This week on The Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast, Jennifer Johnson of The Client Cube joins Greg and Kevin to discuss the benefits of outsourcing marketing needs, especially in the rapidly evolving home building environment.
One of the biggest marketing mistakes companies make is in the hiring process. Jennifer says, “Another mistake I see is hiring the wrong people who don't understand the nuances or the importance of having a good digital marketing plan. You know, a lot of times you'll just assume, oh, I'll just hire someone in-house to do digital marketing or be my digital marketer. That's a huge mistake. Assuming someone in-house can do it, and I'll just tell them right now, nine times out of ten, they cannot. This is an extremely specialized discipline as you guys know, and an average in-house marketing manager likely won't have the time or the knowledge to do it.”
Third-party marketing partners can bring many advantages. Jennifer explains, “They can just rely on us. We can hit the ground running. We're already trained. We already know most of their systems. So, we don't need a lot of up ramp time. We can just plug and play…if they can whittle down the internal expectations and resources and lean a little more heavily on us, that's absolutely a no-brainer and something we do all the time.”
When considering whether or not to outsource marketing, Jennifer says, “…think seriously about your marketing plan…think seriously about who your staffing is in-house and whether they may or may not be the right fit for you…I would suggest and recommend that you open your minds to possibly an outsource specialized team that can really hit the ground running and do the kind of work for you that you have maybe been leaning on an internal resource to do. I would suggest that maybe that resource is overworked. They may not be highly specialized in something as nuanced as digital marketing.”
Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about the benefits of outsourcing marketing needs.
About the Guest:
Jennifer Johnson has nearly two decades of experience in the field of marketing, branding, mortgage, new home building, resale real estate sales, property leasing and management, and advertising.
She holds a BA in Communications from California State University Fullerton and has worked for some of the largest homebuilders, mortgage lenders, and advertising agencies in the country.
Starting her early career in the field of property leasing and management, Jennifer worked for the Irvine Company, Arnel Property Management, and Far West Properties, where she was one of the top producing sales and leasing agents at some of Orange County’s largest luxury apartment buildings.
As her career evolved, Jennifer transitioned off the sales floor and moved on to new home construction as a Vice President of Marketing and Sales for some of the country’s largest and most reputable builders. With marketing and advertising always being a passion, she has held corporate positions inside Lennar, Frontier Communities, and Fieldstone Homes as a Marketing Director and Corporate Brand Strategist.
During the 2008 financial crisis, many homebuilders experienced layoffs and opted to outsource their marketing efforts to third-party advertising and marketing agencies. This is when Jennifer received her first taste of supporting the home building industry as part of an outsourced marketing and account management team. She has held management positions with both The Zimmerman Agency and Swirl Advertising where she primarily serviced the homebuilder account, Lennar.
In 2011, Jennifer entered the mortgage industry where she utilized her deep knowledge of real estate sales to help support many of today’s largest mortgage lenders. For over a decade, Jennifer has supported mortgage lenders in a marketing capacity, advising them on best practices, content creation, CRM management, branding, and more.
Today, Jennifer owns and runs The Client Cube, a consulting agency primarily dedicated to serving the mortgage and real estate industries with all their marketing and advertising needs.
Personally, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her husband Don and raising their two children. She also holds an active state of California real estate license and belongs to both the California Association of Realtors (CAR) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In her spare time, she also enjoys yoga, Pilates, ballet, traveling, and visiting with friends and family at the local Temecula Wineries.
Greg Bray: [00:00:00] Hello everybody, and welcome to today's episode of The Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine.
Kevin Weitzel: And I'm Kevin Weitzel with OutHouse.
Greg Bray: And we're excited today to welcome to the show, Jennifer Johnson. Jennifer's the owner of The Client Cube. Welcome, Jennifer. Thanks for joining us today.
Jennifer Johnson: Hi guys. Thanks for having me.
Greg Bray: Well, Jennifer, let's start off and just help people get to know you a little bit and tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jennifer Johnson: Sure. Well, thanks again for having me. Like you mentioned, I'm Jennifer Johnson and I own and run The Client Cube, and The Client Cube is a marketing consultancy. [00:01:00] So, we serve all industries, but we actually see a large allocation of our clients concentrated in the real estate and mortgage industries and we help them with all of their marketing needs.
Kevin Weitzel: That's the business answer. I need the personal answer. We need some juicy tidbit about you that our listeners will only learn about on this podcast.
Jennifer Johnson: Oh my goodness. Putting me on the spot here. All right. Well, here's a little tidbit that nobody ever learns in business. A lot of people don't know that prior to starting The Client Cube, I actually had an entirely different career traveling the world as a professional ballet dancer. So, I've toured internationally with Disney and several ballet companies, and I have a very full passport full of stamps from many countries and continents.
Kevin Weitzel: That is super cool.
Jennifer Johnson: Yeah. Lot of good stories to tell.
Greg Bray: I still don't understand the whole standup on your toes thing though. That just looks so uncomfortable to me.
Jennifer Johnson: My podiatrist doesn't [00:02:00] understand it either, and my orthopedic surgeon, and trust me after decades of doing it, I have an orthopedic surgeon now who is now looking at what we can do to work out all that damage over all those years. So, it's a beautiful, beautiful art, but you're right. the standing on the toes part, or going on point as we call, it is quite rough on the body. I will tell you that.
Greg Bray: I'm sorry if I've just made myself sound very uncultured, but...
Jennifer Johnson: No, not at all. I get that question a lot, and a lot of questions other people ask me are, do the men ever go on their points or on their tips of their toes? And the answer is no. Men never do unless they're impersonating a female ballerina. It's only the females, and it's a tradition that started back in the courts of France in, I wanna say, the fourteen or fifteen hundreds, and I have to do my checking on that. Might have been the sixteen hundreds, but it's been a very, very long-standing art.
Greg Bray: All right, but now we have to understand the story of how one goes from being a ballet dancer to real estate marketing, [00:03:00] so.
Jennifer Johnson: Great question Right? Cause people say to me, well, why didn't you just open a dance studio or why didn't you just continue teaching, and so for fun, I do still teach kids. So, there's some nights that I take a ladies' dance class and I teach kids. So, that's something I think that would always fill your soul, but one thing I started doing when I was trying to supplement my income because artists in this country aren't paid the way they're paid in Europe. Where in Europe, they're given full salaries, and they're funded by the state, we had to supplement our income when we were between gigs.
So, I actually started in property management and leasing. So, I lived in Orange County, California. That's where I'm from, and so I started working for some large property management companies, like the Irvine Company and Far West Management, and Arnell. I also worked for a company that staffed floaters. So, whenever I wasn't doing a dance gig, I would work the sales floor as a leasing agent. It was nice commissions and it gave me income when I had no ballerina income.
So, I quickly realized that I was pretty good at sales and pretty good at [00:04:00] marketing myself. So, as I got a little older and started to have some foot problems, as we talked about earlier, I got my California real estate license. So, I started selling resale homes. I joined a company that's here local in Orange County called Ultimate New Home Sales and Marketing with Steve Kaller and team, and they really showed me the ropes and introduced me into the new home building side of things, where I managed many builders during one of the craziest times we've ever seen in home building. Which was the 2003 through 2006 explosion of new homes, where people are camping in the parking lots, et cetera. So, that's how it all started for me. It was a way to supplement income, and here I am.
Greg Bray: It's always fascinating to see how the twists and turns of life come along and we end up in places we never thought we'd be it.
Jennifer Johnson: It really is.
Greg Bray: So, tell us a little bit more about The Client Cube. You gave us the one-liner there, but a little bit more about who you work with.
Jennifer Johnson: Sure, and interestingly The Client Cube started after another wave of layoffs. You know, [00:05:00] we may be seeing this now in our industry as well, right? Rates have taken an uptick and so a lot of home builders and mortgage companies are starting to let go of their staff. Unfortunately, some of the teams that are hit first would be the IT team, the HR team, sometimes accounts payable, and sometimes marketing, right? Those are usually the first folks that get their walking papers and the salespeople are obviously the last people that get their walking papers.
So, when I was in-house, I worked for Lennar. So, to fill in the gaps from the beginning of my story, after I worked the sales floors and ended up being a VP of Sales and Marketing, I worked my way up. I moved into the marketing side of things, and so I joined Lennar as an in-house marketer, and from there I did in-house marketing for several years and decades. Long story short, when layoffs happen, you have to reinvent yourself.
So, being a ballerina and having to start a career from scratch. It wasn't scary to me. So, I decided to start The Client Cube because so many of my clients didn't wanna let me go. They just had a budget restraint and they had to let [00:06:00] staff go. So, I ended up just consulting back to a lot of the companies that had laid me off in the past. They kept calling and said, well, you know the business model, you know our branding, you know our needs, and you know how short-staffed we are. Can we just hire you back and pay you as a consultant? And so that is how The Client Cube ultimately was born.
To this day, I still have clients on my roster that I once worked for, and I just consult back to them for all of those gaps that they need. So, my team, we can provide marketing coordinators, We can manage your CRM if you don't have anybody to do that. We can redo and redesign your branding if your branding is old and stale. So, we really are a full-service marketing agency, and we love to partner with teams like Blue Tangerine for digital needs as well. It's a great fit.
Greg Bray: Well, tell us then, Jennifer, as you are looking across your client portfolio and kind of the industry as a whole. You talked about, again, this idea that when things might start to slow, right, and that's [00:07:00] when some of these changes are coming and there was an implication that you're starting to see that on the horizon right now. Again, similar to kind of those experiences back in some prior cycles.
So, it's been crazy out there. They haven't had to market at all to sell homes. They've had people lining up. They're just waiting. They're if you don't want it, I've got somebody else right behind you and that's starting to change.
Jennifer Johnson: It is.
Greg Bray: We're already seeing, and quickly too. It's like the breaks just kind of came outta nowhere almost. Even though we've all been saying, it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen. So, how do then companies who haven't had to do marketing, haven't had to get the word out because the buyers are lining up, how do they kind of reset or reboot in these types of situations to rebuild and figure it out all over again. What are your thoughts?
Jennifer Johnson: That's a great question. If you're a client or you're a potential client of mine, and you're coming to me the first time and you are now a little bit freaked out, not sure where to start with your marketing. We definitely start with a diagnostic [00:08:00] assessment of what your current marketing plan looks like and that's everything.
So, when I set up my free calls and my free consultations with potential clients, we talk about all things marketing, not just digital. You know, we talk about your logo, your branding, your colors, what your current marketing support team looks like. We talk about your pain points. Are you having trouble internally just managing your sales teams? Are you having trouble internally because you don't have a specialist that handles your CRM? We can plug into those kind of scenarios.
Maybe they just want more leads because the phone stopped ringing and that's where I partner with a great digital team like you guys, right? So, we talk to them. What does your current digital strategy look like, or do you even have a digital strategy? What is your website built like? What is the platform it's built on? Is it optimized for SEO?
You know, once we look under the hood and we see sort of what their situation is, we can propose things like possibly running some digital ad spend. Being, of course, mindful of their budget. That's where I usually like to start. So, I'll start with the consultation, partner with a great digital team, [00:09:00] and we will just diagnostically assess where they're weak and how we can help them.
Kevin Weitzel: I have a follow-up question on that, and it revolves more around budgeting. So, and not to hold your feet to the fire on budget for anything, but being a person that sells to home builders, you know, I hear the, eh, we're selling houses so fast. We don't have to do anything. Everybody's waiting in line. We don't have to spend any money on marketing right now. Okay. I get it.
I think it's a horrible, short-sided answer, but it's still a legitimate answer when they should be using that money to be funding their budgets. However, you know, those windfall, I should say. However, once the market slows down, then they go, whoa, wait a minute. Now we need to tighten up the budget. The budget they weren't spending in the first place. Now they wanna tighten up what they weren't even spending, to begin with.
Jennifer Johnson: Right.
Kevin Weitzel: So, what are your thoughts on monetizing a marketing protocol out of a percentage of sales, or what's your philosophy on that?
Jennifer Johnson: Yeah, and I will be honest. That is one of the largest frustrations that we have on my side of the business is not being able to convince a builder or a mortgage lender that they should spend when the times [00:10:00] are good. A lot of times you'll see a marketing director or marketing VP think that they're gonna score brownie points by actually shaving the budget during good times. Which feels crazy to me, right? Like why, if you've been given X amount of dollars, are you gonna just whittle it down so that you can score a brownie point with some of your executives. Keep that budget. You're gonna need it.
So, I feel like I've tried to pound this into a lot of my clients' heads. Keep the budget. It's not a use it or lose it. Keep it. Roll it over until when the times are bad, but they don't. They've trimmed the fat too fast. So, that's a huge mistake I see, in that they've waited too long to put that digital plan in place. So, my advice is don't wait until the market shifts. Have a contingency plan and have that plan running during the great times. This is a long game and you guys know this.
Google takes time to do Google's learning. Algorithms take time. You can't just pull the trigger now that rates have changed and expect magical results. So, I really emphasize with my [00:11:00] clients, please play the long game. Now, if you've found yourself in a predicament now, and you didn't play the long game and you didn't listen to any advice, and now that rates are higher. Now you're in this situation.
We are going to have to carve out a little bit of money to do a light digital spend. Especially if you're concerned about generating leads, and that's when I love to partner with a digital team like you guys to have you give me a quote for just the smallest barrier of entry, and we can start small, but we don't wanna start so small it's not impactful. So, now we're gonna have to deal with the situation and we're gonna talk about the lowest amount of money that you are gonna have to spend to at least get in the game. So, that's usually where we start.
Greg Bray: No. We were having a conversation with a client last week where they were trying to get some quotes and some estimates for their various division folks, and they said, you know, we have people in these marketing groups that have been with us less than two years. They've never seen anything else than what's been going on the last two [00:12:00] years. They don't even have a point of reference.
Jennifer Johnson: Oh bless their hearts.
Greg Bray: To yeah. To, to what it means to actually have to generate leads and learn how to spend that money, and it is kind of challenging what Kevin was talking about. This idea that well, I haven't had to spend any money and now all of a sudden sales aren't what they used to be. So, I feel like I have less money than I had anyway.
Jennifer Johnson: Right.
Greg Bray: But now I have to spend more. It really is gonna be a little bit of a transition for some people. It's gonna hurt a little bit.
Jennifer Johnson: Yes.
Greg Bray: But hopefully we'll recognize that it's going back to normal. What we've had the last couple of years is not normal. It is very unusual.
Jennifer Johnson: No, and I coach and consult individual loan originators too. So, a lot of our clients are mortgage lenders, but we also can reach out a step further and coach individuals who want that coaching, and a lot of times I see this with sales folks. They're a day late in a dollar short. They were taking advantage of such a great refi environment that it was almost like shooting fish in a barrel. It was the easiest darn thing, and so some of these younger, more junior loan [00:13:00] originators who have only seen this industry, first of all, bless their hearts. You haven't seen the rollercoaster that we've seen, those of us who are a little more seasoned in the industry. This is not our first rodeo.
You know, if you think about the industry, it's usually about on a 10, 12-year curve, right? It's quite cyclical, but we can predict what it is that's going to happen. I mean, back in 2008, I was laid off. In 2010, I was laid off again, but you can predict, based on what kind of marketing we're doing at the time, what's gonna happen in the future. Back in 2010, we were doing a lot of rate buydowns, 321 buydowns. I was working for Lennar at the time. They were trying to incentivize folks to get in and get a home for less with some of the incentives and concessions they were offering.
Fast forward into present time, if they've never seen this, and didn't know this was happening. That's why it's really important to partner with a consultant like our team or with you guys because we can almost project the future. We can almost say, hey, don't panic. We'll get through this, but there's going to be about, three, four years, and then you're gonna start to see an [00:14:00] uptick and that's traditionally what we've seen. So, let's spend a little money consistently and be patient, and again, play that long game. This isn't a quick fix where you can just turn on some digital ads and have leads next week. I don't see that to be true, and maybe you guys feel differently about that, but I feel like it takes time of nurturing and growing your online presence.
Greg Bray: This is Greg from Blue Tangerine, and I just wanted to tell you how excited we are about our upcoming event, The Home Builder Digital Marketing Summit. It's coming up September 21st and 22nd in Phoenix, Arizona. Now, this is an event that you do not want to miss.
We're gonna be talking about websites, SEO, analytics reports, how to use social media influencers more, how to improve your online reviews, how to really do everything you need to do to start selling homes online. Again, The Home Builder Digital Marketing Summit on September 21st and 22nd in Phoenix, Arizona. Go to buildermarketingsummit.com. Click [00:15:00] register. Please be sure to join us at The Home Builder Digital Marketing Summit.
What's also interesting is everybody talks about supply chain challenges and things. There are resource constraints in the marketing consulting world too. We can't just do a billion new websites in a day. There's only so much capacity. Kevin can only crank out so many floor plans at once. If you come late, then you get in line.
Jennifer Johnson: Right.
Greg Bray: Just like you have to wait for windows, you have to wait for some of that support as well. So if you haven't been investing and keeping current, you might have a little bit of a delay, while you get in line and get some of that help in place.
Jennifer Johnson: Yeah. We've been seeing that too. You know, our resources are not infinite. There's a finite amount of resources, and so we have honestly gotten busier during this change in the market because we have seen layoffs. We have seen large corporations lose critical members of their marketing team and they don't wanna pause business. We've become busier, but again it's important for clients out there to know that when times [00:16:00] change, your vendors and your business partners might not always be able to respond as quickly as you want them to. Which is important why you should just be on retainer with us and have a long, long game plan. We'll take care of you.
Greg Bray: Yeah.
Kevin Weitzel: Well, just like any outsource product, especially when you're talking about something where you need staff. When the times are slim, you don't have to lay anybody off. You can just throttle down the operation that, you know, he is providing for your client.
Jennifer Johnson: Exactly, and we've seen that to work really well. They can just rely on us. We can hit the ground running. We're already trained. We already know most of their systems. Especially in the mortgage industry. They use a lot of the same platforms. It doesn't matter where you are. You know, so their LOS loan origination system is usually the same. Their CRM is usually the same. Their websites are all similarly built on the same platform.
So, we don't need a lot of up ramp time. We can just plug and play, and so to your point, Kevin, if they can whittle down the internal expectations and resources and lean a little more heavily on us, that's absolutely a no-brainer and something we do all the [00:17:00] time.
Kevin Weitzel: And save them money and time. It can also eliminate downtime when they have to replace an employee.
Jennifer Johnson: Absolutely.
Kevin Weitzel: Cause now you don't have to train that employee. Well, you're already trained.
Jennifer Johnson: Absolutely.
Kevin Weitzel: Your staff can hit the ground running. Right now.
Jennifer Johnson: And yeah, we talk about things in our interviews, like the cost of attrition, right? What is the cost in headhunter terms, right? There's a cost to acquire a new employee. There's a training ramp-up time. There's always the risk that that person's not gonna work out, or they're not gonna like your company culture and they're gonna quit, and then you're up in a lurch again. You don't have any of that with us at The Client Cube. We've been there. We've done that. Most of us have worked in-house at builders or mortgage lenders. We understand your pain. We're not trying to infiltrate into your company culture. We're just here to help where it hurts the most.
Greg Bray: So, Jennifer, we talked a little bit about budget management being one of the challenges. What are some mistakes that we might help somebody avoid who's trying to kind of reboot their marketing right now?
Jennifer Johnson: That's a great question. I see a lot of mistakes being made, unfortunately. You guys probably do too, [00:18:00] as third-party partners to so many of these clients. You know, as I mentioned, waiting too long to put a digital plan in place. That is a huge mistake I see. Don't wait until the market shifts. Have a great contingency plan in place.
Another mistake I see is hiring the wrong people who don't understand the nuances or the importance of having a good digital marketing plan. You know, a lot of times you'll just assume, oh, I'll just hire someone in-house to do digital marketing or be my digital marketer. That's a huge mistake. Assuming someone in-house can do it, and I'll just tell them right now, nine times out of ten, they cannot.
This is an extremely specialized discipline as you guys know, and an average in-house marketing manager likely won't have the time or the knowledge to do it, and I think so many builder executives specifically think, oh, I'll just hire someone. I'll just have my in-house guy do it. An in-house marketing guy is also tasked with supporting an entire sales team, dealing with all of the print collateral, as you know, floor plans, [00:19:00] brochures, you know, home of the week, flyers. They're busy appeasing executives.
At what point in time, and you guys know this, are they gonna have time to dig deep into either a Facebook ad management plan or a Google ad spend and also have expertise and the nuances to know what to do and how to change and ship your spend? There's no way. So, that's a huge mistake I see.
Kevin Weitzel: Whoa, whoa, wait a minute.
Jennifer Johnson: Is this earth-shattering news to you?
Kevin Weitzel: Are you gonna stand there, the owner of The Client Cube, and tell me that I can't fix all my company's problems by hiring some hip high school kid to just do a couple of Facebook posts and cure everything?
Jennifer Johnson: Imagine that. Yes. If I had a dollar for every time someone says, oh, I'll just have my son do it.
Kevin Weitzel: Oh.
Jennifer Johnson: My son's 19. He's gonna make my social graphics. That's great if he makes your social graphics. Has he done AB testing? Has he certified in Facebook Ad management? Is he certified in Google Ad spend? No. It's so shortsighted. I sound very passionate right now when I'm [00:20:00] talking, but this is important to me and I'm sure it is to you guys too. It's so hard to get that message across that assuming someone in-house can do it is extremely shortsighted.
And then just finishing my thought here of another mistake that I see is expecting immediate leads and conversions. Like I said earlier, this is a long game and so I always try to set the expectation with my client that yes, we might be in a rate hike environment, but I'm telling you right now, there is no magic wand. We do need to do this as part of your full marketing mix, but immediate leads and conversions are going to take time just like Google learning takes time, algorithms take time, et cetera.
Kevin Weitzel: Jennifer.
Jennifer Johnson: That's what I'm saying.
Kevin Weitzel: I hate to be this guy, but are you absolutely positive on that? So, if I hire somebody to just, I don't know, I don't even know how you buy them, but buy ten Google Adwords, I'm not gonna see sales next week?
Jennifer Johnson: I hate to break it to you. Probably not.
Kevin Weitzel: Oh, okay. Just checking. just checking, you know.[00:21:00]
Jennifer Johnson: I know our builder audience doesn't wanna hear that, and our mortgage lending audience doesn't wanna hear that, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I also like to talk about the basics of a sales funnel. You know, If you think of a funnel and it's wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. You'll get a lot of junk coming into the top of the funnel. It takes time to learn your audiences and your lookalike audiences and you guys know this, but most of our clients don't. They think if something falls into the top of the funnel, it should convert.
Just like a giant garbage can, there's a lot of garbage that comes in there and it's up to your sales team to work through those leads and come up with those ones that are gonna make it into the middle of the funnel and then, of course, shoot out the bottom as an actual purchase. So, that's what I really try to illustrate. I sometimes even draw a picture of a funnel and I explain that things are either top of funnel, mid-funnel, or bottom-funnel. It does help because to your guys' point, a lot of our builder clients and mortgage clients want leads tomorrow or [00:22:00] even better yesterday, and they want you to be the team to do it, and why isn't it working?
Greg Bray: Now, Kevin, I just have to ask a question. You said I don't want to be that guy, and I'm pretty sure that you do want to be that guy.
Kevin Weitzel: I mean, I wanna be the guy that can just buy ten AdWords and instantly gets you some leads, but the harsh reality is that's not the case. You know, I tell people this all the time, I'm like, you can put balloons on a fence post and get leads.
Jennifer Johnson: Right.
Kevin Weitzel: Those aren't quality leads. They're just people driving might wanna see how I decorated the model home.
Jennifer Johnson: Absolutely.
Kevin Weitzel: You know.
Jennifer Johnson: Absolutely.
Kevin Weitzel: You want those middle funnel, those huggable, squeezable, close some leads, you know.
Jennifer Johnson: And funny. When I was working for the Irvine Company, way back in the day as a leasing agent. You know, this was in the nineties, so I'm gonna age myself right now, but we barely had the internet. We didn't work internet leads. We didn't do anything but hope that foot traffic would come in the door.
You know, and I worked in the Jamboree Corridor in Irvine. You guys are probably familiar with that. It's a heavily traveled street. So, you would just throw some balloons out on the curb. Maybe get a sign [00:23:00] spinner, and hope that they came in. I mean, it was really a non perfected science quite honestly, in the nineties, and then as a salesperson, and this still happens to this day, you have a registration card and the salesperson is tasked with checking the box. Well, how did you hear about us? And half the time the salesperson is busy, maybe lazy, and just didn't bother to ask. So, they'll just check the box drive by, and it happens to this day. I'm telling you at Lennar and some of these other major builders, the data is only as good as the salesperson putting it in when it comes to a physical registration card.
So, we had no idea, no clue how these people were actually hearing about us. The beauty of today is that even if the salesperson completely botches their registration card or doesn't even bother to fill it out, we would, hopefully if you're partnering with us and a digital team like you guys, have enough analytics to know generally where these folks are coming from. They usually saw an impression online first. They are usually searching in sort of a geo-targeted area. There's certain [00:24:00] behaviors we're gonna be able to track way before they even show up inside your sales office. That is something that I love about this decade versus the nineties, and I hope it's here to stay.
Greg Bray: I think analytics is here to stay.
Jennifer Johnson: I hope so, and I hope more builders can understand it, comprehend it, leverage it, and know when to spend money on it.
Kevin Weitzel: Well, just when they understand how to read the analytics, well then the whole platform's gonna change, but that's okay.
Jennifer Johnson: Right. Yeah, of course. Yeah, and then Facebook, or whoever comes out with an algorithm change and then shifts in the entire policy of how you're allowed to advertise. That's why you hire professional like us. Professionals like us can move quickly and make that shift. Whereas an in-house person probably isn't gonna know.
Greg Bray: Well, Jennifer, we appreciate your time and sharing with us. Just a few more questions as we wrap up. When you look ahead you know, obviously rising rates is a very real trend that's happening right now, but what else is out there that you're watching and think builders should be getting ready for?
Jennifer Johnson: Well, I would definitely say, you know, over the past 10 years, we've seen how quickly technology has evolved, right? [00:25:00] So, if we look back, even when I was working in the advertising agency space ten years ago, Uber wasn't even a thing, right? The iPhone was barely out ten, twelve years ago. There was no Instagram.
So, if we look at the trends and the things that are happening now, it's heavily mobile-enabled. We can't imagine a world without Uber anymore. When I lived in San Francisco, I was working for the Swirl Agency and we were supporting Lennar. 2010, I had to take taxis. I had to actually hold my hand up in the air and wait for a yellow cab to come by and flag him down. Uber was not even a thing that is so mind-blowing to think about.
So, as we look toward the future, what I tell my clients is in another ten years, who knows what is going to be happening, but I can safely guess that it's going to really involve a lot more mobile transacting. Our kids and I've got teens, they don't know how to not transact on a mobile phone. That's all they grew up with, and that's what this next generation of buyers are gonna be doing. They're going to be mobilely transacting.
So, for my mortgage clients and my home builder clients [00:26:00] that don't have a great mobile-enabled solution, and they don't have a good sales funnel attached to any mobile leads they're getting, I'd say that was my number one suggestion and priority is to get with a team like ours and Blue Tangerine, or whoever. Get with someone who knows what they're doing and connect a sales funnel to your mobile devices and your customers are gonna be so much happier.
Greg Bray: Well, Jennifer, do you have any last words of advice that you wanted to share with our audience today?
Jennifer Johnson: Gosh, my last piece of advice would be, think seriously about your marketing plan, and if you're an executive and you are sitting inside of a home builder or a mortgage originator, think seriously about who your staffing is in-house and whether they may or may not be the right fit for you. I'm not encouraging anybody to make any firings or any layoffs. we don't want that. We've been on the receiving end. That's no fun, but I would suggest and recommend that you open your minds to possibly an outsource specialized team that can really [00:27:00] hit the ground running and do the kind of work for you that you have maybe been leaning on an internal resource to do. I would suggest that maybe that resource is overworked. They may not be highly specialized in something as nuanced as digital marketing.
So, if they would like to have a conversation and they're even not sure they're more than welcome to reach out. We do free consults and it's a very casual conversation about where you'd like to go, where you are currently, and maybe what your pain points are in-house, and we can discreetly and kindly work through those pain points with you, partner with your existing marketing teams, so they don't feel threatened. Just get you to a better place.
Kevin Weitzel: So, when a builder responds to you with very unrealistic expectations, do you find it a healthy practice just to grab 'em by the shoulders and just shake 'em and tell 'em you're wrong? You're just horribly wrong. That's not a budget. Three hundred dollars doesn't cover anything, man.
Jennifer Johnson: Yes. I do. I water that down a little bit.
Kevin Weitzel: Maybe a little bit.
Jennifer Johnson: But I will give [00:28:00] them a friendly and kind dose of truth serum. I believe that it's important to set expectations upfront and if the expectations are unrealistic, you might not be the right partner for us. We rely on extremely synergistic partners and builders who get it, quote-unquote, or lenders who get it. If you don't get it and you're not gonna be a fit for us, that's okay. God's speed. We wish you the best, but we will give you some true serum. Yes. So, bring it on. Bring your requests on and I'm happy to talk you through them.
Kevin Weitzel: So, we get a lot of feedback from people who listen to the podcasts, you know, that they've gotten a lot of information from us and wish they would've heard more of this earlier on in their career. So, my question to you, my final question to you is what advice would you give the 20-year-old Jennifer Johnson getting into this industry?
Jennifer Johnson: Be flexible. Be resilient. Always keep your skills sharp. Surround yourself with vendors and mentors that are smarter than you are, and final thought [00:29:00] never burn a bridge. Those folks will always come back and hire you in some capacity if you've kept your relationship clean. Don't burn the bridge. It's a very small business. Whether it's home building or mortgage or both, they all intersect at some point.
Kevin Weitzel: They all talk. Yeah.
Jennifer Johnson: I haven't just interviewed for a job with a head hunter in decades. It's all been word of mouth. Even a lot of my clients to this day, come to me word of mouth. Keep your reputation clean. Keep your head down. Keep humble, and this industry will pay you back.
Kevin Weitzel: I love it.
Greg Bray: Well, Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing with us today. If somebody wants to get hold of you or just needs a dose of true serum, what's the best way for them to get in touch?
Jennifer Johnson: Yes. If you'd like to have a one-on-one shot with me and a little dose of truth serum, and I'll be nice, I promise, you can go to theclientcube.com. That's www.theclientcube.com. You can, on the site, book a free consultation directly with me and it goes directly to my calendar and we'll chat. It's that easy.
Greg Bray: Well, thank you, [00:30:00] Jennifer, and thank you everybody for listening to The Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine.
Kevin Weitzel: And I'm Kevin Weitzel with OutHouse. Thank you.