Digital Transformation: Time to Focus on Marketing

by Jen Wingate,

As an independent insurance agency for almost 60 years, Copeland Insurance Group has experienced firsthand the dramatic transformation in our industry.

One of the most commonly discussed topics is how digital technology has transformed the industry to bring operational productivity and new, simple client experiences.

And with the onset of COVID-19, there has been an even greater sense of “digital urgency” to make other facets of the insurance business significantly more effective by implementing technology.

Marketing and digitization
Marketing for our agency has historically been traditional in its nature, using mailers to prospects or one-off emails to begin renewals with clients. While those methods worked in past decades, brands like Amazon and Zappos have changed the way insurance consumers expect us to market and interact with them. Consumers want quick, tailored and informative marketing that differentiates brands from one another.
Marketing automation has been a topic around our office for the last few years. Several robust applications have come to the market that businesses in all industries can use. However, it was important for us to use technology that would fit well within our unique business and enable us to engage our clients the way they expect — both through targeted marketing and relevant content.

Our agency has a strong life, health and Medicare business, and we wanted marketing automation technology that would help us promote our growing P&C business to those clients. Additionally, we needed technology that would automate manual work and enable us to use staff for selling and servicing clients. We also wanted to be able to educate our clients and prospects about the different types of insurance that is available to them, creating opportunities for cross-selling.

To ensure all of these needs were met, we adopted technology that would support our marketing strategies, efficient operations and our role as a trusted advisor.

Elevating the trusted advisor role
We firmly believe that an insurance agent’s most important role is to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Educating prospects and clients is key in creating this trust as well as awareness of our products. Our clients come to us to find the right coverage for them at the right price, and it is important that we deliver on that promise while also educating them on why that coverage is best for them.

Like most independent agencies, our agency does not have the resources to create our own educational content. Having access to a content library containing insurance-specific articles, infographics and more enables us to engage with our prospects and clients with information that is relevant to them — without having to assign resources to manage it. As consumers’ attention are growing tougher to catch, being able to deliver educational content makes our brand stand out from the others.

Marketing with targeted campaigns
Before marketing automation, we communicated with our clients through one-off emails and phone calls. We sent happy birthday cards, renewal notices and letters but never had robust campaigns to nurture our client relationships.

Marketing automation enables us to take those one-off emails and expand them into simple or complex, recurring automated marketing campaigns to drip information to our clients. We can easily add a group of clients, our life, health and Medicare clients, for example, to a personal lines campaign that contains educational content for how to protect their homes and other personal lines risks. It is relevant to that client base and can create opportunities for our staff to cross-sell.

Optimizing efficient operations
There are so many aspects of being an insurance agent to love. However, some of the traditional processes of insurance, like data entry, are notoriously time-consuming. It takes precious time away from servicing and selling to clients and puts you at risk of E&O and inaccurate data. When looking at marketing automation specifically, there have been historic inefficiencies in managing data across multiple systems.

Integration with our management system is key to success with marketing. Based on interactions with our clients and prospects, our staff can choose to add clients into specific campaigns to create awareness and further opportunities. For instance, when those life, health and Medicare clients that were added to the personal lines campaign show interest, the campaign will automatically sync that activity to the management system and notify sales to focus on those clients for cross-sell opportunities.

While insurance has traditionally been a laggard compared to other industries, we are seeing a digital revolution across the industry. Simple digital solutions are needed now more than ever to link us to our clients. For our agency, specifically, we have adopted a forward-thinking mentality and have digitally transformed to serve our clients better. Marketing automation was the natural next step to continue to build our client base through education. Our advice to other independent agencies as they look for their competitive advantage would be to adopt the right technology that will enable them to set their business apart and provide trusted advice to clients while protecting what matters most.

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