ACG - Agency Consulting Group

The PIPELINE

A national monthly newsletter for agency principals dedicated to agency management topic

Re-thinking Your Marketing Approach

We recently completed a strategic planning session for a multi-location agency whose profits were good but whose growth was lagging. When the time came to launch new business objectives and dovetail them with their marketing plans, the agency's owners presented lackadaisical marketing efforts that were similar in most ways to prior years marketing plans. A number of years ago those marketing plans worked well. They were fresh. Agency staff was excited about them. The contacts generated from those marketing plans were new and a great deal of activity occurred as a result of the marketing efforts. However, since the marketing plans had worked, agency management was determined to continue the course and repeat similar marketing programs year after year. After a few years the marketing efforts sagged as did the new business resulting from them. The agency ran short of prospects and simply altered the target markets and left the same marketing programs in tact. The results were dismal.

During our recent strategic planning cycle I asked the managers why they were repeating the same marketing plans even though they had grown stale and were failing to generate the new business necessary for the agency. They responded with a series of excuses including lack of markets, questionable pricing, ill trained employees, etc. I explained that the chinese definition of insanity is to continue to pursue a course that has not worked and expect different results. They did not understand my point. Their compensation levels had risen to comfortable positions and profits had not yet diminished to critical levels. They preferred to do that which was comfortable as opposed to challenging themselves in new directions to regain the levels of success that brought the good compensation and strong profits in the first place.

The lesson to be learned from this agency's experience is that there is no "Magic Marketing Method" that will make your insurance sales soar. No, TELEMARKETING is not THE answer. It is just one tool available to you (that may work well under certain circumstances and poorly under others).

1. Re-analyze the marketing programs that you have in place. Have they worked in the past? Do they continue to yield the desired result in the creation of new prospects and new business? If not, challenge yourself and your staff to change your marketing strategy and perspective. Your goal is to regain a level of excitement and levels of success in your marketing efforts.

2. Start every marketing program at the basics:

A. Is it "shotgun" to attract prospects by image advertising?

B. Is it "rifled" to attract targeted prospects in specific markets?

C. Does the program have a goal, a method to achieve that goal and measurement tools to test the success of the program?

D. Have you budgeted specific cost estimates of the program?

3. Does your staff understand the goal, the methods and the rewards that they and you achieve when the program is successful?

Specific Marketing Plans have goals:

1. Generate New Business

2. Vitalize the sales activity of the agency

3. Excite the employees. Excited employees manage a new business program much more aggressively and successfully than non-motivated employees.

If your present marketing efforts are in a rut, your options are to change to climb out of the rut -- or -- continue to spin your wheels and dig that rut deeper. Just remember, a deep rut is simply a grave that's open on both ends. If you dig yourself deep enough, your competitors will gladly fill in the ends of your rut. If you need help establishing or changing your marketing plans, please call us.