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Can Telematics Be a Marketing Tool? Will Prospects Heed Flo’s Rally Cry?

Progressive Insurance has taken the use of Telematics further forward in the marketing cycle.  We’re interested in your opinion on whether this strategy can  attract qualified leads.

In a recent Progressive Insurance TV ad – called Rally Cry,  Flo (Progressive’s ever ebullient spokeswoman) takes over the airwaves  to say, “Attention, well, Everyone ….” and goes on to explain that Progressive now offers its Snapshot telematics program to any one for a trial period.  At the end of the period, Progressive will give you a information on your driving habits, and those of others in your household, and provide you a firm quote, allowing you to compare against your current plan.

We see this having three impacts.  First, it will allow a firm quote, including any discount,  before the insurance transaction is complete.  Customers accepting the quote will have price certainty, which will add to the customer’s ‘stickiness’ in the quote/rate/issue rollercoaster.

Second, (and this is our conjecture) Progressive has the opportunity to dissuade drivers who don’t meet Progressive’s underwriting targets, reducing the risk of higher conversion costs and unpleasant surprises for the carrier and the client.  (Recall that Progressive was the first insurer to offer comparative auto quotes from competitors on its web site for this very purpose.)

Third, Progressive gets to add to its data store of telematic driving information (recently reported to be 5 billion miles). In this age of big data, this is a valuable asset in and of itself.

In December of last year, we blogged on research that Progressive had carried out which indicated that some 39% of the US driving population could qualify for the benefits of the Snapshot program (presumably by meeting Progressive’s criteria).   This is the target audience for Flo’s try-before-you-buy Rally Cry.

(Of course, some drivers find the idea of having their driving behaviour monitored distasteful.  For a sample of their reactions to Flo’s message, see the Godlike Productions message board.)

So, it seems that Progressive has taken a further step ahead of the competition by putting the installation of telematics in the cars of prospects as well as customers.  Our question to you:  Will this further strengthen Progressive’s leadership role in use of telematics as a marketing strategy?  Or is this just a gimmick that won’t attract more than a few curious shoppers?  Let us know with your comments.