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Title News - November/December 2005

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November/December 2005 - Volume 84 Number 6

“Apple of Our Eye” Contest Winners Announced

by Michelle Sweet

ALTA® announced the winners of the “Apple of our Eye” member contest at the recent annual convention in New York. The Grand Prize winner was Patty Beckner, owner of Tri-County Title & Escrow Company in Columbus, Nebraska. The Second Prize winner was Kim Glass, vice president of Cowling Title Company’s Marion, Arkansas office. To enter the contest, members were asked to share their success stories in utilizing the Title Industry Marketing Kit in their local markets. Judging was based on creativity as well as the variety of marketing tools that were used.

“I was really surprised when I found out I won,” said Patty. “I entered the contest because I wanted the folks at ALTA®, as well as other members, to know how useful these materials are and how much they have helped our marketing efforts in our local community.”

The Marketing Kit was developed by ALTA® last year as part of the Public Awareness campaign, to provide tools for members to promote their businesses while forwarding positive messages about the title industry. The elements of the kit include professionally designed brochures, advertisements, a PowerPoint presentation, a video in DVD or VHS, and a press kit, which members can customize. To date, more than 1,500 kits have been distributed.

“In creating the contest, we wanted to recognize the most compelling, unique, or effective ways in which our members have utilized the various tools in the kit,” said Lorri Ragan, ALTA®’s director of communications. “Selecting the winning entry was a challenge, because all of the entries showed great creativity.”

The Prizes
As the Grand Prize winner, Patty was awarded a trip to the New York convention, including free registration, round-trip airfare for two, and three night’s accommodation at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square.

Kim received an American Express gift certificate in lieu of the scheduled prize—tickets to a Broadway Show—as she was unable to attend the convention. (The tickets were raffled off during the convention, with proceeds going to a hurricane relief organization.)

Contest Winners
Following is a summary of the Grand Prize and Second Prize winners, as well as the entries that received Honorable Mention:

Grand Prize winner— Patty Beckner, Tri-County Title & Escrow Company, Columbus, NE
Patty used a variety of tools from the Marketing Kit. She was a guest speaker at several REALTOR® seminars, as well as a local bank-sponsored homebuying seminar held twice a month. She shows the title insurance DVD to customers waiting in her lobby. She also loans the DVD to lenders to show their customers. Finally, Patty writes articles on title insurance for the Home Section of her local newspaper. Way to go, Patty!

Second Prize winner— Kim Glass, Cowling Title Company, Marion, AR
Kim’s creativity really came into play with her use of a variation of ALTA®’s Public Awareness Campaign slogan, “Protecting Your American Dream,” on her company’s Web site and company-sponsored publications. She even uses the slogan on sweaters that she and her colleagues wear to work! And she used several of the Kit’s advertising templates (with the slogan) to place ads in the local Homes for Sale magazine. Good work, Kim!

Honorable Mention— Polly Ann Epting, Coffee County Land Title Company, Burlington, KS
Polly focused on opportunities to reach people in her small community of 2,800 by speaking to the local Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce. She showed the DVD and handed out brochures—tools contained in the Marketing Kit. She also used the materials in the Kit to place a series of 13 columns, in Q&A format, in her local newspaper. Polly demonstrated that no matter how small your community, there are creative ways to promote your business as well as our industry!

Honorable Mention— Craig Roberts, CLTP, Synergy Management Group, E. Sroudsburg, PA
Craig utilized the DVD in classes for real estate agents at a local licensing school. Additionally, he set up a streaming video presentation of the DVD on his company’s Web site. Finally, Craig used the marketing brochures from the Kit in his presentation packages for prospective customers.

Honorable Mention— George M. Amar, Pinnacle Title Agency, Portage, MI
Even though George has been in the title business for 28 years, he needed exposure for his new agency of one year. George utilized the materials in the Marketing Kit to launch his own advertising campaign, and is now being sought out by former clients. George demonstrated how the Marketing Kit can help a new agency gain exposure and bring in clients!

Honorable Mention— Glenda Mittasch, Powers Abstract Company, Perry, OK
Earlier this year, the Otoe-Missouri Tribe of Indians held a first-time homebuyers conference in Ponca City, Oklahoma. The conference was attended by Native Americans wanting to purchase their first home, and it provided them with the opportunity to meet with local bankers and REALTORS®. Glenda spoke on the importance of title insurance and handed out materials from the Marketing Kit. It was so well received that Glenda was invited to speak at future seminars. Good job spreading the word, Glenda!

Honorable Mention— Roger Hannaford III, Hannaford Abstract & Title, Wichita, KS
Roger provided the Marketing Kit’s Value Brochure to local REALTORS® and bankers to give to new homeowners, explaining the importance of title insurance. He met with the local bankers’ association and showed the DVD. He also gave presentations to the local Lions and Kiwanis Clubs. Roger’s experience with the Marketing Kit was summed up in this quote from his entry:

“We want to thank ALTA® in its endeavor to assist our title industry. To our small office in Kansas, it has been the best thing for us since the conversion from the manual typewriter to computers!”

Order Your Marketing Kit Today!
If you don’t already have the Title Industry Marketing Kit, order yours today. (ALTA® members can receive one kit free of charge, with additional kits at a nominal price.) The kit contains brochures, ads, a DVD/VHS on the title industry, a PowerPoint presentation to use with local professional and civic organizations, and a press kit to help members with their local publicity efforts. For more information, go to the ALTA® Web site at (Public Awareness Campaign), or call Lorri Ragan at 1-800-787-ALTA.

  Members Share Their Creative Marketing Ideas

A number of members have shared with us some of the creative tactics they are using in their local markets to promote their businesses. Some utilized tools in the Title Industry Marketing Kit, while others came up with rather novel approaches.

  • Diane Cipa with The Closing Specialists in Ligonier (PA) reported that her company purchased five MINI Coopers and painted them with their company name and logo. These company cars are driven by their closers, reinforcing their overall marketing campaign.
  • Jerry Boutcher and Frank Felker with Monarch Title in McLean (VA) sponsor a weekly one-hour call-in radio talk show, “Open House with Jerry Boutcher.” The airtime is purchased on 630 WMAL, which airs in the Washington, D.C. market.
  • Catherine Blakley with Southern Abstract Company in Bartlesville (OK) customized two print ads from the Marketing Kit, adding their company name and contact info. The ads ran “static” on a local television station during time slots geared to real estate and local REALTOR® listings.

A number of individuals at Stewart Title are using the title industry DVD (part of the Marketing Kit) in their local markets:

  • Molly Reid in Baltimore (MD) plays the DVD in the company’s lobby, and in closing rooms.
  • Patti Bonner in Austin (TX) is showing the DVD during breaks at local Title Insurance Professional Seminars (TIPS).
  • Terri Lapetina in Houston (TX) ran the DVD in the company booth at a recent homebuying show.
  • Tom McElwain in Kalispell (MT) gives copies of the DVD to local real estate agents.

If you are implementing a creative or unique marketing tactic in your local market, we’d like to hear from you. Contact Lorri Ragan at ALTA®——and be sure to include your name, company, and contact information in case we need to follow up with you.

Michelle Sweet is Director of Media Relations for Ervin Bell Marketing Communications in Irvine, CA. She can be reached at

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