Targeting is all in the timing

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Client: Hiscox

Objective: Target companies with upcoming renewal dates for workers compensation policies.

Hiscox USA found that when it sent its direct mail was almost as important as the recipient.

While some insurance companies target a wide range of consumers, Hiscox USA is focused on businesses in professional services, such as marketing, design or consulting, with less than 10 employees.

Hiscox targets its direct mail by state, SIC/NAICS codes, company size, as well as job title. It then develops different creative, specific to the industry — direct mail packs sent to small technology companies were very different than those sent to a consulting company.

“We really drill down into our core segments,” says Philip Thorn, Hiscox's head of marketing for US Direct. “Everything we do has to be as focused and targeted as possible.”

The company targets businesses buying insurance for the first time (when they are first setting up their business or needing to fulfill a contractual obligation) or when they are looking to switch from their current insurance agent or company. 

STRATEGY: With this in mind, Thorn and his team reached out to a data source that was able to provide them with the renewal dates for companies' workers compensation policies. Thorn expected that when a company renewed its workers compensation policy, it would renew its other business insurance, such as liability and property policies.

For a 150,000-piece mail campaign, the marketing team identified one cell of targeted direct mail packs that went out two months before the renewal date. The mailer opened up into several panels with taglines like, “It changed everything” and “It was revolutionary,” along with images of a typewriter and early cellular phone. Inside, it completed the idea with the line, “Now it's insurance's turn. Hiscox is reinventing small business insurance,” followed by details about the company's offerings. 

RESULTS: Carefully timing the mailers gave them a huge relevance boost to the recipients, getting them in the prospects' hands just as they were deciding whether to renew their current insurance plans. The response rate on these specially timed mailers was 800% higher than it was on the mailers sent without this data. “It proves that timing is just as important, if not more important, as demographic targeting and messaging,” says Thorn.

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