With their massive ad budgets, personal lines insurers can beat their names into our heads -- yes, yes, Flo, I get it. But what are agencies supposed to do? How can they put themselves in front of the right customer at the right time with the right product, in a way that piques the interest of that customer?
I asked Joel Zwicker, industry evangelist at Agency Revolution, which helps agencies with their marketing. Although I'm sure he'd be more than happy to help you spend a massive budget, he had two much simpler and less expensive ideas about how to market more effectively.
For one, Zwicker says in our interview that agencies don't focus enough on renewal customers. He says there is so much cachet associated with bringing in new customers, that agents don't spend enough time on the massive numbers of leads that they have for additional business with existing customers. He says many agents worry they'll bother those customers by asking for more business but dismisses that worry out of hand and offers an easy way to broach the topic: Ask customers to assign you a Net Promoter Score -- then follow up with the fans.
For another, Zwicker says agencies need to focus more on niches so they can develop and demonstrate the sort of deep expertise that will draw clients. He says agencies often understand the need for a niche but don't go deep enough. For instance, he says, "Some people focus on contractors, but that’s a broad area. Specifically, do you do roofing contractors? Okay, let’s go deeper. Just commercial asphalt, or are we talking about hot tar?"
He says niches don't all need to focus on the product, either. For example, he cites agencies that provide a particular type of experience -- perhaps giving wealthier customers the sort of private-client experience that they get from their financial advisers, or arranging for all touchpoints with the customer to be digital.
Zwicker's approach to marketing won't get you all the attention that Flo does, but you won't have to spend billions of dollars, either. And you won't annoy me the way she does.
P.S. Here are the six articles I'd like to highlight for agents and brokers:
New business opportunities are difficult to come by. So why don't producers properly prepare and practice for those oh-so-valuable prospect meetings?
Auto insurers should expect higher claims costs in the second half and longer wait times for damaged vehicles to be repaired and returned to their owners.
Insurers and accountants have similar concerns on behalf of clients, so the more agents and CPAs collaborate, the better.
Agencies are highly motivated to use technology to track data on existing clients, to retain them. We need this same commitment in the pre-sale process for new clients.
Networks of agencies understand how important it is to provide expert guidance and resources throughout the digital journey.
So why do many companies and advisers in our industry resist digital advances like customer self-service and apps?