Insurance is safe bet on AutobytelDirect file

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Since ICS Marketing Support Services became manager of the AutobytelDirect list last summer, marketers have seen success using the file's data to promote auto insurance.

Almost 10,000 auto shoppers daily visit a Web site in Autobytel's network to obtain automotive data, read product reviews and receive price quotes. Autobytel Inc., Irvine, CA, includes brands such as autobytel.com, carsmart.com and autoweb.com.

"Consumers who are in-market to purchase a vehicle also demonstrate a higher propensity to evaluate their current insurance policy as well as review or switch to another insurance provider based on a more compelling or competitive offer," said Kevin Harlow, vice president of marketing and sales at ICS Marketing Support Services, Lansing, MI.

"Industry statistics have shown that more than 50 percent of in-market new car buyers will comparison-shop insurance rates at the time of purchase," he said.

Insurance marketers have found an interested and engaged audience among the AutobytelDirect postal and e-mail records, and they have indicated this resource outperforms many of their other list sourcing options. James Carson, senior account executive at TMA List Brokerage and Management, Reston, VA, called the file an invaluable resource.

"Their database has allowed one of TMA's major auto insurance clients to consistently reach the right prospects at the right time with their direct marketing offers," he said. "Autobytel has become a staple of our monthly campaigns."

Nielsen//NetRatings reviewed Autobytel subscribers and found that 73 percent of them are ages 25-54 while 54 percent have at least one child in the house and a majority have a household income surpassing $75,000. Eighty percent own their home.

This profile illustrates that AutobytelDirect shoppers are nearly 300 percent more likely to be shopping for auto insurance compared with the average online consumer, Nielsen//NetRatings said.

In addition to vehicle-specific offers, these subscribers have responded favorably to offers of competitively priced insurance policies for their new vehicle and to sign up for free assessments to help them understand the types of coverage options for their new vehicle, Mr. Harlow said.

AutobytelDirect is part of Autobytel Inc., an online automotive marketplace. Founded in 1995, Autobytel has helped 27 million car buyers and claims to have generated billions of dollars in vehicle and vehicle-related sales for automobile dealers, automobile insurers and other automotive service providers.

Almost 90 percent of automotive manufacturers and 70 percent of automotive dealers regularly include Autobytel data as part of their marketing efforts.

Autobytel selected ICS as list manager because of its expertise in the automotive-related sector.

"Choosing ICS for this role was a logical progression of a long-standing working relationship Autobytel has had with this team of marketing and data experts," said Brian Hafer, vice president of advertising sales and business development for Autobytel.

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