Don’t believe everything you find and read on the internet. We’ve all heard that before, right? How many times have we searched certain short tail or long tail keyword phrases just to find answers to questions or concerns that make no sense? I recently searched on these phrases and was shocked what I found when searching “insurance marketing 101” and “101 Insurance Marketing” Ideas? The results were, well some good and some really bad.
Imagine dealing with an outside marketing firm or consultant that shared with you that a budget doesn’t matter or you don’t need to involve your accounting department when strategizing to build a marketing plan. In my opinion, that’s a red flag and might be a warning that the firm offering this advice is out for the almighty sale or dollar. In this case, I would suggest buyer beware.
So what’s the true definition or guideline to creating an insurance marketing plan and why does a budget and the accounting department matter?
What Is An Insurance Marketing Plan?
“A marketing plan is a comprehensive document or blueprint that outlines a company’s advertising and marketing efforts for the coming year. It describes business activities involved in accomplishing specific marketing objectives within a set time frame.”
When creating and defining an insurance marketing plan I would involve or at least get buy-in from the following staff or departments within your agency or MGA. At the end of the day, the one with the gold will hand out the golden rule so don’t shortcut the process and involve these department heads. The last thing you want to do is disrupt your EBITA or margins by throwing mud against the wall. These departments will play a role of who will be responsible for follow up on the leads generated from the marketing plan, what’s the average sale in terms of revenue and or premium, fewer expenses. What’s the retention on the type of accounts that the marketing message is be targeting to? These departments are vital as they know when a good time to start a new insurance marketing plan based on current and upcoming budgets. And the one key piece of information this department has which you’ll need to know is who the competition is:
C-level – CEO, President
Commercial Lines – New Business Development Manager
Accounting – Chief Financial Officer
Also for what it’s worth, the most successful clients we work with involve the following staff and departments at the insurance carrier level:
C- level – Regional Vice President or President
Underwriting – Underwriting of New and Renewal Business
Field Representative – Account Executive
Is A Marketing Plan Necessary?
Okay, so why all the staff and departments just to build an insurance marketing plan? Well, let’s think this through and use “commercial lines new business” as our main need since that seems to be the hot-button out there in today’s marketplace. A marketing plan is good for focusing your strength towards the appropriate actions that will deliver on what you want to achieve. The idea of creating one is to understand your customers buying habits and take action towards delivering your product or service to them. The most successful agencies and MGAs know what’s in there geographical areas that they’re attempting attract new clients in. In addition, these firms approach each carrier they have appointments with and interview each one.
The objective is to see who the best one is to partner with based the underwriting appetite for the class, size and geography of the businesses they want to target. Meeting face to face with the underwriting staff will carry weight if you can make this happen. It will provide you with a sense of the underwriters’ knowledge of the businesses and geography you’re targeting and if he or she is local to the area or a transplant that carrier moved into this position. Remember the field representative is pushing for more premiums all the time, but if you have a well thought out plan and are all in alignment the relationship will go smooth from the top down and from the bottom up. The declination rate will be lower and the bound business will rise.
Three Helpful Guideline Rules To Follow:
A completion date
A deadline you set in advance for when you want to complete your first draft of the plan. It’s important to remember that establishing an effective plan can be an ongoing process. You can count on your plan changing.
The responsible parties
Establish your team’s roles and responsibility. In other words, make sure you identify who is doing what and when they need it completed. Who will handle the research with carrier staff, develop business lists, design and write email drip letters, outbound calling, direct mail, appointment setting, client relational management software, recruiting, hiring and managing of new staff needed for the marketing plan?
When it comes to putting together a marketing strategy, it’s critical to establish ahead of time how much do you have to spend, as that can have a major impact on the strategies you decide to execute or invest in. Projected x-date’s/leads, appointments, submissions, declinations, and sales or bound business.
At the end of the day if you can follow the road map we just discussed you’re in for a great year of new business. A sales plan much like a marketing plan is a strategy that sets out sales targets and tactics for your business, and identifies the steps you will take to meet your goals. Marketing and sales plans will help define a set of goals and targets for your agency. Choose marketing strategies that are suited to your target market and the sales goals will follow. Remember old ways won’t open new doors.