One of our most hated words here at Agency Performance Partners is “busy”. As you may have read in other blogs or heard us speak about is that this term only focus on effort and not results. To simplify, you can spend a lot of time on tasks that have little value and feel like you are doing a lot without being productive. By focusing on the result, you can start to eliminate some of the low value tasks that may be taking up too much of your time and stop feeling like you are “too busy”.
Having said that, there are some high value tasks that we still may not be able to fit into our day. Marketing is often one high value task that is underserved. I believe this is mostly due to it being outside of our day-to-day insurance focus and the lack of seeing the immediate effect of the effort. When we answer the phone or reply to an email, we can directly see the benefit to that sales or service task. Sitting down to write a blog does not have that same immediate gratification therefore takes a lot more dedication. I will point out that you are reading this blog right at this moment even though as I’m writing it, I do not know the effect of writing the blog!
I want to review four methods of identifying or creating a marketing resource. This may not be an inclusive list and some type of combination may work better for your agency so think outside the box!
Do It Yourself
There really is no one better to communicate the mission, vision, and values of the agency than the owner. However, unless the owner has delegated other responsibilities it is unlikely that you have time in your day to dedicate enough focus to drive real results through your marketing efforts. There is a lot of effort that goes not only into the execution but also in gaining knowledge of all of the different platforms and techniques as well as developing the strategic plan.
Hire a Marketing Person
I had an old boss that always said that you shouldn’t take on a task that someone else can do faster, better, and at a lower cost. As marketing is not typically at the top of the agency owner’s strengths, finding someone that can do it faster and better is something to be considered. On the cost side, if you calculate your approximate salary per hour, you can determine if this is the best place to spend your time versus paying someone else to do it.
One option is to hire a high school or college student to take this on as a project. This can work in some cases. They typically understand the online platforms and it does not have to be done on a 9-5 schedule but often it can fall apart if they don’t have an understanding of how to approach social media from a business or marketing perspective. There can be a major disconnect between how the business is marketed online versus any offline marketing as well as the sales and service process. This person may able to execute the strategy but the owner will still need to spend a good amount of time on strategy and vision.
Appoint Someone in the Office
You may already have someone in the office that understands online marketing or is willing to learn. This can work if that person has capacity to take on another responsibility and has a reason to see it succeed. If there is no capacity or desire and you are simply assigning it to them, it can lead to a deprioritization of the marketing efforts or simple burn out of the employee. And you are still left with the task of driving strategy and vision.
Hire a Marketing Firm
If you have a desire to make your marketing work and are committed to the investment, hiring an outside marketing firm may be the right option for you. These firms will understand the marketing platforms and obviously have the capacity to execute the strategy. It is also easy to hold them accountable as there can’t be any excuse that they were focused on other tasks.
There can be drawbacks to outsourcing your marketing. These are mostly focused on not having the right knowledge in place and therefore not representing the agency appropriately. For example, general marketing agencies are going to struggle for insurance content. They also don’t have the local knowledge needed if you are trying to build your brand as a part of the community.
There are three items I would recommend looking at when evaluating bringing in a marketing firm.
Do they specialize in insurance? If not, you are going to spend a lot of time educating them and reviewing or correcting their posts. A firm that specializes in insurance will eliminate this extra work for you and your team.
Do they involve you in their efforts? A firm that promises no involvement from you may seem ideal on the surface but without some contribution from you on your community and your events, how are the marketing efforts going to reflect these opportunities. If you are holding a Flag Day event but it is not marketed on your social media platforms, are you getting the most exposure from the event. While we don’t want to waste effort, working with the marketing agency on these local events is a great use of our time!
Is the pricing too good to be true or is it not worth the investment? Like all expenses, the cost of a marketing firm should be looked at from an ROI perspective. If the cost is too low, you may not get what is being promised. If it is too high, you may not recover your investment. Project out how much premium you would need to write to earn enough commission to provide an ROI with which you are comfortable. For some agencies, they want to recover the expense with the first year commission. Others look at more of a lifetime value and calculate the total anticipated revenue for the client. Some agencies will add operating or servicing costs and others look at the marketing efforts separately to calculate a cost per acquisition. Every agency needs to determine their approach, but be sure to calculate your ROI; don’t just look at the cost and judge it off of that.
There are many different options to choose from when it comes to marketing, so make sure that you’re taking the time to find the one that’s right for you. Just remember that you should never be too busy to handle marketing in some way. At Agency Appeal we have developed marketing solutions including brand guides, websites, and brand implementation packages that provide baseline and advanced marketing efforts aimed at helping your agency grow. Contact me today to set up a time to learn more!