A recent report and an interesting case study are underscoring how resilient the independent P&C distribution system is, and how social media can support it. Our question to you: Is the use of social media a key element for survival of independents? And if so how is it benefiting you?
Positive Trends for US Independents
PropertyCasualty360.com recently reported on findings of a FutureOne Study which found that the number of independent agencies in the US had begun to grow after a period of stabilization (2006-2010) which followed a decade long slide (1996-2006). The study also found that business conditions had improved for a majority of the agencies.
Social Media’s Contribution
The report on the 2010 version of the study suggested that cost of technology was less of a factor for agents than in the past and that a major concern for agents was how to effectively use the Internet for marketing.
Now, almost two years later, along with the improved results, we are seeing interesting case studies that show how Internet marketing – using social media marketing – can be done well.
Anson Thompson – self described ‘ insurance ninja’ and part-time reporter for PropertyCasualty.com – recently documented how his agency was able to win an account through creative use of YouTube.
Thompson was competing for business that was 5+ hours away from his office. The incumbent competitor was 10 minutes away.
The final proposal was ready, but the client’s decision point was the next day. No time to review the proposal in person, so he and his team turned to YouTube. Thompson writes:
I had our marketer grab one of our iPads and shoot a quick 3-minute video of our review of coverage, the differences, why we made the recommendations we did and how we can move forward…. We used Apple’s IMovieto “sex up” the video, adding graphics, contact information, etc. The total time to shoot and create the video was about 10 minutes. We don’t do multiple takes, just review the proposal, pointing out the areas that we are discussing and then move on.
Thompson sent the proposal and the private link to the YouTube video along with his cell number. He had recommended creative use of some coverages to risk manage the account. During the client review, he did get a call.
And he did win the account.
It’s Not Magic, So What Do You Think?
To be clear, this was a multi-year overnight sensation. Thomson writes: “We have used video over the last few years as an educational tool and sometimes to help sell an account, but this was the first time using it due to our inability to attend a meeting to seal the deal.” And it was the investment of time that positioned Thompson’s team for victory.
So, our questions to you are: Do you have similar stories to share? And what are you doing to get ready for competition from likes of Thompson?
Leave your comments below.