Financial companies with field offices usually offer funding to their sales forces to offset the cost of local advertising. A 2002 MarketScan Report from LIMRA International (formerly the Life Insurance and Market Research Association) on “Field Advertising Programs” revealed that twelve of the fifteen insurance companies that responded to the survey offered corporately subsidized local advertising programs for the sales force. The objectives of the advertising programs varied, but most focused on building prospects’ awareness of the local office.
The study also produced other information:
Ten of the fifteen companies offered co-op advertising. This allowed the salesperson to share the cost of the advertising 50/50 with headquarters.
All twelve companies made preapproved ads available either via the Internet or hard copy from headquarters. All ads could be personalized with copy and/or photos.
Ten companies offered programs that allowed salespeople to create their own ads as long as company guidelines were followed.
Ads were available for a variety of media, including newspapers, magazines, radio, cable TV, bulletins, and Yellow Pages.
Five companies monitored their programs for incorrect or non approved usage. Violators faced a reduction in funding or termination.
Overall, the companies reported that approximately half of their salespeople or field offices participated in the programs.
There is an apocryphal quote, sometimes attributed to department store magnate and innovator John Wanamaker (1838–1922), to the effect that “I know half my advertising is wasted, but I don’t know which half.” With senior management demanding greater accountability for marketing return on investment, marketers are increasingly turning to measurable promotional channels, including direct mail, online, and relationship marketing efforts. Still, it is unlikely that traditional media advertising will disappear anytime soon. Although financial services companies are, individually, not among the top media advertisers, the industry as a whole ranks sixth among the top ten categories of advertising, spending $4.7 billion in 2002.16
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