Monday, December 09, 2019

Joe Welu of Total Expert on Marketing Technology

By MBA Insights Staff
September 17, 2018

JoeWeluJoe Welu is Founder and CEO of Total Expert, St. Louis Park, Minn., creator of a Marketing Operating System built to meet the unique needs of the financial services industry.

Welu founded Total Expert in 2012. He regularly contributes to industry publications and speaks across the country on marketing, innovation and digital transformation. He is also a member of the Forbes Finance Council. Prior to starting Total Expert, Joe co-founded and led one of the top-selling real estate teams in the U.S., achieving more than $1 billion in sales volume. Total Expert was named a 2018 TECH100 recipient by HousingWire and a 2018 Top Workplace by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune.

MBA INSIGHTS: As the mortgage industry transitions to a purchase market, why does marketing technology take on greater importance?

JOE WELU, TOTAL EXPERT: Companies like Amazon and Uber have removed friction from online commerce and consumers now expect this ease of doing business with all companies across all industries, including when they're making one of the biggest purchases of their lives: buying a home.

These expectations are driving digital transformation in the mortgage industry. At the same time, the cost to originate a loan continues to rise and is now approximately $8,500, according to MBA. The right marketing tech stack should make loan officers more efficient and effective, directly impacting the cost associated with closing each loan.

Loan officers don't actually want technology, they want what technology can do for them. The real question becomes, how does your technology empower your loan officers by giving them more time in their day and helping them make more money?

INSIGHTS: What are the components of an "intelligent" Marketing Operating System?

WELU: Lenders have a massive amount of data to manage and protect. When the right data are utilized, it can be a great resource for lenders to ensure their marketing and sales efforts are targeted, on-point and effective. But that data has to be put to use effectively.

That's where an intelligent Marketing Operating System comes in. An intelligent MOS connects a lender's CRM and employs intelligence-driven automation to conduct smarter, personalized marketing across all channels, including email, print, social media, text messaging and more. This ensures lenders go to market with the right message to the right person at the right time. No loan officer wants to waste precious time, money and effort marketing to a recent college graduate about buying a vacation home.

Because an MOS is constantly collecting more data, lenders can gain insights into how customers and prospects are interacting with their marketing, helping them make more intelligent marketing decisions in the future.

INSIGHTS: What's the evolution of the Marketing Operating System? How did it come to be?

WELU: In a hyper-competitive mortgage market like we have today, it's critically important for lenders to embrace modern marketing strategies that drive growth. When talking to lenders, we've found that they want to accelerate their sales and marketing initiatives, but they don't have the technology that allows them to do so and stay compliant.

That's why we created the Total Expert Marketing Operating System--so lenders could accelerate sales more efficiently while ensuring compliance with the industry's unique and complex set of marketing regulations. We also recognize technology is ever-evolving and the pace of innovation continues to accelerate. Our product roadmap reflects this, along with the priorities we hear directly from our customers and prospects.

INSIGHTS: How do you balance technology with the personalization that many consumers still want?

WELU: Personalization is critical for cultivating return business and creating customers for life. If you're a loan officer and you have a single system of delivery for your marketing communications, it's much easier to ensure your current and future customers feel personally communicated to and connected with.

As I said earlier, an MOS empowers loan officers to meet consumer expectations online, including how they engage with your brand across all channels. In marketing, timing is everything, but it's impossible to achieve manually, especially when you have thousands of contacts in your system. Technology makes it possible--completely transforming your sales and marketing efforts.

The reality is that a homebuyer is more likely to choose a company if they have a personal, trusted relationship with the loan officer. Our MOS gives loan officers time back in their day to build these relationships. It also allows loan officers to embed their own image and branding next to the lender's brand to empower personal branding within the enterprise.

INSIGHTS: How does your company work with clients to implement successfully?

WELU: We're constantly communicating with and listening to our clients, and not just with a lender's leadership team, but with their loan officers and their marketing admins as well. These are the people who are using the system every day, and we need to make sure we're meeting their needs.

That's why we have a very robust client support and implementation team. Every client, no matter how big or small, has their own Implementation Manager and Customer Success Manager to ensure they are on-boarded quickly and maximizing the Total Expert capabilities. We also provide support for loan officers and their staff so they can contact our team directly for help navigating and using the system. Our Support team continues to receive rave reviews and we're proud of our continued efforts to ensure clients are implemented successfully and fully realizing the value of Total Expert.

Our mantra is to "Move Fast and Innovate." We couldn't do that without constant communication and input from our clients.

INSIGHTS: How important is it to adopt new technology?

WELU: Adopting new technology and continual innovation is critical. The reality is that margins will continue to compress. Lenders who try to attract new clients and maintain existing relationships while clinging to manual processes will only fall further behind and see their market share shrink.

The purpose of technology is to enhance what loan officers are doing already and make them more efficient at staying front and center with clients and prospects. Unless lenders adopt modern marketing technology, their loan officers will continue to be bogged down in spreadsheets and manual processes instead of selling loans. That's not a recipe for success, so we think the choice is clear.

(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policy of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor do they connote an MBA endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA Insights welcomes your submissions. Inquiries can be sent to Mike Sorohan, editor, at; or Michael Tucker, editorial manager, at

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