How insurance marketing can steal market share
Insurance marketing presents a case study in aged thinking with the primary motivator remaining the unique selling proposition. Or the primary goal is simply awareness. Everywhere you look you see similar messaging and trite gags.
Do you need a duck, dull people in white or a spokesperson in a tweed vest to be successful?
Is that all there is to success in insurance marketing and advertising? Are the only key elements a pneumonic trick and a promise of savings? You know the routine. “15 minutes will save you…”
It is smart to look for cues in category success. Success leaves clues. But the insurance industry is looking at the wrong main character in the play. The real magic is not on stage. It dwells behind the scene. It’s found in strategy, not execution.
Today’s insurance marketing: Spend baby spend
Lots of cash hides many flaws. There is a correlation right now in the insurance industry between advertising spend and market share. But it is not due to smart marketing. The correlation exists because everyone thinks the answer is to spend more money.
The problem is that no one executes a REAL idea. They spend on nonsense. And in a world of tomfoolery — biggest spender wins. Insurance marketing is as relevant as the Doubletree Twins. Actually, they were more relevant. At least chewing gum was a spontaneous purchase made at checkout. An afterthought.
Insurance is a planned purchase. And aside from legal requirements for auto and home, many consider insurance discretionary. The only truth in insurance advertising is Esurance spokesperson Dennis Quaid saying, “Nobody wants to hear an insurance commercial.”
Sadly, that’s as good as it gets in this industry. A salute to the idea that we are all tired of insurance marketing.
What is the secret to preference?
It’s not a secret at all. Be important and be different.
Different is easier. Insurance companies would be foolish to copy the GEICO gecko. Right? Wrong. Everyone gets in line and copies. In form, there is no difference between the gecko and Flo. Although one of them is ageless and not filmed through gauze. There is no difference between the gecko and a duck.
The idea is the same. Let’s repeat a symbol over and over until it’s recalled. The problem with repetition is it breeds contempt. There is no means to escape over-saturation. Except a focus on importance.
The antidote to schmaltz and mindless numbness is importance. Be important. Be relevant, and be real.
Relevance is not about you
To be relevant, insurance brands need to get out of their own way. Who cares if YOU have seen a thing or two? Who cares if YOU have an emu as a spokes-bird?
Relevance arises when you represent the prospect you must interest. They don’t care about YOU. But they very much care about themselves. Insurance marketing can be relevant when it reflects the motivational belief systems of the prospect.
Persuasive brands never talk about themselves. They become a reflection of the customer they wish to influence. The idea here is to understand the fabric of your prospect in minute detail. Then, weave the brand with the same fabric. Make your insurance marketing about the prospect and not about YOU.
There are some half-witted attempts at this. When the workout junkie says he customizes everything (his calves as well as his insurance), we are supposed to see ourselves on that bike. But who of us wants to see ourselves as a jackass?
Great marketing can entertain. But it should never make fun of the person it seeks to influence. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be Flo and I certainly don’t want to be Jamie.
All of this is clever. And CLEVER is never persuasive. The reason is that it is not seen as real. Cleverness breaks the fourth wall. It reminds us that we are watching something. Because we GET IT, we don’t ever really get it. It is self-reflective but in all the wrong ways. Cleverness speaks as advertising and not persuasion.
If all you need for preference is top-of-mind awareness— good for you.
But when someone wakes up, it’s game over.
The new age of social media offers the opportunity to be highly specialized and nuanced in your insurance marketing. But if you don’t understand anything about the prospect aside from trite generalizations and demographics, you have nothing to offer them.
You have the ability to be important in social media precisely because you can target ideas, and ideas are the product of belief systems. If you can understand them.
What is the solution?
Sorry, there are no pat answers. Every insurance brand is different. For that reason, Stealing Share ALWAYS fields projectable market research as part of the strategic development. We are not talking about focus groups or self-selecting clinician satisfaction studies. The afore mentioned are not projectable to the community.
We field double-blinded projectable market research that lays bare the needs and wants of the physical and EMOTIONAL triggers.
We build your messaging to customers, agents and prospects on that research. Our process has effectively repositioned many insurance brands. Coverys, ProAssurance and American Fidelity have hired our skills at persuasion, rebranding and messaging. They are not the ineffective norm anymore when it comes to insurance marketing.
But it’s not our insurance experience that you should covet. Your current advertising agency claims that. We are not an ad agency.
We are experts in persuasion and ask the right questions. As a result, our small elite firm in Greensboro NC with a small office in NYC have clients all over the globe. Our success speaks volumes.