Last week, Montreal played host to CAAMP’s Mortgage Forum 2014, one of the mortgage industry’s most important gatherings of mortgage professionals. Dubbed by some as “a networking event on steroids,” the event played host to 1,200+ attendees. It also included 65 booths at the two-day Expo and 525 attendees at the Hall of Fame/Awards Night — both excellent showings by historical standards. In case you missed the event, here’s a roundup of conference highlights: CAAMP Expo
Recent developments and new products were featured by many of the dozens of exhibitors, including a demo of CAAMP’s upcoming Mortgage Dashboard. Developed with our input here at CMT, this will be a one-stop data shop where brokers can access a host of rate and other economic information in a fully customizable platform.
A highlight of Expo developments can be found here.
Lively debates by some of the industry’s heavy hitters on pivotal issues, including the future of mortgage brokers.
This year’s edition, hosted by Catherine Murray, featured surprisingly short acceptance speeches — refreshing for any of you who have memories of speeches from years past.
Award of Excellence recipients included Shawna MacDonald (Broker of the Year); Robert Boyd (AMP of the Year); David Larock (Financial Literacy Leader of the Year); Brian Gentles (Member of the Year); and Jim Cook (Innovator of the Year).
This year’s Hall of Fame inductees were Jason Smith (Solidifi) and Hali Strandlund, AMP (Fisgard).
The Art of Marketing
The final day of the conference featured a lineup of best-selling authors, thought leaders and marketers who spoke about how to sell yourself, your ideas and your brand in today’s fast-moving competitive world.
Malcolm Gladwell, author of five New York Times bestsellers. Likely the most anticipated of the speakers, Gladwell spoke about the need to be creative, conscientious and most importantly “disagreeable” in order to be an agent for transformation. (Disagreeable in the sense that you “don’t require positive feedback of your peers to go forward with the ideas you have.”) He added that “transformative innovators have a sense of urgency. They’re not willing to wait to change the world.” Brokers, take note.
Jackie Huba, customer loyalty expert. She discussed word-of-mouth marketing, citing Lady Gaga as someone who successfully turned her fans into her biggest advocates. All businesses have those critical “one percenters,” Huba explained. Those are our most loyal fans — our existing customers. She stressed the age-old message that it is easier to do business with existing customers than it is to attract new ones.
Eric Ryan, co-founder & chief brand architect of Method. As the founder of a multi-million earth-friendly line of cleaning products, Ryan focused on how to innovate your passion by finding something old and boring and coming up with new and innovative ways of doing it. Most important, he said, is to “keep it weird” — that is, be different, and inspire advocates (whether they be staff or clients) to do your promotion for you, through social media or otherwise — i.e., “branding from the inside out.”
Marc Eckō, founder & chief creative officer of Marc Eckō Enterprises. His message was to channel creativity, find the power to defy convention, and summon the confidence to act and compete in any environment. In terms of marketing, his key message: create “wealth that matters.”
Charles Duhigg, New York Times investigative reporter & best-selling author. He spoke on how habits dictate so much of how we think and what we do — up to 45% of our daily tasks are driven by habit. Think about that in terms of how you operate your business, and whether it keeps you in a rut.
An event of this scale requires an exceptional amount of planning. Not surprisingly, countless hours were devoted by its organizers and CAAMP’s board of directors. These are reflections on the event from a sampling of those people:
Dan Putnam, AMP “Some may look at this as the way to find out about the next big mortgage product, but for most, it was an opportunity to network and learn what the best of the best are doing. If you talk to anyone that attended CAAMP, there tends to be a similar goal amongst the majority of them: find a couple of key business concepts, take them home and implement them in 2015; if they do that, then the cost of attending, including potentially lost deals from being away, is without a doubt worth it.”
Sarah Albert, AMP “My biggest take-away was that we, as brokers and agents, are responsible to make the industry stronger together. As a new board member it was a very ‘eye opening’ experience to see how many individuals, companies and teams we have that are fully invested in making the industry stronger. My sense of ‘responsibility’ to my fellow brokers has always run deep, but this conference has reinforced that I am not alone and that together we can make substantial change quickly. The language about working collaboratively together, not competitively alone, was truly inspiring.”
Mike Cameron, AMP “I really felt the conference had a very strong ‘vibe’ to it this year. There was a sense of optimism in the air that I think permeated. If I had to pick a moment for me it would have been hanging out backstage with the WIMI winners talking philosophy while watching the inner workings of the conference. My favourite speaker hands down was Jackie Huba. Although sharing the Gala awards dinner with my friends Hali and Shawna rank way up there. I loved how genuine Shawna was in her acceptance speech.”
Eddy Cocciollo, AMP “When investing time and money in a conference, you expect value. The feedback I received from the attendees of this year’s conference gave me the impression that everyone saw value, from the trade show, to the Gala, the message from our past chair and current chair, and all the speakers, everything felt current and relevant.”
Dan Pultr, AMP “Montreal. Malcolm Gladwell. Mortgage Forum 2014. CAAMP had me at Montreal, enticed me with Malcolm Gladwell and hit a home run with the vibe at Mortgage Forum 2014. My aim with any event is to find one to five business ideas that I really like, take them home and implement over the next 12 months.”