A seasoned mortgage broker has hit upon a better way for CAAMP to market the AMP to Canadians, asking the association to transfer responsibility for promoting the designation to AMPs themselves and, more importantly, to pay them.
“I think the best way for CAAMP to promote the AMP designation with its small advertising budget is to reward individual AMPs for writing articles on mortgage matters and getting published,” Greg Stanley, head of Home n Work Mortgages in Victoria, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “They would also be rewarded when they give public or trade talks to groups of 75 or more, or go on radio or television programs that put the AMP designation in front of the public.”
The suggestion would effectively see CAAMP follow the lead of several other professional organizations, representing memberships both in- and out-side financial services. They underwrite, if not directly pay members for, any academic or professional writing that elevates the stature of their respective certifications. They also sponsor presentations to community and professional groups outside of their own memberships. Many relied on the strategy in the early days of their development, when advertising budgets were simply too meagre to get the job done.
Stanley’s plan would leverage CAAMP’s own modest advertising budget by putting cash rewards in the hands of AMPs whose ambassadorial work gets their designation out before the public.
“The reward could be small, a token amount like a $50 gift coupon, with a letter of thanks, for example, from CAAMP Chair Joe Pinheiro,” the broker head, also one of the industry’s few CFPs, said. “The AMP name recognition will build faster when a broker takes 'ownership' of the designation, promotes it and is recognized by his or her peers with doing so.”
Only 17 per cent of consumers from across the country recognize the AMP designation, according to a recent Maritz survey commissioned by CAAMP. That’s considerably less than the 50 per cent of respondents who’d heard of the CFP. It, too, relied on the same kind of grassroots marketing campaign Stanley is now asking CAAMP to embrace.
His suggestion comes as brokers air concerns about the designation and CAAMP efforts to elevate its profile among consumers.
Of the $641,830 in AMP dues collected for the year ended April 30, 2011, $607,269, or 94.6 per cent, was spent on advertising. In April, the association readied to launch the largest AMP radio campaign in its history. That commercial aired on English and French stations across the country for six weeks. AMP print ads began running in late March with additional ads appearing in special Mortgage sections of local and national newspapers in April.
Still, “the reality is that that is still a pretty small sum in terms of promoting the AMP nationally,” said CAAMP Chair Pinheiro, at the same time pointing to the AMP awards, which recognize the efforts of both individuals and organizations to promote the designation.
Any move to adopt Stanley’s suggestion, however, could increase CAAMP`s bang for the buck, said another B.C. broker.
“I think it would be a wonderful strategy because what they’re doing now isn’t working,” Dave Lytton, with Dominion Lending Centres White House Mortgages, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca, suggesting as little as five per cent of consumers in his Kelowna home market are familiar with the brand. “Maybe CAAMP is doing a good job in Toronto, but here that hasn’t translated into extra business. I’ve known dozens of brokers who’ve carried the designation and all say that it hasn’t brought them any business in and of itself.”
CAAMP President & CEO Jim Murphy, in fact, welcomes suggestions that would encourage brokers to take a more active role in growing awareness around the designation.
“Our research shows that where consumers hear about the AMP the most is from the AMP themselves – those that tell the borrower what the AMP is about and why they got it,” he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “CAAMP encourages all AMPs to use the designation in their local markets. We are open to reviewing plans that place the AMP front and centre.”
Stanley has embraced that role for years. The broker/CFP recently returned from Las Vegas where he spoke to 278 Canadian financial planners at a national advisor conference. He said his suggestion has the potential to further amplify that public relations work.
“Imagine 1,000 AMPs all trying to promote the AMP branding, getting recognized by their peers for doing so,” he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “The brand will get noticed faster and for a much lower cost than general advertising.”