This powerful kit will help you educate your real estate agents, lenders, and consumers customers, while marketing your company at the same time.
by Sandra Bell
Last weekend, a friend of mine was trying to do a fairly simple home improvement project on his patio. After three frustrating hours of being unsuccessful in his endeavor, he made a quick trip to the hardware store. Upon his return with a new $1.35 drill bit designed specifically for the task, he was done in about seven minutes—and the results were great.
The old adage proved right—you just need the right tools to get the job done. When ALTA® initiated its public awareness campaign two years ago, one of the primary goals was to educate real estate agents, lenders, and consumers about the value of the title industry in the homebuying process. Although the efforts have resulted in some very successful national messaging, it’s always been known that our true success would come when individual ALTA® members sent out a clear and consistent message in their local areas as well. The problem was, there were no real tools to help them do so—until now.
Earlier this year, ALTA® made available the Title Industry Marketing Kit. Members are already utilizing this powerful kit across the country to promote the title industry in general, and their individual businesses specifically.
Why Was The Marketing Kit Developed?
The Title Industry Marketing Kit is a key component of the public awareness campaign designed to help members reach the REALTOR®, lenders and consumer audience with consistent messages about the value of title insurance.
As most of you know, our industry came under heavy fire the past few years when consumers began to question the value and cost of title insurance. In large part, this was a result of the refinance boom, when many homeowners refinanced their mortgage loans several times in as many years and began to question their closing costs. Several politicians and representatives of the news media also began to voice their concerns. This provided fertile ground for misconceptions to germinate about our industry, fueled by the introduction of alternative title insurance products and an attempt to reform the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act—both of which would have had a detrimental impact on the title industry.
Until that point, the title industry as a whole had not consistently promoted itself or the value of its products and services. In all reality, there wasn’t a great need to do so. But the environment has changed. As an industry we must all band together to promote an understanding of the title process and how vitally important it is, in turn, to the home- buying process. The marketing kit was created to assist members in this effort. The beauty of the materials within the kit is that they are designed to help members promote their individual businesses as well. You certainly don’t have to be a marketing expert to utilize this “turn-key” kit. Materials were designed for members to easily create their own local marketing campaigns. In fact, many members are already doing just that.
|Reviews of the Kit|
How is the Marketing Kit Used?
ALTA® is sending very strong messages on a national basis through a media relations and advertising campaign—all with clear, consistent messaging developed as the result of qualitative and quantitative research. The campaign’s ultimate success, however, will ultimately depend on individual ALTA® members forwarding these messages to their local markets. That is exactly how the kit is being used. Look at the photos in this article for samples of ads that have been customized for ALTA® members. In addition, you can visit the ALTA® Web site and click on the ALTA® Public Awareness Campaign button on the right-hand side to see more examples.
What is Included in the Kit?
The individual elements included in the Title Industry Marketing Kit were developed to give members tools to reach our various audiences. The messages were crafted carefully to focus on the benefits our industry can specifically offer each audience. The following gives a glimpse of the audiences that can be reached by the kit’s components, and the items you can use to do so.
Our research shows what we’ve understood for many years—that consumers have a general lack of awareness about the due diligence process that we in the title industry go through, and that many feel title coverage is unimportant until they are made aware of the issues that could arise. Additionally, most consumers aren’t aware that an Owner’s Policy is essential to protect their investment; many think they are covered under their Lender’s Policy. Therefore, our consumer-directed messages are designed to make people aware of the potential problems that can affect a homeowner’s rights to their property, of the amount of work that is done prior to issuing a policy, and of the product that protects their most important asset. Please note, however, that the following items—while created to speak to the consumer—were also developed to share information with our real estate professional, mortgage and other customers directly.
To view sample ads, click here.
Our research told us that REALTORS® have a general knowledge about title insurance, and most said that they respect the title representatives that went “above and beyond” in order to serve their particular needs. Our Realtor® messages were designed to reinforce the efforts we make on their behalf, which, in turn, benefit their clients. Ads directed at real estate agents were developed for placement by ALTA® and are running nationally in REALTOR® Magazine. This same ad series can be customized for individual company use in your local realtor-directed publications. Headlines such as “You work hard for them. We work hard for you” help us stress the commitment we have to serving this market’s needs.
In our research, lenders generally had a positive opinion about the title insurance industry and want their title representatives to continue to offer true protection, products, and services to help them streamline their business. Our lender-directed ads were designed to reinforce those sentiments. The ads were developed for placement by ALTA® and to date have run in Mortgage Banking, National Mortgage News, and Origination News—all national trade publications that reach lenders. The ads, which can be customized for individual member company use as well, include headlines such as “It’s not really a secured loan until you have title insurance.”
The news media is an important audience because they, in turn, write stories that reach consumers, lenders, legislators, regulators, and others. It is crucial that we keep the media informed about our business and solicit their interest in publishing articles and feature stories. A media kit is included to help ALTA® members garner positive news stories in their local markets. Elements of the media kit include a press release template, fact sheet, background information, messages, and an educational article to which members can add their byline and submit to their local newspapers. Also included are sample articles placed by your peers to give you ideas for articles in your local area. Writing and placing these kinds of articles is a great way to gain name recognition in your market.
We Need Your Help
We encourage all members to utilize this powerful kit to help us foster a better understanding of our industry and the value of what we do. And, in the process, you’ll be promoting your business as well. As we said, it just takes the right tool to get the job done.
How To Order Your Kit
Each ALTA® member can receive one Marketing Kit at no charge, and non-members can purchase it for $50. Members can also order additional kits for $50 and purchase quantities of the brochures and other materials separately. Materials can also be customized for an additional cost. You can order the kit online at ALTA®’s Web site at www.alta.org. Click on ALTA® Public Awareness Campaign on the lower right-hand side, then How to Order. If you have questions on the contents of the kit, contact Lorri Ragan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-787-2582.
Sandra Bell is a principal with Ervin Bell Advertising in Huntington Beach, CA. This article is an excerpt of her presentation at ALTA®’s 2004 Annual Convention in Boston.