Business decision makers — whether they are human resources directors, C-suite executives or small business owners — are constantly bombarded with marketing offers and sales pitches. Marketers promoting b-to-b insurance, such as employee health and life insurance or property and casualty insurance, would do well to keep that in mind and strive to present a unique and detailed offer to their target audience. Otherwise, what may be a good offer could get lost among the pile of unopened envelopes on the decision maker’s desk.
“Being concise and informative is very important,” says Kim Carpenter, account manager for HC&B Healthcare Communications. “Insurance can be complicated and overwhelming.”
Adding too much extraneous information to a b-to-b insurance marketing offer, she adds, can be a hindrance. “Customers really want the information boiled down,” she says. “[Providing] simplification and superior service can be a real market differentiator.”
With so many insurance options available, marketers must also make sure to distinguish what separates them from other insurance coverage options. “Costs are continuing to rise, and you really have to show what differentiates you [from other insurance coverage options] in a concise manner,” Carpenter explains.
In addition, demonstrating how similar businesses have benefited from choosing your insurance coverage option can be an effective tactic for marketers. For example, on a recent campaign targeting small businesses that HC&B worked on for Optima Health Care, showed examples of small businesses that already used Optima’s coverage. “We highlighted a business in the community, and there are probably similar businesses in that community with similar needs,” she notes.
Al Johnson, VP of branding and advertising for Aflac, says it’s essential to pique the interest of a decision maker by getting straight to the point. Whether you target small or large businesses with health insurance offers, he explains, you should convey exactly what coverage you offer. You don’t have to include all the information about the product in an initial contact, but just enough to make the recipient want to learn more. Then, the sales team can begin doing its job.
“We want to reach the decision makers and initially get them interested, and then be ready to answer any further questions they may have,” he says. “But first, you have to generate awareness.”
Paul Romuald, manager of the Florida office of insurance provider Minnesota Life, says that personalization is one key aspect of effective b-to-b insurance campaigns that shouldn’t be overlooked. That is even more important when making the initial contact, he emphasizes.
“Just something as simple as getting someone’s name, rather than a generic ‘dear employee,’ can make a big difference,” he says.
Marketers using direct mail as an initial contact should make it readily apparent what the nature of their offer is, Romuald says, for the same reason they should personalize: to cut through the clutter.
“[The mailing] should clearly identify this is something related to [insurance] benefits and that it is] something important,” Romuald continues.
Directing a mail recipient to a Web site is often effective as well, he adds. “There’s a trend in HR toward self-service, [so decision makers] can look for themselves,” he says.
Ultimately, he adds, these tips are good ways for b-to-b insurance marketers to get in the door, but each boils down to one fact that marketers in all sectors should keep in mind. “In the end, the key selling points are service and the product,” he explains.
Unique community Web sites
Insurance provider Optima Health wanted to raise awareness of its brand among small businesses in certain locations in Virginia where it was not well known. HC&B created a campaign using print ads, and also set up unique URLs for each targeted community. The unique Web sites provided additional information about Optima insurance coverage plans and allowed interested parties to request further information. The campaign also included a search component.
The supplementary insurance provider known for its ubiquitous duck spokesperson engaged in a year-long brand awareness campaign this year, using online advertising such as banner ads, search engine optimization and pay-per-click. The campaign also used traditional print, radio and TV ads. The company’s Web site has seen a 600% increase in traffic since the campaign began.
Direct mail campaign
When Minnesota Life became the life insurance provider for employees of the state of Florida, it needed to get the beneficiary information for the state’s current and retired employees. In a personalized direct mail campaign, Minnesota Life asked employees to either enter beneficiary designations on its Web site or fill out and mail a paper form with the information. Of the approximately 160,000 targets, there were 118,000 respondents, of whom 64,000 responded online.