The use of client testimonials is a common component in reverse mortgage marketing materials, websites and advertisements. American Advisors Group (AAG) has taken the concept to a new level with the release of a testimonial booklet, In Their Own Words.
The approach indicates an evolutionary step in the marketing of reverse mortgages. Rather than the common explanations of what a reverse mortgage is, or myths and misconceptions, the booklet aims to address these topics by relating them in terms of how clients' portrayed their experience and the impact of the reverse mortgage on their lives.
"We felt that it was very important to highlight these stories, particularly, to show our potential customers the wide variety of uses for a reverse mortgage," said Teague McGrath, Marketing Director for AAG. "It also helps dispel some of the misconceptions about a reverse. There is no doubt that a real customer writing to us and telling us how a reverse mortgage has changed their life is more powerful than any advertising message."
Seeking to capitalize on market research that highlights the positive impact of testimonials on consumer response, AAG expects the booklet to be an integral component of their marketing messaging.
The booklet opens with a message from company spokesperson, Fred Thompson stating, "“It warms my heart to read these stories and hear how AAG has given them financial independence and the life they’ve always dreamed of in retirement”
From there, it quotes a series of letters from clients and family members of clients talking about their experience. Obviously, a key aspect of the comments is to promote the services of AAG, but intertwined in letters is the variety of ways that the reverse mortgage product has impacted seniors lives.
As an example, one client is quoted, "It has been 3 months and now I have peace of mind knowing that the money is here when I need it. I was able to pay down my credit card debt, get my car repaired, and make home improvements around the house."
This approach to portraying the direct impact of the product on consumers lives suggests that the industry is finally moving beyond the need to educate the marketplace about what a reverse mortgage is and how a borrower qualifies. It suggests that product awareness is beginning to reach a level where what the product can do becomes a more important message than what the product is. Although, this doesn't necessarily mean the end of traditional messaging, it just becomes more complementary.
"This doesn’t replace the educational DVD and brochure but will be used to supplement the education process," McGrath said. "We will be using this marketing piece as additional educational material to provide to our customers. It has already proved successful and AAG plans to expand this effort in the coming months."