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Title News - January/ February, 2005

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January/ February, 2005 - Volume 84 Number 1

2004 Public Awareness Campaign Report

by Neal Morris

The first year of the ALTA® Public Awareness Campaign was a success. Here’s what we accomplished.

Last year (2004) was the first full year of the ALTA® public awareness campaign designed to educate lenders, Realtors®, builders, members of Congress, and the general public about the value of title insurance. Here is a recap of what ALTA® accomplished last year with our PR firm, Ervin|Bell.

Kits Ordered
The cornerstone of the public awareness campaign is the Title Industry Marketing Kit, designed to help members spread the word about the value of title insurance and promote their companies at the same time. Ervin|Bell worked with various members to customize the materials in the kit for their local markets. Samples of some of the customized ads can be seen on ALTA®’s Web site under the “Public Awareness Campaign” button on the home page.

Some of the materials in the kit were translated into Spanish toward the end of 2004. Ervin|Bell fulfilled requests for close to 1,300 Title Industry Marketing Kits in 2004.

Advertising

  • Ads directed at real estate agents ran in the March, April, May, September and October issues of REALTOR® magazine. In addition, ads appeared in the REALTOR Show Daily during the Annual REALTORS Conference and Expo. These ads were not designed for a response, however close to 30 real estate agents asked for more information based on these ads.
  • Ads directed at lenders were placed in the April, May, June, August, and October issues of Mortgage Banking, and the November MBA Convention Daily. The same ads have appeared in the March, April, September, October, and November issues of National Mortgage News, and the June and October issues of Origination News, which coincided with the National Association of Mortgage Broker and Mortgage Bankers Association conventions.
  • We placed several ads on homestore.com. from March through July, including a skyscraper ad (these appear in a vertical column along the right side of the site); an eye blaster ad (ad bounces on the page as opposed to a stationary banner ad); and a search transitional ad (displayed every time a consumer conducts a home search on homestore.com or realtor.com).
  • In a contract with Google.com we submitted a variety of search key- words. When consumers searched on those words, the ALTA® Web site had a random chance of coming to the top with other advertisers. For instance, in June when someone entered the words “title insurance,” the ALTA® Web site received 2,910 click-throughs with a rate of 3.5%. This was done for June, July, and August.
  • Ads were created to promote the value of ALTA® membership, including mention of the Marketing Kit as a member benefit. These ads ran in these underwriter publications: Agent Insight (First American), Newsline (Ticor/Fidelity Agents), InfoLink (Fidelity), Network (Chicago Title) and Stewart Times. This ad also ran in the July 26 issue of the Title Report.
  • Similar ads were developed for placement in the state affiliate publications.
  • Ervin|Bell customized the Realtor® and lender directed ads for: Chicago Title Insurance Co., Dakota Title, Market Street Settlement Group, Pulaski Title Co., Realty Title, and the California Land Title Assn. In addition, Lender’s Title Co. has taken our 30-second spot, filmed an introduction with President Mike Pryor, and Mike attaches the short spot to his outgoing e-mails to promote his company and title insurance. Samples of all of these ads are available under the ALTA® Public Awareness Campaign section of the Web site—allowing members easy access to see what their peers are doing with the campaign.
  • 30-second and 60-second TV commercials have been developed for placement in early 2005 on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, HGTV, and NewsChannel 8 in Washington, DC, and other selected markets. The spots are designed to reinforce awareness of our industry and promote a positive image as we reach Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Members of Congress, and HUD.

Media Relations
Since HUD’s proposed changes to RESPA and the Radian mortgage impairment issue were so hot in 2004, Ervin|Bell wrote and placed a variety of articles stating the title industry’s position on the issues and reiterating the value of title insurance.

  • Placed bylined article by Jim Maher in the March issue of Real Estate Magazine.
  • Placed consumer-directed piece with tips on title insurance on realtor.org, the official Web site of the National Association of Realtors
  • Wrote commentary for USA Today over Jim’s byline countering their editorial of HUD’s reform proposal
  • Wrote Letter to the Editor for LA Times and Wall St. Journal on RESPA
  • Wrote OpEd for Jim on RESPA for Inman News Features.
  • Distributed testimony by Stanley Friedlander on RESPA to nationally syndicated real estate columnist Ken Harney, REALTOR® Magazine, and National Mortgage News.
  • Wrote editorials on our position on RESPA for Jim Maher’s byline. Distributed to 95 newspapers in 20 states.
  • Distributed press release on OMB decision on RESPA.
  • Distributed latest Radian court ruling to interested national media.
  • Sent bylined article by Jim Maher on title insurance to 130 consumer real estate magazines, and 450 community newspapers.
  • Sent ALTA® press kit and title insurance article to more than a dozen news syndicates targeted at the real estate, senior, and ethnic minority markets.
  • Wrote article directed at senior citizens for placement in AgeVenture News Syndicate.
  • Wrote article for placement in Coldwell Banker’s internal publication to help their sales associates better understand the title process and to use in their client newsletters.
  • Secured commitment from Century 21/Cendant and Remax to post articles about title insurance on their Web sites as well as make articles available to sales associates for their client newsletters.
  • Secured commitment from Washington Mutual and Lending Tree to provide description of title insurance for their Web sites, with link to ALTA®’s Web site.

If you have questions about the Public Awareness Campaign or how you can help in your local market, please contact Lorri Ragan at 1-800-787-2582 or lorri_ragan@alta.org.



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