In 2002, the West Virginia Housing Development Fund expanded its home mortgage program. The new program was not restricted to first-time buyers and had no income restrictions. Prior to this program the WVHDF guaranteed loans to first time buyers only and income restrictions and other factors limited eligibility strictly to low-income clients.
The WVHDF found themselves challenged to serve a much broader demographic than ever before; thus a new advertising program targeting a mid to high income audience was needed. Since the program was new and represented an unprecedented opportunity for homebuyers, the task of responding to the great volumes of requests for information (generated by the advertising) in a timely and courteous manner was expected to overwhelm the internal response systems of the WVHDF.
Image Associates named the new program “Home Delivery” and produced television, radio and print ads designed to target homebuyers aged 18 – 54 with incomes above $60,000. This targeted approach and key visual and audio cues contained in the TV spots were intended to overcome existing perceptions that the WVHDF serves only low-income clients. IA developed a video information packet to answer the most commonly asked customer questions and secured a toll-free telephone number and the services of an Inbound Telemarketing firm to respond to the anticipated call volume. The methodology was seamless to the respondent and ensured timely and courteous call response with no busy signals or hold time.
Over the initial 8-week advertising effort, total requests for information reached 337 per week. Requests continued for 11 weeks after advertising had ceased — averaging 15 requests per week, then response rates dropped to pre-campaign levels of 4 to 5 requests per week. At the suggestion of the WVHDF, Image Associates met with housing fund representatives in Kentucky and Virginia who agreed to form a cooperative advertising group. The first “multistate” campaign worked so well, all three states agreed to participate in a second cooperative TV spot air flight.