It has been a full week since we stepped off the stage at our engage.marketing conference in Charlotte, but the fun hasn’t stopped! Attendees have been telling us through social channels and email about the insights they got, the connections they made and the takeaways they're using to impact their business going forward. In short — it was an amazing event people are still benefitting from!

Just being in one room with more than 300 marketers was inspiring — the number of selfies, flash briefings, podcasts and videos being created at any given time was unlike anything I had ever seen. Even more impressive was the generous spirit that had marketers sharing their best strategies with each other in this very competitive market.  

Whether you were able to be there in person or are planning on coming next year, I wanted to recap the highlights, with help from the audience on what made them take note. Below are a few key points from every session:

Keynote Address from Brittany Hodak

Brittany translated her deep experience marketing entertainment brands into the WAVE method of creating super fans — advocates who are your company’s greatest asset. Her incredible stories were backed by serious data and made a lasting impression on our audience. (Anyone else sign up for Chewy.com after hearing how they took care of Bear?)

Personal Branding Super Session

This series of three mini-sessions provided very tactical how-to’s about what’s working on social right now, how to stay compliant while you’re busy letting loose, and the critical importance of podcast and voice to your company’s success. This was chock-full of valuable intel!

On the social panel, Adam Constantine of Pace Communications, Chelsea Peitz of Fidelity National Financial, Kelsey Rauchut of Annie Mac and Kevin Peranio of PRMG offered phenomenal tips in a lightning round that asked for their top two tips for Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Just a few of those tips:

  • On Facebook, you can use the algorithm to your advantage by commenting on 10-15 potential clients’ content. FB will surface your content to them in return. (Chelsea)
  • Connect with local businesses who have a “lifestyle mindset” by following them on social and turning on notifications for five of them so you can comment on their posts quickly. (Adam)
  • Create a social media roadmap to make the process of creating content less intimidating (Kelsey).
  • YouTube is the No. 2 search engine in the world — don’t be afraid to use it! But don’t use more than 10 tags on videos. (Kevin)

Ginger Bell of Edumarketing led the compliance session, and demonstrated how marketing and compliance could work together in a harmonious way, making it easier for LOs to stay compliant as they worked on a variety of media.

Phil Treadwell and Dustin Brohm, who wear a multiple hats working in mortgage and real estate and as podcasters (The Mortgage Marketing Expert Podcast and The Massive Agent podcast respectively), made a great case for developing a podcast, noting that listeners will tune in for an average of 50 minutes for a podcast, versus the scant one to two minutes you get on social videos. And once they find your podcast, 93% of podcast listeners will listen to all or most of each episode you have.

Pro tip: LOs can invite guests from their local community to their podcast “show” to build a great relationship with them while providing great content for the audience.

The Originator and Marketing Relationship

Jake Fehling, VP of marketing at Movement Mortgage, talked with three top-producing LOs in this lunch session about what marketing efforts are fueling their growth: Lindsey Goins of Movement, Daniel McCoy of MVB Mortgage, and Ramon Walker of Mount Diablo Lending. The panel discussed the marketing they appreciate most in their day-to-day workflow, whether it’s building deep relationships with builders or providing sound homebuyer education.

How I Built This: Putting Together Your Marketing Tech Stack

We created this session because marketers are inundated with tech options and overwhelmed with the variety of choices. Courtney Keating Chakarun of Roostify, Brian Faux of Morty, Kevin Peranio of PRMG and Brittany Whitmire of FGMC talked about their experience building, integrating and adopting solutions at different companies.

The takeaway, as summed up by Courtney, echoes the classic “measure twice, cut once” idea: Strategy first, technology second.

Killing it With Content

I am partial to this panel not just because I was on it, but because creating content is what I do day in and day out at HousingWire and these panelists got real about what they’re doing that works. Christine Beckwith, president of 2020 Vision for Success Coaching, moderated this rowdy crew, which included Jason Frazier and Josh Pitts from Shred Media and Adam O’Daniel of Movement.

The panel encouraged attendees to seize the opportunities presented by video, with Josh live streaming from the stage to illustrate the point. In one of the most memorable moments of the conference, Jason chided people for worrying too much about how they look on video, and reminded them: “No one likes the way they look on video, but guess what? If I go to see you in your office, that’s the way you look in your office, too.”

Bottom line? Figure out who you are (or who your company is) and be authentically you. Anything less in this marketing age is boring, and therefore lethal.

How to Attract New Buyer Groups

This was an all-star panel, with three of the four panelists also members of our engage.marketing advisory board. Leora Ruzin of Guaranteed Rate moderated the discussion between Keosha Burns of Chase Mortgage, Patricia Korth-McDonnell of Better.com and Riffat Lakhani of Guidance Residential.

These leaders are looking at lending from the consumer’s perspective, and developing homebuyer education and special programs that meet them where they are at. Bottom line from Keosha: “Homeownership is still a universal goal, but we’re getting there in different ways now.”

FRIDAY

The Boardroom: How Marketing Leaders Think about Strategy

HousingWire CEO Clayton Collins interviewed origination leaders with distinctly different strategies: Casey Crawford, CEO of Movement, and Vishal Garg, CEO of Better.com. Where Movement is known for its focus on the human element, Better.com built a reputation around the digitization of the mortgage process.

Turns out the two have more in common than is obvious at first glance: they both recognize that homebuyers need hand-holding. 

Super Session: Referral Marketing

We ended our summit on this note, and it was powerful! Mike Eshelman of Jornaya dove right in with behavioral data that showed where consumers are coming into the funnel and what indicators mortgage companies can look for today. He was joined by Raymond Bartreau of Best Rate Referrals and Grant Moon of Home Captain for a discussion about what’s working in lead gen and customer acquisition.

Fun fact: consumers now spend an average of 170 days between when they start shopping and when they close on a house, giving marketers plenty of time to engage with them, if they know where to look.

The next part of the session featured Jim Anderson of Stearns and Jorge Davila of Flagstar to talk about successful partnerships with Realtors, builders, accountants and even divorce attorneys.

They were joined on stage by Dustin Brohm (the only panelist to be a part of both super sessions!) and Leigh Brown, the fiery head of Leigh Brown & Associates with a thick Southern drawl who delivers smart, pointed observations about the state of the Realtor-originator relationship. It was a lively discussion that drew audience cheers and spontaneous clapping, with almost every phone in the room out to record.

Our engage.marketing is over for this year, but the spirit of connection lives on. We are grateful to all the speakers who shared their experiences so generously, our sponsors whose powerful tech solutions are fueling growth in this purchase market, and our attendees, who came with open minds and left with greater insights and deeper relationships.

Can’t wait to see you next year!