If I told you that I used to love to check into hotel rooms in strange cities and tear open the yellow pages just to see new insurance ads, you’d either tell me to get a life, a girlfriend, or wake up and realize there aren’t yellow pages in hotel rooms anymore. . .or many other places for that matter.
But there are still many other places we still advertise in this electronic world we live in. First and foremost, our websites, social media pages, community papers, trade magazines, niche publications, video marketing and many other advertising mediums get our messages across, but who wants to be just as boring as the competition?
PEOPLE DON’T READ ANYMORE – THEY LOOK AT PICTURES AND WATCH VIDEOS. HAVE WE BECOME CAVEMEN AGAIN?
Why would any agent in his right mind waste money running ads that make big claims like, “We’ve been in business since my grandfather stole the agency from a degenerate gambler in 1939” when he could dress up in a three-piece-suit, hide underwater in his hot-tub, and on-cue, come springing out of the water asking, “Are You Sick and Tired of Getting Soaked on the High Cost of Car Insurance?” offer thirty seconds of in-your-face reasons to call for protection and savings, and to do it NOW while his phone number and website flash on the screen”. Which ad do you think will make more money?
Or why would an agent waste his hard-earned commission dollars running an ad offering “free quotes” in the weekly paper. First of all, did I fall asleep for the last eight months and GEICO, Progressive and the agent down the street with the bad comb-over all started charging $39.97 for a quote? Why run an ad like that when you could pay two great kids (whose Moms work for your agency) to dress up in costumes: one a pretty blond walking down the street throwing $20 bills around like chicken feed, and the other portraying that infamous green lizard chasing her down the street with a gun stealing her money. Low and behold you come flying out of the nearest phonebooth dressed up like Superman, beat up the gecko, save the blonde, give your pitch, and make the phones go wild? Which ad do you think is more effective (and which one do you think won me a Porsche to use for a year?)
Personality Marketing has been around forever, but is often overlooked for the glitzy, flashy non-working copy some schlep in the compliance department thought wouldn’t make the phones ring too much or make the vice president of a large insurance company quite nervous when he goes online and sees you’ve planted yourself on the steps of the local Catholic church, dressed up like a monk, carrying a red umbrella and talking about religious institution insurance. No, it goes on and on: you use it to nurture your existing clients, get “lost souls” back, get yourself on TV and in the paper through press releases, your email signature, your company’s printed materials, and in the videos you create to promote the charities your agency supports. You can use it in acquisition marketing, niche marketing, marketing to your carriers, new carrier marketing, new producer and CSR recruitment; obviously you’ll tailor your message depending on the intended audience.
Dare to be different. Search online for insurance ads that are different, funny, eye-catching. Do you really think the Gecko or that Bimbo in the white coat have lower rates for everyone, or a better policy? Hell, no they don’t. But their companies employ crafty marketers who use a talking reptile, or the nitwit bimbo. Oh, then there’s Jake, the clean-cut supposedly trustworthy guy you can ring-up at 2:37AM and break his b**ls over all those percentage deductibles his company sold to a trusting and unsuspecting public. Prospects respond to these ads because corporate marketers have created a persona for each of these characters that people relate to. People prefer to buy insurance from other people, not companies. You’re free to search YouTube for some of the ads I recorded back in the days when I was a retail agent: search “John Mason Insurance”. Definitely search for “Vern Fonk Insurance” where my (late) friend Rob Thielke did the best job of making insurance agency ads not funny, but over-the-top hysterical.