Experts share top tips on navigating tougher times
By Jen Frost
Whether you work for an insurer, a managing general agent (MGA) or wholesale broker, or a client-facing distribution business, getting the right message across to current and potential customers and clients can be the key to success. However, when tighter economic times approach, insurance marketing budgets can come under scrutiny. So how do you keep getting the word out there? Insurance Business asked three experienced insurance marketing experts from the Insurance Marketing & Communications Association (IMCA) for their top tips.
The IMCA marketers offered up seven top tips to help you keep your insurance marketing success going under budgetary pressure:
- Get creative about executing your vision
- Make the most of new technologies and low cost or free options
- Track, track, track – measurable results and metrics are a marketer’s friend
- Set expectations and know your priorities
- Communicate with your team
- Make the case for an agile approach
- Be prepared to make tough decisions, but cutting indiscriminately is a mistake
What advice did the IMCA insurance marketers have for making the most of your budget?
Insurance Business asked the IMCA insurance marketing experts: How do marketers make the most of budgets and make their case for continued investment when economic turbulence leads to a tightening of organizational screws?
Charlene Goodwin, vice president, marketing, Admiral Insurance Group and IMCA director (pictured below)
“Being able to demonstrate an ROI or how you’ve successfully exceeded goals with a particular tactic in the past may help you prioritize where you want to focus your efforts.”
“If you can lead with the quantitative data, you’ll be in a much better position when asking for continued or additional investment in marketing. Being able to demonstrate an ROI or how you’ve successfully exceeded goals with a particular tactic in the past may help you prioritize where you want to focus your efforts.
“It’s also important when doing your annual planning to consider what’s the highest priority and what you may have to pull back if budgets get tightened.
“Setting expectations for your team and having them be a part of the conversation and decision-making will also help you have an easier transition should you have to tighten spending.”
Emily Hathcoat, vice president, marketing, Risk Placement Services (RPS), former IMCA board chair
“There are numerous low-cost or free technologies available, many designed for small businesses, that don’t require a large investment.”
“Regardless of the size of the budget, it is the duty of marketing to make the most of it.
“Making the most of budgets means getting creative about how to execute your vision. But today, with new ways of working and new technologies, it makes it even more possible. There are numerous low-cost or free technologies available, many designed for small businesses. Self-generated content has become completely acceptable in business marketing today, versus paying for higher-cost production partners. Freelance talent is more accessible than ever before, and the most popular publishing channels are either no or low cost to content providers.
“The best defense budget is alignment with senior leadership/business strategies and measurable results. Regardless of whether you can relate your marketing metrics to end business revenue, if the initiative is distinctly aligned to the overall business strategy and you are transparent with leadership as to the results you will achieve, the effort is defensible.
“In the end, if the company needs to make a shift in spending, it is our duty to accommodate the future of the company and the many people it employs. In those cases, it’s up to the marketing leader to make the tough decisions about which programs align most closely with the business goals, and make sure those are delivered with excellence to generate demand for future investment.”
Jessica Marshall, senior vice president, director of marketing, CRC Group and IMCA director and treasurer
“Failing to adequately support your brand and sales activities can jeopardize the organization’s performance over the long term.”
“It can be tempting to cut the marketing budget when the economy takes a turn, but cutting it indiscriminately is a mistake. Failing to adequately support your brand and sales activities can jeopardize the organization’s performance over the long term. It’s better to make the case for an agile approach and strategy or tactical adjustments that illustrate you’re allocating funds wisely to best address shifting demands so that the organization can thrive even when the economy is tight.”
About the IMCA
All three of the expert marketers not only have years of insurance marketing experience under their belts, they are also members of the IMCA. The North American marketing trade association was founded in 1923 and is made up of individuals with expertise in marketing, public relations, corporate communications, and emerging digital communication practices. In addition to connecting professionals and seeking to elevate the insurance marketing profession, the organization also has guidelines intended to maintain brand standards within the industry.
Do you have any top tips for making the most of insurance marketing budgets? Share your experience in the comments below.
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