How mortgage companies can compete against Super Bowl-sized rivals

It's not easy to compete against those with major ad cash, but it can be done

How mortgage companies can compete against Super Bowl-sized rivals

Only the industry heavyweights can afford to run ads during the Super Bowl – a proposition costing upwards of $7 million per 30-second spot. Yet there are still ways to promote one’s business in decidedly more modest fashion to counter such titanic tactics, brokers told Mortgage Professional America.

MPA interviewed some of those gathered at Miami Beach, Fla. for the “Hall of AIME” event that took place Feb. 10-12, ahead of Super Bowl Sunday. Billed as a celebration of the broker channel, the gathering cast a spotlight on the industry’s elite leaders and the top originators in the mortgage wholesale industry.

Read more: Rocket, Anna Kendrick and THAT Super Bowl ad

This year, Rocket Mortgage/Rocket Homes was the sole advertiser from the mortgage industry with its recreation of the home buying experience centered on Barbie seeking to buy her Dream House. The company has run various ads over the years, winning top honors from a key USA Today poll that surveys the 64 Super Bowl advertisers every year. Fellow heavyweight lender United Wholesale Mortgage has also run ads during the prized Super Bowl time slot in past years.

Read next: UWM challenges Rocket Mortgage in first-ever Super Bowl ad

Yet one need not look between the sofa cushions for $6.5 million to $7 million to promote one’s wares. Nor should one be deterred from highlighting one’s strengths in the face of such massive competition. MPA gleaned alternative ideas from brokers:

  • Rami Daood, founder of Rightway Lending: “Everybody’s shopping for a mortgage. Really what I always say to that is ‘hey we’re not spending millions of dollars on this commercial that if you go with them, that’s what you’re paying for. I got me, I got another guy that sits behind me, and this is who you’re going to speak with the whole time which is great because we’re going to do everything for you from A to Z. Why it’s great for you is because if you need something – which you sometimes need in process – you’re not calling this guy and getting transferred over to that person. You’re working directly with me.’ So building that value with the client is the best thing a client can have.”
  • Chris Griffith, broker/owner at Debt Does Deals: “I think consumers appreciate visibility so that things that are ambiguous no longer have to stay ambiguous, and I think that advertising is the act of making things less visible – especially the way the data speaks to how these companies operate. For instance, one of them that you might see in one of these Super Bowl commercials – Rocket or something along those lines—they want to claim that they’re the best thing for the consumer. But is it actually the case? When you review HMDA [Home Mortgage Disclosure Act] data from 2020 – we don’t have 2021 yet but we have the end of March – you can quickly see what the entity that’s doing the advertising on TV, this retail arm of this massive company, is doing. And what they’re doing from a financial analysis perspective is infinitely worse, especially for veterans, than the companies that aren’t doing those things. I think that following the data and learning how the data should drive our operations and then using the data – not to paint a good or bad profile picture of a person or company but to recognize the competitive feature of cost and finance and why that matters to the consumer – should be the focus of all of our perspective. I think if you look at the data it’s very clear where consumers are winning and that’s what’s driving the success of this channel.”
  • Todd Bitter, branch vice president at JKS Mortgage: “First thing I do when I’m competing against a giant, I simply talk about experience. I explain to people I have 26 years. The guy in that phone call – that headset jockey as I call them – that guy’s got probably four minutes in the business because they turn and burn employees constantly. There’s the Better.coms of the world and those online cut-throat lenders that the experience isn’t there. There’s going to be that absolute bottom-dollar rate shopper. But those aren’t the majority of clients. You can show the difference in experience, and a lot of times those same clients are like ‘maybe I don’t really care if it’s a $10 higher payment. At least I know I’m in good hands with someone who knows what they’re doing.’ And that’s usually how we overcome that. When I have someone who’s really stubborn, and they’re trying to get me to match a Better, or a Quicken or Rocket or whatever they’re called now, I’ll get them to get me the loan officer’s information and I’ll look ‘em up and say ‘OK right here, consumer access MLO: The guy was at Best Buy slinging cell phones six months ago. And look at mine: 1990s and beyond!’ I’ve won many a deal doing that. Many a deal.”