3 Imaginative Approaches to Agency Marketing in the Entertainment Age

By | August 16, 2010

GEICO, State Farm, Progressive, e-surance and other major insurance marketers currently employ humor in their advertising. There’s GEICO’s prolonged use of the gecko, State Farm’s whyagent.com Web site, Progressive’s Flo and e-surance play acting some fictional internal friction.

Today’s attitude in advertising is entertain customers or lose them. This is not just applicable to national marketers with multi-million dollar budgets. Imaginative promotions are important to local agencies as well. Classic independent agency marketing featured the firm’s name, address, phone, a logo and maybe a few pictures along with a tepid tagline such as “All Forms of Insurance.” If your promos resemble your business card too closely, then it’s time to get inventive.

Here are three imaginative approaches from Agency Ideas newsletter to help get you thinking:

1. Fun Quizzes

“Quizzes” of this sort employ humor to generate attention. Their multiple-choices include four possible answers to a basic insurance question. Two answers are funny. One is plausible but wrong. The other is correct. Here’s a jewelry floater example:

You lost one of your diamond earrings. Will your insurance company pay you enough to buy another pair or replace it with an identical earring?

A. Neither. You’ll just have to cut off one ear like Van Gogh did.

B. Either one. But only if you promise to attach your earrings with super glue so that you’ll never lose one again.

C. Neither. The company won’t pay unless you lost both. That’s what “double indemnity” is all about.

D. Either one. The insurance company can settle your claim with cash or replacement according to the policy.

Call or e-mail Ernest Agent for the correct answer.

2. Imaginary Conversations

Write down your main selling points about a particular policy or endorsement as if you were actually presenting them, in person or over the phone, to a potential buyer. Include their imagined responses to each point that you present. Then put it all together in an imaginary transcript that appears as if you were actually conversing with the other person. Here’s the beginning of one about flood insurance.

Ernest Agent at XYZ Insurance Agency: Did you realize that your homeowners policy provides zero protection for your house and its contents when a flood causes damage?

Homeowner: Really? I thought that my insurance covered me for floods.

Ernest: No homeowners policy covers damage caused by flood. You need a special policy to protect your house and belongings. And since your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, you’re eligible to purchase this coverage.

Homeowner: Why should I buy a policy now? Can’t I just order one when the weather turns wild?

[Continue this imaginary Q&A and conclude it by suggesting that the homeowner contact your office.]

3. Fictional Insurance Advice Column

Most daily newspapers contain serious advice columns. You can do something similar about insurance, without the un-fun serious part. Instead of a real Q&A, output a series of distinctive and entertaining promotional “advice columns” that unabashedly tout you and your agency. Build in outlandish questions and situations; ones that parody those found in the papers.

Promote What You Create

No matter how entertaining your promotions are, they are valueless unless they are seen by viable prospects. So, get noticed by posting your creations on your Web site and blog, on your agency’s Facebook page, and tweet links to them on Twitter. Also use them as the core of an entertaining radio ad script or video and run them in your local paper as inserts or ads. You can even format them as restaurant place mats, giving you a captive audience.

Shulman, CPCU, is the publisher of Agency Ideas, a subscription-only sales and marketing newsletter. He is also the author of the many tools posted on the Agency Ideas Instant Download Store. Phone: 800-724-1435. E-mail: alan@agencyideas.com. Web site: www.agencyideas.com.

About Alan L. Shulman

Alan Shulman, CPCU, is the publisher of Agency Ideas® sales and marketing newsletter (free basic subscription at www.agencyideas.com/join). He is also the author of “500 Sales Ideas for Commercial Lines Producers” among many other P&C sales resources. Email: alan@agencyideas.com. Website: www.agencyideas.com. More from Alan L. Shulman

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