Posts Tagged ‘producers’
Thank you to everyone who attended my webinar yesterday on the impact social media is having on insurance marketing. If you missed the live webinar but you’d still like to download a copy of the slides and/or recording, click here.
Listeners asked a good number of thought-provoking, intelligent questions so I’ve answered them below. Please, if you think of any further questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.comperemedia.com.
Where is Allstate in the flow of Social Media?
Allstate has developed its presence as well. I chose to focus on State Farm because they captured my attention with their focus on both the young and Spanish-speaking markets. Allstate actually has more followers than State Farm on their Facebook page. And Allstate is doing a good job of placing information on their page to keep followers informed about hurricane Alex.
Are social media comments posted by the public on insurer websites considered to be advertisements by insurance regulators? If the answer is yes, does it apply to all posted content or just the ones that the company might use in its advertisements?
Good question. Since social media is generally an open forum when someone says they think a product is great, it’s somewhat out of the control of the company. Yet these comments could be considered testimonials and should be restricted. I’m not aware of any rules on this. At this point I think most companies are being cautious by monitoring what is posted and may be taking down comments that are too specific.
How do companies define and manage the risks associated with SM? Most employees don’t attempt to do direct mail, for example, but many of us are on SM.
Companies are starting to develop guidelines for the use of social media. The basic rule of thumb right now is to “act professionally.” You are right, once an employee puts the company on their Facebook or Linkedin page, they will be viewed as a representative of the company and that could present problems. So they should be reminded that they should not do anything that they would not do in a presentation to clients.
Do you feel the Humana independent social media development is a good idea?
It’s a way for them to control who has access to their content. It could have the same familiarity as traditional social media tools. A drawback to limiting access is the loss of exposure to potential new clients.
Do you see social media connecting toward business offers just like direct mail does? Or avoiding “to much” of a business approach?
For now I recommend avoiding a direct sales pitch as the best approach on social media. The use of social media is still primarily entertainment and keeping connected with friends and family. But behaviors change. As the use of social media tools become more sophisticated, consumers may become more accepting of a sales message.
What tracking matrices do you see happening or being particularly effective?
The number of unique visitors, where they come from, how long they stay, and certainly if they request a quote are all important stats to capture.
How are SM efforts well suited to “going green” vs. DM?
Unless someone is printing all of the posts they write and receive, and assuming that people properly dispose of old devices, there is no doubt that social media lowers the carbon footprint of marketing.
How is State Farm leveraging Social Media at the agency level? How can they control the content from their exclusive agency force?
I see a lot of State Farm agents with their own URL listed on the direct mail piece. I’ve noticed that State Farm agents are often part of community boards and volunteer efforts. I think these same skills are easily transferred to social media behavior
How can an insurance company that markets through a business/association entity use social media?
You can help support the business/association by providing content to support their efforts to create a presence through social media tools. If the insurance company wants to maintain a behind the scenes role the best thing it can do is help make their representatives as relevant as possible. You should do all you can to help build up the social media reputation of your producers to get noticed on the internet. The best way to do this is to feed them fresh and interesting content for them to post on their site.
When do you expect Health Care reform to impact DM volumes? Early 2011 or yet this year?
I definitely think a change is going to happen this year. Medicare is going to change the mailing cycle around enrollment. But for individual health policies, I don’t think there is going to be a major change this year or next.
How costly is it to “develop your own tools”?
Developed tools can vary from an iPhone app to an entire new internet presence. The costs can range from what is required to customize a vendor’s standard product to ground up development. There is also the consideration of maintaining the new tools with current staff, additional staff or outsourcing.
Could anyone explain any best practices observed in types of direct mail (postcards, letters) and what would be a good way to using this channel in order to direct traffic to social media?
There is an easy first step. Put the fact that you have these tools available and how to get to them on the direct mail piece. I’m still surprised how seldom this information is printed on the mail piece. I think direct mail is going to remain very important, but it can also be used to drive consumers to a website and social media tools. Make the information in the mail interesting, something the recipient may want to hold onto. Not too much detail is needed. Let the details become something the consumer will be curious about and a reason they will want to visit your Facebook page or website. And if you can, incorporate some type of participation. If they can vote for a charity or personally get involved, they may spread it around to their friends.
How do you guys see companies best using Twitter?
This is why I liked the example of New York Life tweeting about the Big East Conference. This is a way of creating an event—something for people to participate in that gets them to associate your brand with an event they will remember.
Thank you to everyone who attended my webinar on February 25, 2010 about the future of insurance communication and marketing. I hope you found the information useful and relevant to your business, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or comments.
If you missed the live webinar but would like to view the slides or a recorded version of the presentation, click here.
We received many interesting and thought-provoking questions, which I’d like to answer here for you:
Do you think advertising iPhone apps in direct mail would be useful?
Absolutely! I think advertising apps in direct mail, in print ads, on websites and on TV is the best way to market them. The key is to get people connected. Why build an app and just hope people will find it? Make them find it. Then, after people check out an app once, marketers should give them reasons to check back. Use online events, announcements, advice, anything that you can to grow the bond between your market, your brand and your customers.
How should a company respond to criticisms of its products or service that it finds on a social media website?
First, don’t be defensive. Find a positive way to frame the situation. Accept what is being said, then start to manage the issue. Most customer complaints come from the frustration of a customer feeling he or she is not being heard. A response directly to the customer is often a surprise, going above expectations. This can mellow a situation quickly and often favorably change the customer’s opinion.
You mentioned high unemployment rate leading to consumers seeking their own insurance. Which companies are targeting consumers best? Aetna?
Aetna is a good company. So are the Blues, United Healthcare, Wellpoint, Humana and Kaiser Permanente, to name just the ones that come immediately to mind. It is difficult to target the unemployed. Most companies use aggregators who email people comparisons of health insurance rates. Insurers are also putting more information on their websites to educate consumers on how to make a choice.
Why do you think auto insurance mailings were down? Are other channels more attractive?
I don’t think this was a trade-off from one channel to another. With the economy weighing down on marketing budgets, cost control could have played a role in the slight decrease in direct mail. Given that life and health insurance mail increased, I feel confident insurers will continue to use direct mail as a primary marketing medium.
Can you shed some light pertaining to health insurance. What are the recent trends? Are consumer driven products here to stay?
With healthcare reform still up in the air, it’s difficult to determine where individual health policies are going. For instance, I’ve heard health savings accounts discussed as nearly extinct, but I’ve also heard them talked about as an integral part of healthcare reform. The future is still unclear.
What is happening now is that health insurers are finding more individuals looking for policies for the first time. These are people who don’t know how to shop for health insurance, so they need to be educated about their choices and how to evaluate their own needs. This is an opportunity for companies to become trusted advisors.
How would you recommend companies start using social media to communicate? Which network is most important if you only have the resource to do one?
If I had to choose one, it would be Facebook, because it is the largest. And I would not be afraid of the size. Social media is still a developing environment, it is better to get in and learn how it works and its advantages now with everyone else. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself behind the curve trying to catch up.
Direct mail was still important in 2009, but what do you see looking 5 years out?
Direct mail will be important for how insurers market products for a long time. Life and health insurance direct mail has increased since 2008. While there was a small decrease in P&C, auto and homeowners mail in 2009, this was more likely due to budget constraints than to a long-term change in strategy.
What I would like to see is an increased use of mail to build a brand, to become more integrated with other marketing channels. It can be so much more than price promotions.
We’re hosting a free webinar today on the future of insurance marketing communication. You can register by clicking here.
The current economic slump, mixed with new technologies evolving in the world of social media, has caused drastic changes in the way insurance companies choose to communicate with their consumers. People are conscious about saving time and money—now more than ever—and insurance companies are faced with the challenge of how best to reach prospects and clients and how best to position their messages in this ever-changing era of new media.
In this webinar, we will discuss:
– The current state of insurance communication and messaging
– Social media outlets that can be used for insurance communication
– How people perceive insurance and their growing need for education
– How insurance providers can use emerging technologies to connect with customers
We had a successful webinar yesterday; thanks to all who attended! Sorry about the sound difficulties at the beginning of the webinar.
Those of you who tuned in submitted tons of great questions about our financial services trend forecasts for this coming year. I’m crafting answers today and this weekend, so I hope to have them up on the blog by Monday. Please of course, feel free to use the comments field here if you’d like to submit more questions about our predictions.
In the meantime, Mintel Comperemedia’s fabulous marketing team has created a link to the webinar recording. You can either listen to it again (or for the first time if you missed it yesterday!) or you can download the slides to peruse at your own leisure. Click here to do so.
Tags: banks, checking accounts, Credit Cards, Direct Mail, direct marketing, economy, Email, email marketing, Financial Services, Insurance, Investment, mortgage & loan, Print, print advertising, producers, Technology, telecommunications
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