Insurance customers tend to be very loyal but typically only purchase one or two products from their insurance agent. In order to grow customer accounts, insurance companies should engage customers in continuity or drip campaigns to stay top-of-mind between purchases. But, when it comes time for a “sales push”, how do you work with your agents and independent agencies to execute a campaign?
Use Your Customer Data as an Agent “Conversation Starter”
For marketers, the challenge is to understand how to leverage existing customer data and use it to identify appropriate targets and to inform the agents of opportunities to either convert customers to higher value products, or to sell additional products.
From a strategic perspective, there are three areas of importance:
Ensuring that your customer data warehouse contains data necessary to identify appropriate targets;
An ability to quickly access customer data; and
An ability to ‘push’ the customer data to your agents (vs. requiring them to log in and locate the data themselves).
With a little up-front planning, your marketing and communications team should be able to develop and execute an email campaign in less than two week’s time. Here’s how:
Identify the Components of a Cross-Sell / Up-Sell “Push” Agent Email
Take a moment to think through the project specifications and the profile of customers that would be good targets for your particular cross-sell / up-sell campaign. List the data elements you will need. At a minimum, these should include:
- Agent First Name
- Agent Last Name
- Agent Email Address
- Customer First Name
- Customer Last Name
- Customer City
- Customer State
- Customer ZIP Code
- Customer Phone Number
Current Policy Information (per Customer)
- Policy Type
- Number of Years into the policy
- Face Amount
Once you have outlined the data you want to push to your agents, the next step is to mock up a “designed email”, leaving placeholders for the data elements outlined above.
At this point in the planning stage, the goal is create a simple picture of an email. Below is an example mock-up email for a life insurance term conversion campaign (blue text is personalized, variable data):
With an outline of the required data and a picture of the message, you are ready to talk with your information and design teams to create an action plan for execution.
Scrub Data to Send a Professional Message
If possible, ask your programming team to obtain a test list of your desired data. Be on the lookout for common data inconsistencies that should be corrected beforehand to make your email as professional as possible.
Common “dirty data” issues include:
- Data is all upper case or a combination of upper and lower case
- Telephone numbers do not contain hyphens
- States are a combination of two- and four-letter abbreviations or spelled out completely
- The street address for two people in the same household was entered differently (i.e, Main Street vs Main St)
- In a perfect world, your data will be tidy and you can easily work with your programming and design team to build a test email. The personalized approach described here may require some scripting in order to provide each agent with his own list of customers (sometimes referred to as AMP script).
In the real world, however, you’ll likely find that you have data issues and/or gaps in the programming and design skills needed for a successful execution. In that case, consider partnering with a marketing communications expert. Today, marketing service providers provide data management services and a wide range of tactical marketing support services to help you execute your marketing initiatives.
Consider a Marketing Resource Management System
To streamline this engagement process further and effectively coordinate the overall campaign, consider utilizing a Marketing Resource Management System. Although a new system implementation can sound overwhelming, that is not necessarily the case with MRM. Web-based MRM software is available that can be implemented fairly quickly with minimal involvement of strained IT resources.
MRM systems make it easier for independent agencies to participate in corporate marketing campaigns by:
- Automating email exchanges between corporate marketing and agents during the campaign enrollment process.
- Enabling agents to localize, personalize or add appropriate cultural cues to customer communications. Modifications can then be easily reviewed and approved by corporate marketing – ensuring brand and regulatory compliance.
- Enabling signatures of agents, their picture and contact info to be easily included on customer communications
- Enabling corporate marketing to track the campaign progress, manage costs and measure results.
The partnership between insurance companies and their agents is based on mutual benefit. By effectively engaging agents in marketing campaigns, insurance companies have the opportunity to grow premiums written while also generating business for agents. How do you coordinate marketing efforts with agents?