Rocket Rewards

Choosing a mortgage lender can be an overwhelming experience for seasoned and first-time buyers alike. From closing costs to escrow, the education ramp is steep and decisions have long-term repercussions.

This is my story of leading the design, and helping to shape 'Rocket Rewards' - a web and native app that helps guide the journey to homeownership, while building a customer relationship.

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Timeframe: April 2022 - Current
Project type: Responsive web & native app

Synopsis: In the massive US mortgage market downturn of 2022, Rocket Mortgage was looking for a foothold with the first-time homebuyers market. The business decided to invest in loyalty, and leverage gamification to build connections with home seekers that were inside the 6-24 month window to purchase.

The challenge: Build a scalable loyalty program from scratch, to make an immediate impact on home purchase lead-to-close, with a focus on first-time home buyers.

My Roles

Creative lead, Experience strategy & Front-end QA.

My team: System architect, Project Owner, Project Managers, Software Engineers, Interface Developers, Copywriter.


This was a very complex program needing a robust and reliable solution, that could launch lean, and scale rapidly with business needs. We took an 8-step approach.

  1. Marketplace comparitive analysis
  2. User expectation research
  3. Program goal setting and roadmap outline
  4. Initial brainstorming and impact research
  5. Prototyping & reaction research
  6. Internal alignment & feature creation
  7. High fidelity creative & development refinement
  8. Development QA

Measure of Success

  • Launch MVP within 7 months
  • Users must be able to clearly understand how the program works, how to earn points, & how to redeem points.
  • 200,000 registered users & 1,000 redemptions within 90 days


Two major limitations were at play from the beginning.

  • The ecosystem of user-facing Rocket properties were all on different systems with no common back end or CRM.
  • The team (from program managers down to the engineers) had never worked on or built a rewards program before.


Market analysis & user research: The key data point collected reads "The 2022 Loyalty Barometer Report by Merkle showed 79% of consumers are more likely to do business with an entity because of its loyalty program. The results for Rocket were even more impressive. According to a company sponsored survey, 88% of clients said they would value a Rocket-affiliated rewards program in a way that would encourage a long-term relationship with the brand." Further data and results can not be shared for this project, but I'd be happy to share the process in person.

Planning & userflow baselines: Defining the user flows of home purchase, outlining the key impact points and overlaying them with the Rocket Mortgage sales process helped identify friction points where Rewards could help 'smooth the path' at key decisions. Helping build trust is a key component to any long-term financial-based service provider, so we looked at key metrics that show an increase in trust and highlighted those paths for users.

Brainstorming & concepting: Effective brainstorm sessions are critical to not only getting diverse ideas and 'out of the box' suggestions, but it helps form team bonds and contribution buy-in from team members. I'm an advocate of focused brainstorm sessions focused on smaller tasks, not trying to boil the ocean. Keeping the 'talkers' from taking over and encouraging full participation is always a goal for me.

Collaboration with our engineering leads and program manager is needed to identify an initial set of features to be included in the MVP product, based upon RICE (Reach, Impact, Confidence & Effort).

Team Planning Brainstorming Concepting

Design & prototyping: Having a 'north-star' defined is always going to make sure that designs are aligned, especially when a large group is involved. Since the brand tone was already established, the process started by trying to define an overall style. Once aligned, the exploration of components and content.

Build refinement & QA: With my font-end development experience I was in a unique position to be able to help break down requirements and acceptance criteria for our engineers to size and prioritize the work. I helped to create a process to track features and ensure approvals could be tracked. Once completed I was able to do an audit of each and provide feedback or approvals.

Concepting More Concepting More Component Development Component Development


The program has exceeded all goals to date.

  1. Launch was on-time and on-budget
  2. User research showed 98% comprehension of the program. Exceeded comprehension goal by 8%
  3. At the Feb '23 earings call (4 months after launch), it was announced that the program has over 1 million users, that have redeemed over $600,000 in closing cost credits Exceeded registration goal by 5x

I'm currently still on the team making constant improvements and enhancements to the program to not only encourage purchase, but also nurture lifetime value for the client base.

Live Creative

Rewards landing My Rewards Activities History About Rewards

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