Insurance Marketing Gets Tougher; Study Shows Best Opportunities
THETFORD CENTER, Vt., Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- MarketingCharts has released a new study showing the many complex dynamics of personal lines insurance marketing across media. The 83-page review and cross-referencing of dozens of market and media studies reveals why carriers like GEICO are diving toward particular market segments, as the combination of trends makes certain groups, products, regions and other factors much more effective targets.
Direct-to-consumer insurance sales continue to box out agents and some insurance writers. The residual effect of this advertising is also playing a big role in developing brand impressions among carriers.
"Outsiders might get the misimpression that GEICO just came along and ate up market share on account of its flood of advertising dollars, but it's a lot more complex than that," said J.C. Lupis, principal author of the study and editor of the trade site MarketingCharts.com. "It turns out that most people are pretty happy with their insurance carriers. Some of the most opportune leads are among Millennials, who have not yet established those relationships. This is a long-term ground war with multi-billion dollar marketing investments that pay out over several years, however battles for segments and media happen quickly and decisively."
The study shows how potential switchers respond to various advertising media; the current competitive spend among those media, and the different strategies employed by major advertisers. Interestingly, some of the richest segments have not yet been targeted in all media.
Among the findings:
- Word-of-mouth and the online equivalent (consumer reviews) play an increasing role in purchase decisions. Some carriers are responding well to new communication channels, such as Nationwide, which answers three out of four of its consumer questions on its Facebook page.
- Younger customers are far more likely to go with a new carrier than their older counterparts. GEICO's reach for these switchers hasn't gone unchallenged, as State Farm and others have started to focus media weight and message to these Millennials.
- Carriers have vastly different rates of efficiency when they spend money attracting site traffic online. Some are spending less than half the amount per referral versus their competition.
- The effect of the consumer email is being further drowned out by the shouts of too many insurance marketing emails. Figures provided exclusively for the report showed an increase in emails sent of about 200 percent within a nine-month period, among a sample set of insurers.
- Regionally, insurance leads differ a great deal in conversion likelihood. When combined with loss ratios, which also vary quite a bit by region, this creates an opportunity map showing hotspots like Connecticut, where leads are much more likely to close, and those accounts have traditionally seen below-average loss ratios.
The battle for independent agents is to prove their expertise, advocacy, and ability to drive savings at a time when consumers are being told that buying online equates to both convenience and price savings. Younger consumers are the most likely group to go online and buy direct. But, among customers who use agents, they're also the most likely to believe that agents can help them find a better price. This suggests that methods will play second fiddle to motives. The implications for messaging and media choices are quite large.
MarketingCharts.com is a daily trade publication for marketing professionals seeking hard data on industry trends. More information on the study can be found at https://reports.marketingcharts.com.