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Marketer of the Year

DRMA Marketer of the Year Spotlight: J.G. Wentworth Returns to Center Stage

8 Apr, 2010 By: Thomas Haire Response


J.G. WentworthIn its October 2009 issue, Response announced and spotlighted the three finalists and winner of the inaugural Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) Marketer of the Year Award. In the November 2009 issue, we began spotlighting the other seven top nominees in a monthly section. This month, we caught up with Ken Murray, chief marketing officer of Bryn Mawr, Pa.-based J.G. Wentworth (and a member of the Response Editorial Advisory Board).

J.G. Wentworth is the United States’ largest purchaser of deferred payments for illiquid financial assets. In the first year after the launch of its DRTV campaign for structured settlement and annuity payment purchases, the company acquired nearly 200,000 new customers. Its award-winning “Opera” campaign drove viewers to call 877-CASH-NOW in droves. Though J.G. Wentworth went through a Chapter 11 re-organization last summer, the company is back on track and re-entering the DR space.

Q: What does it mean to you and your company to be one of the top 10 nominees for the DRMA Marketer of the Year Award?

A: We are very honored to have been nominated for DRMA Marketer of the Year. 2009 was a tumultuous year for most financial services companies, given the ongoing credit crisis and state of the economy. Despite this, we were able to acquire and serve a large number of customers very cost-effectively, and continue to promote the J.G. Wentworth brand.

Q: What was the most significant accomplishment in the past year for your company?

A: This past year was about efficiency for J.G. Wentworth. Through aggressive testing and shifting of marketing spend, we were able to increase our productivity, efficiency and lead quality, all in the face of a very challenging economy.

Q: How did the successful products you had over the past year fit within the overall concept behind your company? Were any of those products so successful that they changed the way you do business? If so, how?

A: We do not have a cornucopia of products and services to offer our customers. Rather, we do a few things extremely well. Our mission has been and always will be to find a financial solution that fits each customer’s needs, and doing so one customer at a time. The extent to which our marketing campaigns resonate with consumers drives the volume and repeat business that we’ve enjoyed.

Q: Why do you think your business responded well during the recent economic downturn?

A: I believe we’ve been successful for three reasons. First, our product is tailored for consumers who need a financial solution. Due to the current economic conditions, we’ve seen demand grow for our products. Second, we’ve tailored our marketing and call center discussions to key in on issues related to consumer needs in this economy. Third, we’ve developed “trigger” messaging strategies to better communicate with customers at the right time.

Q: What is your outlook for the next 12 months? What are the top items in your pipeline?

A: I believe the economy is slowly turning the corner. We’re seeing more and more business partnership opportunities, which should in turn drive growth. For 2010, we’re developing a host of exciting new creative concepts — both offline and online — and continuing to drive efficiency.

Q: What vertical markets do you believe are best equipped to survive current economic issues — and even thrive — in 2010? Why?

A: Pharma is already huge, and it’s only going to get bigger, especially with increased focus and attention from the healthcare debate. As the population continues to age, and new treatments become available, I believe medical solutions will survive and even thrive in any economy.

Q: Does today’s consumer respond better to short-form or long-form DRTV? Which of these two formats are best supported by other media, including online, mobile, print and radio?

A: Our testing shows, time and time again, that long form is more efficient and produces better quality leads. A marketer’s tactical plan, however, should incorporate short form that supports the more successful long form. For example, two 30-second spots that bookend a 60-second spot may very well yield more qualified leads (and hence higher efficiency) than two 60s during the same programming period. If the creative is memorable and executed well, long-form always lives longer in the consumer’s mind, especially if supported in other media. n

Q: What does it mean to you and your company to be one of the top 10 nominees for the DRMA Marketer of the Year Award?

A: I felt very honored to be nominated by my peers in the industry and that Tristar has been able to come up with such great products and be successful with them. I get motivated by watching my peers.

 


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