With the calendar year winding down and most agencies approaching budget season for the 2013 year, the question upon many is “Where do spend our marketing dollars?” If this was 2002 and we were still profiting on the “hard” market, the answer would be simple, throw most of it in print advertising and even some at event sponsorships and there you have it, the formula for a successful marketing campaign. But fast forward ten years later and so much has evolved in the marketing landscape. Today we have so many more options and for most, limited dollars to spend. So where do we spend our marketing dollars?
Let’s start with the choices: you still have your traditional forms of advertising: print, radio, TV and then there’s digital advertising: banner ads, SEM, video and last the eighty pound gorilla in the room, social media.
I always tell my clients whatever you do, make sure you’re diversifying your options. Meaning, don’t throw all your eggs in one basket. I would love to say spend all your money in print or online, but truth be told, I think having a diverse marketing plan is the way to go. Companies have to be savvier today to reach their intended audience. In the insurance industry the average age give or take is 54, so while most people would automatically assume print would be the given choice, you’d be surprise to know most baby boomers have grasped technology. In fact, at a recent conference I went to, I would say 70% of the “baby boomers” all had tablets, most of them being the iPad. It’s funny because most of my friends being of the “generation x” do not own iPad’s, instead we’re quick to pull out our smart phone and access any information we need within seconds while checking our Facebook page and tweeting what we’re having for lunch. So where I’m getting at is, you need to make sure you’re covering all of your basis when it comes to your marketing plan.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am a huge fan of print advertising. Maybe it’s because I’ve been selling print ads since my college days on the school newspaper but for me, I love the fact that you can look at a print ad and most all of the information you need is right there, unless you’re looking at a branding ad which is a whole different story. I recently got my anniversary edition of Vogue in the mail, I kid you not, it was over 916 pages most of which were beautiful ads of fashion designers, purses, shoes, make up, perfume and what not… It was wonderful and I loved looking at all the colorful beautiful ads. In fact, I’ve even marked some pages for styles I want to copy or purses I want on my wish list.
But then what do you think I did after I looked at all my favorite things? I went online to study the products, find out where I can get the best price for it, and of course I then “shared” it with my friends on my Pinterest page and my Facebook page. Do you see how all the different mediums work together?
Now I know insurance is a long way from being sexy, but who says it has to be boring? Think outside the box. Don’t get me wrong, I’m also one to click on banner ads when I’m looking at my favorite site and it’s just there screaming for me to click on it and find out more. What I love about online banners is you can really have fun with it. With rich media you can make your banner ad pop and incorporate some animation with it. I once had a car dealer I worked with want to have a truck driving across the screen before it landed in it’s banner position, that ad got more clicks than we could have imagined. And the beauty of online banner ads, you can track how many people have viewed your ads, and even clicked on it and of course you can have them link straight back to your homepage. And if you’re really trying to target a certain state, for example Texas, you can make sure your ads are only showing up when someone in Texas is online. That’s called geo-targeting and many of my customers love it because it enables them to target certain states and not waste their banner impressions on states they don’t do business in.
Now let’s talk about mobile ads. Unless you’re living under a rock, almost every business newsletter, blog, article, etc. have noted that mobile advertising is on the rise and in some cases even topping desktop display ads. Last month eMarketer reported they expect to see mobile ad spending in the U.S. to reach $2.61 billion this year, of which 33% will go towards banner spending and rich media. Read the report here. Not surprising since everyone including my 9 year old nephew has a smart phone these days. As a society, we’ve come to expect information instantly.
Video is another favorite of mine because in the one year I’ve been in this industry, if there’s anything I’ve learned it’s the fact that there is a lot of information to absorb. They say once you get into insurance you never get out because it’s a good stable industry and if you’re lucky you can make pretty good money. And it must be true because most of my clients have been in the industry for 12 + years. With that being said, with video you can educate your prospects on what your business is about, how you’re different from your competitor all while having a more personal approach. You can even host a webcast on a specific topic and have interested guest register to watch it. How much more targeted can you get? And the beauty of it, you can request name and email info during registration so you can follow up with your prospects. Did you know Insurance Journal has an award winning media team that can even produce your video for you? Check it out: http://www.insurancejournal.tv/videos/7521/
And last, if your company hasn’t embraced social media then you should be. Social media is a great way to reach out to your clients with any updates or announcements you have about your company or to just simply share a funny story, office photo or event details. It’s a very personal approach to letting your customers get to know your company outside of the daily work stuff. Last month, Hubspot wrote a great article on what the future of marketing will look like. Read it here. Again, if you’re not on the social media bandwagon, it’s time!
Think Outside the Box
As I wrap up this very long winded my blog, my advice to you as you start to plan your marketing budget for 2013 is to think outside the box. Try things you’ve never done. If you can afford to, try print and online together, you’ll be pleased to know they work hand in hand and will actually lift your campaign. Give mobile advertising a shot, think about how many times you look at your smart phone or tablet? And that’s not counting the countless hours you’re sitting at the airport waiting on your flight. If you’ve always wanted to do video but thought it was too complicated or pricey, give me a call, you’ll be surprised to know it’s actually very affordable and you’ll be blown away by how professional it looks, not like your something you shot from your iPhone. And last, don’t be afraid of social media, jump on board and let us know where the next happy hour is! Cheers!