Canadian Underwriter

Building your Brand

May 4, 2019   by Brent Closs, Director, B2B marketing, Insurance, CAA Club Group

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Brokers across Canada are facing increased competition while adapting to changing consumer habits.

Many have increased their investment in marketing to differentiate themselves and to better connect with key audiences. These investments seem to focus largely on new technology and digital marketing efforts.

But what about a broader point of view, one that focuses on the importance of the business of marketing itself?

The business of marketing

Marketing professionals should know how to create effective marketing tactics, whether that means using Facebook ads, branded content articles, etc.

However, as a business owner, it’s also important to understand subjects like how to:
• hire the right marketing support
or agency
• negotiate with agencies and vendors
• assess the impact of legal marketing risks and responsibilities on the brokerage

The business of marketing appears to be a professional development gap within the industry. Brokers are looking for more information about these topics.
They should expect insights and learnings from insurance companies about what works best for direct channels and how these marketing experience may be translated to meet broker needs. In this spirit, we offer the following Top 3 tips on the business of marketing that can benefit brokers.

Put people and value before price

It might be tempting to opt for the cheapest agency quote or the lowest salary option when hiring marketing support. But long-term, if you want the best return on your investment, it is usually more economical to invest in good people with valuable expertise.

Marketing will continue to evolve. Small and medium-sized business owners will therefore need marketing advisors who are experienced enough to ask the hard questions, agile enough to stay current, and able to deliver an integrated plan. It’s hard to find that at a discount.

Build from a brand

Marketing dollars are limited and it may be difficult to decide where to focus your efforts. Many business owners go straight for marketing tactics that promise to deliver in the short-term. After all, this helps to justify the investment.

But what is it about your business that you want to communicate to consumers? Why should they choose to buy insurance from your brokerage?

Building from a brand means budgeting some marketing dollars to go through the process of defining how the brokerage should be known. In addition, the brokerage should earmark funds for developing the appropriate visual elements to bring that vision to life. This strong foundation will set the tone, message and the look and feel of everything that follows. It ensures all marketing initiatives are moving in the same direction.

Ask the right questions

The marketing world is filled with concepts such as scope considerations, usage rights, and legal limitations. When negotiating with new agency partners or vendors, ask the right questions up front to make sure there are no surprises down the line. It also shows potential partners that you are serious and understand what you are getting into.

For example, if negotiating with a potential agency partner, ask questions like:
• Who will be my main point of contact?
• Who will be working actively on my account?

Asking these questions will help you determine the level of service you might expect from the agency. It’s also important to ask about an agency’s process from assignment to execution, cost structure, what happens with scope increases, and about their business values.

Prioritizing the business of marketing will go a long way towards building sustainable marketing programs that drive results, justify investments and help brokers to navigate a changing competitive landscape for years to come.

Brent Closs is the Director of B2B marketing, Insurance for CAA Club Group, which offers services, ranging from roadside assistance to home, auto and travel insurance. In September 2019, CAA Insurance is hosting an exclusive, integrated education program designed to prepare CAA brokers for consumer needs. Marketing industry experts will present a blended curriculum of marketing, brand and digital insights designed for brokers with the business of marketing in mind.

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