This week, our spotlight shines on Jay McCarthy, the newly appointed chief marketing officer at Brentwood, Tenn.-based Churchill Mortgage. Although McCarthy is new to the mortgage industry, he has more than 20 years of experience in specialized marketing, advertising, communication and brand management for the broadcasting and entertainment industries. Prior to Churchill, McCarthy founded sagethree, an integrated brand marketing and development company focused on music and media, artist development, management and sponsorship activation. Before that, he was program director for CBS Radio‘s KMLE in Phoenix, as well as regional director of Country Programming for Clear Channel Media + Entertainment.
Q: What inspired you to become part of the mortgage profession?
Jay McCarthy: The business of buying, selling and refinancing homes has always fascinated me and I have had plenty of experience with the mortgage process from the consumer side. However, becoming part of this profession wasn’t so much a case of seeking out the industry as it was finding the right fit within the right organization; Churchill is both.
As I delved deeper into who the people at Churchill are, what they stand for and how they go about their business, the decision to step away from entertainment became elementary. The common denominator in most successful businesses is people and how well they are treated. What I continue to see here is that every member of our team exhibits a true passion for people and creating the best experience for others on a daily basis, both in our hallways and with those with whom we are fortunate enough to do business.
Q: What marketing lessons can mortgage professionals adapt from the tech and entertainment industries?
Jay McCarthy: There is a lot of knowledge that can be and should be shared between all three sectors, but the technology and entertainment industries provide the best examples of how content maximizes consumer engagement. This presents great opportunity for the mortgage business.
We still spend a fair amount of time “shouting” at potential customers, but he or she who yells loudest does not necessarily acquire the largest share of business anymore. Take the music industry, for example. The most successful artists have found new and different ways to not only share with their fan base, but to begin conversations and include individuals.
Innovation has been the primary driver behind growth and flux. The evolution of technology – from when we created the first tool by picking up a rock and smashing something with it to processing mortgages electronically – depends on fresh ideas and unique perspectives to continue. Approaching anything with a mentality of “the way we’ve always done it” kills companies and it kills industries. Too often, as the innovation becomes the norm, complacency sets in because things are in growth mode. If you wait until you need innovation, it’s too late and someone else has taken the lead.
Q: What do you see as your primary goals in spreading the Churchill Mortgage message?
Jay McCarthy: Churchill has done a wonderful job becoming known as a great mortgage company, but and there is so much more to who we are than just getting money for people purchase a home. Our main focus moving forward is to improve on sharing what makes this company special, which is the level of customer service and care upon which Churchill’s core principles are founded. Integrity, honesty and service are embedded in our day-to-day business and everything that we do.
A mortgage is the largest financial commitment most of us will ever make, which is why we work for our customers and hold their satisfaction, financial health and well-being with the highest regard. Churchill goes to great lengths to ensure that the process is as comfortable and as enjoyable as possible. As a result, we’re not only a great company to work with; we’re a great company to work for.
Q: What advice would you give to a young college student interested in pursuing mortgage industry marketing?
Jay McCarthy: There are an infinite number of nuances and the industry is evolving. Some advice that was applicable even 10 years ago would not be effective or suitable today. However, there are a few timeless principles that will always apply to the mortgage business:
>> Learn about business first, then the mortgage business and never stop learning;
>> Know what makes companies successful and what makes them fail;
>> Delve into the best practices of other industries, even (or especially) if they don’t seem to be related to what you’re doing or want to do and figure out why they work;
>> Self-educate voraciously and never stop the process; and
>> Always look not only to innovate, but to adapt those seemingly unrelated practices to what you do.
Churchill Mortgage is online at www.churchillmortgage.com.
Phil Hall has been (among other things) a United Nations-based radio journalist, the president of a public relations and marketing agency, a financial magazine editor, the author of six books and a horror movie actor. Also, as you will discover, he is not shy about stating his views.