Knowing where to invest your money can be a tricky situation, especially for marketers. With so many tools and channels to choose from, it can be difficult to know which ventures will pay off. AIG Advisor Group, an affiliate of international insurance company AIG, decided to go all in with a multichannel marketing strategy for its “Speak Loud” campaign and leverage its number one asset: its advisors.
Spending time coming up with the right plan
“Speak Loud” is AIG Advisor Group’s national recruitment campaign. Co-created by branding and marketing agency Jamison Advertising Group, “Speak Loud” debuted this past March to boost brand awareness among financial advisors and convince them to join one of the financial planning firm’s four broker dealers.
But Kevin Danaher, SVP of marketing communications for AIG Advisor Group, knew that he’d have to do something different if he wanted to distinguish the brand from financial advising tycoons, like Merrill Lynch.
“We didn’t want something that was just a stock photo of two people shaking hands or somebody sitting behind a desk…,” Danaher says. “We really wanted something that was going to jump out because there is so much of that out there, and the fear was that we would just get lost in the noise.”
So, he decided to leverage the firm’s top money maker: its financial advisors. The firm’s agency spent time in each of its four locations to get a better sense of what it’s like to work for one of AIG Advisor Group’s dealers and find the advisors who would become the faces of the campaign.
“It’s their voice,” he says. “They’re our best ambassadors.”
Balancing the channels
To educate people about the firm, AIG Advisor Group created digital and print ads featuring one of eight advisors; two advisors from each of the firm’s four dealers. These ads run in direct mailings, industry publications, and banner ads. The firm even receives mentions in the industry publications’ e-blasts and digital properties. Each of the ads directs prospects back to the campaign’s website, where they can learn more about AIG Advisor Group, get to know the advisors by reading their “Speak Loud” stories, and watch the campaign’s 30-second digital commercials.
The campaign also includes PR and social elements. For instance, AIG Advisor Group posts content on its social channels, like Twitter, with the hashtag #SpeakLoud. The firm also uploads its commercials, videos of its advisors, and behind-the-scenes clips to YouTube.
“It humanizes the whole thing,” Danaher says about the videos. “That’s a big part of it too. “That’s why we’re using actual real advisors—and not stock photos.”
Besides being a place where AIG Advisor Group can recruit the next generation of financial advisors, social media is important, Danaher notes, because it allows the firm to stay in front of financial advisors throughout their consideration and conversion phases.
“Part of the issue with recruitment advertising is that you never know when someone is ready to make a move,” he says. “If they happen to see our print ad in one of the monthly publications [and…] they decide to make that move, that’s great and we hope that happens. But chances are that’s not going to happen all that often [where] we’re in the exact right place at the right time…. So if they join us on social media we’ll just stay in front of them so that when they are ready to make the move, they’ll think of us.”
Calculating the payoff
The campaign is expected to run for two years. Danaher says that the firm is focusing on boosting awareness in the first few months and then concentrating on generating leads—such as by producing whitepapers and additional content—in the second phase. Therefore, the company will be tracking Web analytics (like click-through rates and unique views) during the first phase and leads and affiliation rates in the second. And while Danaher wouldn’t disclose any precise figures, he says that AIG Advisor Group has already seen an increase in phone volume, click-through rates, and unique site visits.
Although Danaher says doing something outside of the traditional financial marketing realm posed a bit of a challenge for AIG Advisor Group, he notes that the firm quickly received buy-in from its president and CEO and that the campaign has been well received.
“People are willing to take a chance and people are willing to be different if they see the benefits down the road,” he says. “We were a little hesitant to put these types of ideas out there, but we were pleasantly surprised that it was embraced as well as it has been.”