Esurance, E-Trade Piggyback on DM Mail Test

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Georges & Murray Direct, Raleigh, NC, is working with San Francisco-based and E*Trade, Menlo Park, CA, to conduct a co-branded campaign test using direct mail as the primary marketing channel.

The goal behind the analysis is to see what truly motivates prospects to turn to the Internet, rather than the telephone, for insurance. And to determine what the optimal communications platform should be for the clients, the agency has devised what it says is a very sophisticated and complex direct mail program, using a variety of testing angles on 1.5 million pieces being dropped next week.

"We do a lot of testing at this agency," said Chrysanthe Georges, president of Georges & Murray Direct. "And our clients are often veterans in this industry. That's certainly the case with the people at Esurance. So we've spent a lot of time together on designing this testing campaign. We brainstormed about creating something that was more than just [another offer]. What we are doing is establishing a control package to use for a long time."

Georges said the clients want to know every detail of what is motivating its target market customer. Included is a Web-only response mechanism trial, which is being run against a Web-plus-phone-response version.

Two primary packages have been developed, with one focusing on communicating the advantages of customized insurance coverage and the other centering on "the power of the Internet." The agency's campaign for the Esurance package also is testing packages with and without premiums in conjunction with various prospect demographic data. Both packages are using the appeal of a free rate quote vs. another offer that highlights a free rate quote plus an entry in a sweepstakes. In addition, each package will be tested in conjunction with different list files. However, the agency wasn't comfortable with discussing the demographic details of the lists.

"There are many, many cells to this campaign," said Georges. "And mass-media print and broadcast will be part of the marketing as more states are rolled out. Our eventual intent is to be national, of course."

Esurance is a privately held company offering customers the opportunity to use the Internet for researching, comparing and purchasing insurance products based on their own customized needs.

E*Trade is the nation's third-largest provider of online financial services after Charles Schwab and Waterhouse, respectively. E*Trade owns Telebank and participates in a venture with Softbank in Japan.

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