgage space?

JA: Learning a new language to start. Mortgage loves an acronym. Another difference is the fierce entrepreneurial spirt at the core of many originators. Many have build great reputations and local brands, so mortgage marketers need to weave together the originator’s personal brand with the corporate brand and find ways to leverage the advantages of both.

HW: What is one thing you can’t live without?

JA: My family. But focusing specifically on business I’d say my iPhone.

HW: What is one thing you love about the culture at Stearns?

JA: My amazing team and the “I can help you” culture where everyone rallies to solve a problem.

HW: Where do you think the mortgage industry will see the most marketing growth or impact in 2019?

JA: Among the independents I expect continued investments in technology to capture the consumer earlier in the borrower journey. The opportunity will be for companies that can pull those borrowers through the process. Or recapture a borrower that fell out but reentered the market.  Technology is only the start, organizations that coach and develop the sales team to be aware of the triggers and armed with action plans to capture those borrowers will win.


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