Today’s insurance agency marketing is more complicated than ever. Just 20 years ago agencies used mainly direct mail marketing and canvassing. They may have tried seminars, tradeshows, and, for the most innovative, eMarketing. Today, direct mail marketing, canvassing, and fax marketing are all in decline. Close behind is telesales which is clearly at the end of its long career. Agents are constantly challenged to keep up with the latest Web 2.0 developments in insurance agency eMarketing and webinars, SEO, and increasingly Social Media Marketing.
How can brokers and agencies create a winning strategy in such a challenging environment? To achieve their insurance marketing goals many agencies are working with outsource providers rather than increasing staff and overhead. Outsourcing does not necessarily mean offshore outsourcing. Some insurance marketing agencies are localized. Let’s look at some of the possible advantages of outsourcing over internal hiring for web marketing agencies.
• A ‘marketing Jack of all trades’ no longer exists. It was possible for an agency to have one or two people who could handle all marketing tasks. The plethora technology options available today has made it possible to have highly specialized skills. A single person may not have deep knowledge in more that a few areas.
• There is no such thing as ‘One size fits all’. It is no longer possible for someone to say that a marketing program includes A, B, or C. Different target markets, product niches and executive targets require different approaches. Marketing techniques that work in one area might not work in another.
• Time is at a premium. The workplace is becoming more complex and employees are wearing many ‘hats’. It is extremely unlikely that employees at agencies have the time and resources to practice new web-based marketing techniques. You can only imagine the difficulties of eMarketing for insurance agencies. Understanding Bayesian filtering, CAN-SPAM, accidental rush words and multipart mime are just a few of the many specializations required.
• Outsourcing can offer leverage. It can often be more economical to outsource certain functions rather than having them performed in-house. For example, a Marketing department in your house might be an example. This might be a Marketing Director with three employees in a $10M agency. These 4 employees can easily earn $200k in annual salaries. The true cost could be as high as $400k if you add in benefits, equipment and training costs. You can outsource any or all of these marketing services for 25% less. For smaller agencies, which cannot afford a full-time director of marketing, the same model may work. An outsource time slot might be available for 25% of the cost of a full-time marketing director.
• Partnering with an outsourced marketing firm can allow agents to leverage years of expertise and experience that is unlikely to exist in house. Insurance agents are skilled in a small number of coverage areas. They also know the niches well. Niches might include trucking, contracting, benefits, oil & gas, etc. A similar approach is used by an outsourced insurance agency that specializes in insurance marketing, such as Social Media Marketing, web design, SEO, eMarketing and webinars.
The only constant is evolution, which is faster than ever. It is essential that insurance agencies create web marketing plans for their agency and adopt new Web 2.0 strategies to keep up with the latest trends. Insurance agencies must keep up with the rapid advancements, regardless of whether they are outsourced or in-house. These are the questions to ask if an agency is considering outsourcing.
- Can the outsourcing firm offer extensive insurance agency marketing experience
- Which Web 2.0 areas is their speciality?
- They can provide examples of work completed and campaigns that have been successful.
- Are there any references that are credible?
- Do they use the same tools and services that they recommend to you at your agency?
Web marketing for insurance agencies, insurance social media marketing and blogging should be standard in every organization. These changes are now imperative for any organization that has not yet embraced them. Failure to grasp this new marketing paradigm could lead to agencies being out of touch with their market and possibly losing competitive advantage.