how a seasoned insurance marketer leads carrier meetings

This is a special episode. Today was the year-end carrier review for Zinc Insurance. This is a 30 minute piece of the 2 hour meeting. (Oh yes, you get a backstage pass.) In it, you’ll hear Geralda discuss how she’s designing her 2020 marketing plan for Zinc. And even more interesting, you’ll see how a seasoned insurance marketer leads carrier meetings.

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Syd Roe 0:00

What’s up, guys? So today is a very special podcast. Honestly, I don’t even I don’t know if I would call it a podcast. But today was the year-end review carrier meeting for Zink insurance. If you’ve listened to previous podcasts, B atomic airwaves, episodes, you may have heard Seth mention how he has very intentionally, and I’ve even gone so far as to say artfully crafted his carrier meetings. He has every carrier in the room. He shares all the data about what’s going on in the agency, and it makes for a very vulnerable and transparent and I think both powerful and productive conversation so Part of that conversation. This was a two-hour meeting that was held today between 10 am and 12 pm in the middle of Ohio, but I’m only gonna, I’m only going to section off a small piece of it and let me give you some context before you dig in. So the woman who will be you’ll be hearing in this episode, her name is Geralda, and she leads the marketing efforts at Zink insurance. Now, first off, the girl that is an amazing person. If you have, if you have the chance to meet her and if you’ve had the chance to meet her, you’ll know and you know what I’m talking about. She’s incredibly outgoing. She’s incredibly caring. She is so selfless in the way that she interacts with her team and with others, then she is wicked, wicked smart. She is a dangerous insurance marketer and I’m not going to give too much of that away because you’re going to hear what I mean by that over the next 30 minutes but pay attention to a couple really two different things. The first is how she thinks about her marketing strategy. If you have a marketer in your agency, you need to stop right now and send them the URL to this episode because it is imperative that every insurance independent agency marketer hear this episode it is so important that we as an industry as a channel focus on thinking about marketing insurance marketing in the way that girl that does it’s really impressive. And I can’t wait to hear what you guys think about it after you give this episode a listen. But the other part of this is, remember the context of this conversation. She’s sitting in front of about 20 people, 20 carriers, and there are eight agency agents in the room. So 20 carriers sitting in front of her listen to how she leads that conversation. As an insurance marketer. I think it’s, I think too often in this industry we wait, which is just so it’s so crazy to me to think that those entrepreneurs are waiters. And yet I see so many insurance marketing entrepreneurs, waiting they wait for carrier permission to do certain marketing tactics. They wait for the budget, they wait for it. carriers to tell them which markets to go after. There’s so much waiting. And I would really encourage you and again your marketer to listen to how a girl leads this conversation with her carriers. She does it so effortlessly. And I think it’s something that we can all learn from so kudos to the girl. I hope she gives this one a listen, you bet I’ll be sending her the URL. And I really hope that you’re going to send the marketer that you know and respect this, this URL as well. And I really hope that you enjoyed this episode.

Geralda 4:56

So for marketing, we had two main goals. The first is I wanted to really use our tools and some of the strategies that I know to work and really elevate the relationship with our current customers. Not just for better onboarding, I mean, Chris and I got together and we had a list of things that we were trying to do with these onboarding videos. And for those of you who haven’t been at our previous meetings, just a quick review of those videos each time you buy as a policy you get a video Welcome visiting. This is what our brands about sir social, please submit your cases or request to Hello adzick insurance calm, that will be the timeliest manner that goes directly into our case system and our service people work it. The other thing we wanted is for them to submit claims directly to you guys. So there was a second video. Welcome to Westfield insurance. This is why they’re our partners. This is what’s so great about them and this is how you navigate through Westfield insurance, their website, Bill Pay,

Guest Speaker  5:56

and so on. And just about just one word on that. So we went A year ago and went through all your compliance to get videos approved. To submit videos and get them approved. A year later, not one carrier has approved any videos. So we just did it anyway. So just I mean, just to let you know, you told us, we gotta get it approved, we sent it to every carrier available in a year, we haven’t heard back from anybody. So we just will do the right thing. But just to let you know, we will continue to try and work with your compliance and your people, but they actually have to do something. So in the meantime, we’ll be really responsible with your brand. We will work side by side with you, we will always ask permission, but most times you won’t get it so we’ll just keep doing it. And if you have problems or concerns, just reach out to us. We’re happy to address them. But

Geralda 6:50

yeah, yeah, and the same thing with renewal videos, we’re sending out reminders, not only so that the customer is always aware and that hopefully, they’re more proactive. But also so that our service team isn’t receiving those frequently asked question calls, and hopefully sending out these proactive videos will drop that call volume. So the easiest way to do that is just reaching out to your service team and just ask them, Hey, what are the five or 10 questions where customers are constantly reaching out to you guys and asking you for the same question. And then just shoot a video and see if sending that video out. And getting ahead of that question will kind of help to alleviate some of those workflow clusters. Another thing that we want to find out through these videos is that I believe that people who are clicking on Welcome to Westfield and welcome to zinc and are watching these videos are higher engagers right. So if they’re already opening that email and they’re clicking on the video, they’re more likely to continue to engage with us. I think those customers will eventually be higher at retention. So I want to see for the people that are clicking on our onboarding videos, and are engaging with us and are using the cases system, how much more likely are they to stay in sync? And is their brand perception of not only zinc, but their carrier a little bit higher because of the way that we’re interacting with them through customer marketing? And what I’m doing is I’m grading their behavioral scores, and they’re automatically going into a party segment list, right? So if you’re a big part, customer, and you’re clicking on all this stuff, and you’re following all of our rules, you’re going into a party list under high engagers, right? And I’m going to take that list, I’m going to say, okay, 400 people from Westfield or high engagers Central has 300, high engagers. Those are the people that I’m going to cross-sell other products so that we’re not shooting in the dark. A lot of technical reasons behind that. It’s not good if you’re sending out email campaigns and you know, your domain is flagged, if people are interacting, and it just looks really bad for your customers if you’re constantly pushing things out, and they’re not opening them. So we’re really segmenting things in A very surgical way with your customers so that we can really communicate to them in the best way possible and in a way that makes sense for them. So we, we those are life, those videos are going out as Seth mentioned, we’re aggregating data. So as we collect enough data to be able to show you guys hey, this is how it’s affecting retention call volume. This is the list of heightened dangers. We’re going to share that with you guys. I’ll get that into that a little bit later. But I will share monthly reports with all of you guys on that kind of stuff so that we have a little bit more transparency back and forth with that kind of data. Um, so that’s, that’s the scoop on the internal marketing. Oh, can you go back? Sure, still here. The second biggest thing is if you guys will recall in 2018, we got really excited because some of our marketing was starting to work and we had these awesome tools. We thought we could do everything. So we were trying anything and everything right and Although that was fun for me, and interesting to see what was working or what wasn’t, it’s not an effective way to plan or to market anymore. And the reason for that is this stuff takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of effort to create the content to build up a brand. So if you’re just pumping in random carrier products that you guys want to hit on, and want premium volume on, that’s not really a sophisticated way to do it for me, and from a marketing approach. So what we were doing in 18, is we were trying various things throughout the year and we weren’t collecting enough data because we weren’t investing enough money. And we weren’t giving things enough time. Now, from a carrier point of view, I completely understand why that was difficult for you guys to understand, right? I was calling you and I was saying, Hey, this is some of the stuff I want to try. But you guys have to support me, whether it’s marketing dollars, internal resources that you could help me send out mailers to people, whatever it is, I need your help. And a lot of you said well, we don’t know who to ask for. We don’t know if that’s possible. And I need to know how much premium I can expect if I give you this amount of money, right. And so that was a really difficult conversation, and it got sticky for us. And so we didn’t get very far. In that discussion at 18, and 19, I thought to myself, okay, I completely understand what the carriers need to see. So I’m going to turn 2019 into the year of aggregating enough data to prove to them that we know we’re doing and that this is how this stuff works. This is how long it takes. This is how much money it takes. And this is the kind of bandwidth that we need to launch a new program and make it work and marketing.

Guest Speaker 11:37

Can I just add one thing there, it turns out, carriers do not have the guts for marketing.

Guest Speaker 11:44

We can change that and we should change it. It’s expensive. It takes time and that means you have to be committed to a business plan. And that’s hard, especially for the people in this room. It’s hard when you’re trying to report on a goal and all that stuff, but marketing and you’re going to hear from a lot of these agents coming out that their marketers are marketers, and most cases are experiences. There’s not someone on your side of the company side that can even take that call, right? Because you’re not, you’re not really used to talking to marketers, you’re talking about allocating advertising dollars, show me an ad in a paper or flyer. And that’s a different call. And now what we’re finding is marketers are calling carriers as they were trained to be by many. There are associations that say, Be marketers. And well, when you get into it, then why? Because the carriers aren’t ready for marketers and this whole relationship. And so we have learned that asking agents to market is a really dangerous thing because carriers aren’t ready for it. So this is a chance for carriers to learn this together and be effective together. It’s really beautiful.

Geralda 12:41

Yeah, and that shipped in 2018. Um, it looks visually bad in the beginning, but it actually ended up being a good thing. So if you guys look up there at this pipeline, now, this is just for tracking, right? So if you look the last time that I showed you guys this for trucking, it looked completely different, right? So we had fewer prospects, we had more marketing qualified, and we had fewer sales qualified. Last carrier meeting. So with this updated pipeline for 2018, our visitors were up. So that’s good. That means our traffic on all of our pages was up, our prospects went down because we became more targeted, right? Our marketing qualifications went down. So that’s because they became stricter with what behaviors identify that this marketing prospect is ready to go to a salesperson and get a quote, right. So in previous months and years, I was saying they’re ready now. They’re like, I grabbed you. I’m like, please, yes, take them. Well, our sales team was coming back and saying, Hey, I’m fielding all these requests, but I’m coming out with less than one opportunity. So we met with our sales team, we became a little bit stricter on what those behaviors are, that would trigger that flow to a sales opportunity. So less because we were moving more strategic and more won deals as a result. So this is one of those moments where if you’re a carrier, you’re looking at what you’re like, Okay, what does that mean for me? That could mean for you fewer submissions, right, but more won opportunities. So my goal is not to get you guys as many submissions as possible because that makes no sense for our bandwidth or the way that we’re using our resources and doesn’t necessarily make any sense for you guys either. My goal is to figure out exactly who acuity and Westfield once and to find only that person online, digitally us quoting

Guest Speaker 14:34

as you saw that last slide is not doing we’re hemorrhaging cash, right? We need to quote last but write more. And I never used to be able to tell you that I used to say It’s important to us to have a high hit ratio. The reason we need a higher ratio is that when I quote I’m averaging money. And so we need to quote less and write more. So, girl, there has to be much more focus if we’re to turn a profit with Mark And with sales with the independent channel.

Geralda 15:03

Yeah, and trucking did awesome this year we killed it, we got about 500 K, on just the marketing side, we got to test a lot of new things that we’ve never done before, like geofencing a lot more automation in our marketing tools, a lot more connectivity between marketing service and sales. So as a result, the way that we’re moving into 2020 has to be different from you guys. Right? I don’t feel like I gave any of my carriers what they truly had in 2019. And that’s not to say that, you know, you guys messed up or that we messed up. But I think that we were at a point in the road where we didn’t really get it. And now that we’re turning this new chapter, I think it’s really important for us, in our quarterly planning to have a different kind of a conversation, right. And if you go to the next slide, Chris, I’ll talk about that a little bit. So this is what Zink marketing planning is going to look like for 2020. So it’s in three buckets just to make it really easy to understand for everyone. We’re going to have the local bucket, we’re going to have the niche bucket, and we’re going to have the program bucket, right. And this is all extremely targeted stuff. So if you fall or choose to be in the local bucket, that means Hey, we’re going to go after we know we’re going to meet our base goals with you guys just through referrals and everything else. And as it pertains to our local campaigns, if your product does fit, of course, we’re going to hunt for that person. How you can support that local campaign is helping us identify a class that aligns with our local strategy, and then looking for ways that we can collaborate on resources. So an example is central for one of the local campaigns that we’re doing through them. They’re going to send out postcards for us. So their marketing department I actually got into contact with last week said, Hey, we love your brand, right? The central brand is its own thing. But you guys are marketing our product. Why don’t you girl take over the brand, but whatever you want on our postcard, and we’ll mail them out to you, right we’ll have a landing page, let’s share data? Let’s share traffic so that we know how we’re doing. And let’s work that way so that they’re going to get a lot more juice and love because now they’ve helped me to alleviate those printing costs that time and they’ve let me manage their brand for them. So that’s just one small way that you guys can think about how we can collaborate and work together locally.

Guest Speaker 17:38

Most for most carriers in this room. Our goals with you will come out of these local campaigns. We put a 10-mile circle around our agency because we know that 10 miles we know we have 76,000 rooftops and we’ve got about 4000 businesses, and we’re going to target out of those businesses are contractors and landscapers and all those things. And so we’re going to rain holy heck on them and bring them up through these funnels. And you will get your goals that way. And so it’s a simplified way to do it. Everybody can contribute and win in this game. And you don’t have to be marketing experts. We were asking you to be market experts in June. Right now, carriers just are not there. So we’ve got to go back a little bit and slow down so that we can work with you on that. So when you come in and talk to us about goals and performance and achievement, most times girls will be pivoting into performance in this local area. landscapers, property owners, apartments, party centers, manufacturing all that stuff. 10 miles, they know our brand, it’s simple. We can talk to your people about how they get it and we can try to get resources out of you that we otherwise couldn’t sell.

Geralda 18:39

And I know that this word, maybe it’s been a little bit overused by us, but it’s really important. I think we’re not thinking about it the right way. So the reason why we absolutely have to design everything in a niche format, if you will, is because everything needs a brand, right? So I can’t really infiltrate upon a marketplace with a product that I decide I want to work that day and hope for the best. Regardless of how awesome that piece of content is, how hard I work and how badly we want it on, it needs a brand that needs a presence. It needs SEO, it needs a ranking online, and it needs a personality. And that takes a lot of time. Right? The good news is we have the brain and the tools to be able to make that happen. But it’s gonna require marketing research, right? So I want to before I do, Ohio mutual, right, they want us to invest in farms. They said I want to partner with you, girl, duh, I want to throw money out for you for farms and let’s kill this. Well, that is taking me a lot of market research. Because before I go back and say, Yeah, let’s do it. I want to make sure that that aligned with the marketplace and where we’re internally upset, right. So market research is one brand development. I want to have the best website for Ohio farms or for truckers that it is right that fits our brand. That’s, again gonna take time and money. And then data aggregation, which is what we were missing on before. For farms for contractors for truckers, we’re not giving them enough time, if things aren’t working. That’s okay. Not all of these classes are a fit in 2024, marketing digitally, and that’s okay. But if we can show people why one of your products is not competitive in the digital marketplace, or how we can make it more competitive. That’s, that’s a win for us, and then also a win for you guys. So we have to decide at this moment, do we understand that the best way to get you guys out there right now is to be competitive digitally? And then do we all have the guts to really come together and collaborate in a much more specific and deliberate way

Guest Speaker 20:50

on some of this stuff, and there’s a difference. So most carriers are investing in marketing but it’s not marketing back, which is great. We need that. Westville I think what they’ve done over the last couple of years their brand is insane. But they don’t have anyone who talks to agents. And so we have marketers on our side, right? And it’s the same with this carrier and that carrier everything. And so what we’re seeing is there’s a critical role missing on the carrier side, which is someone who actually does marketing to get a copy of the policy, right driving someone around that brand through the joint marketing through their independent agent to a solution, which is awesome a policy. So one of the takeaways for carriers should be in the next year is how we create a marketing liaison with agents we’re actually selling a product.

Geralda 21:33

So if we do brand, then you can focus on your product and because you’re the experts in your product, and what I mean by the focus on your product isn’t just necessarily keep it competitive. I mean, how long does it take for a digital prospect to click and say I want a quote for them to actually get it for us to hear back from your team. So this is the kind of stuff going into 2020 that you know, you’re gonna have to meet with Chris on right so If we’re working together on a marketing campaign, and I have the data to show you how everything’s going, then your second step is to say, Okay, well, if zinc is doing their portion of the marketing the front end, how can I make sure that my product as a carrier is as competitive as possible for that digital customer. And that’s really going to elevate you guys. And not only make it easier for us to do marketing for you guys, but other neon agents are going to flock to you, right? Because they’re going to be digital marketers. And you’re going to be the ones who’ve already put your products in a spot where it’s the most successful for them to work with. The three things that I want carriers to really think about in 2020 for marketing is connectivity. Speed, which we just talked about a little bit and data sharing, right? So connectivity. It’s not and if it’s a how right so central insurance and acuity insurance. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for connecting me to the right people. on your team, we’re going to have the first open API. Now it’s going to start with Partha, and with marketing, and eventually hopefully going to lead us to complete connectivity with those two carriers. So what that looks like for trucking is they’ve taken the time to speak with Rob and to speak with me and say, Hey, how are you organizing your campaign? Great? Well, let’s get that prospect to a quote faster, right? So when they click, I want to truck quote, let’s get them to a form, right? Where there are underwriting questions within that form that they’re filling out, that is automatically populated into our system. And that can get a quote faster than ever right and then let’s take that information that the prospect just filled in about that and let’s flow it through the zinc database at Salesforce that the salesperson has it in their fingertips. That connection takes days for us to make with most of my carriers, right, with acuity and with central They’re looking at how can we connect through workflows, right? So it started with them, Hey, girl, I’m gonna send you an automatic report every single Monday, on the prospects that are bouncing that are coming from your marketing and that are bouncing on our quote portal. So that was really interesting. And we thought, Okay, well, how can we get a little bit more connectivity? So we got on the call with Salesforce, and we realized, hey, there’s actually a really simple way to API connect our part up to the carrier. So I and I know that you guys are not the right people in the room to have that conversation. But I want to make sure that the right people in your companies really understand the opportunity that they have here, so if you could please connect me to whoever those decision-makers or departments are in Q1 of 2020. And for the ones that I haven’t already spoken to. That’s, what’s going to be big for me. And then if you want to go to the next, so that’s kind of why niches and why keep using that word. Just move here. acuity stepped it up. Um, so yeah, ask yourself, have I tested enough with zinc to identify a niche opportunity? So if you don’t know, if you have a niche for me or not, let’s communicate about that. Let’s get together on that. And it may be that, you know, we start collaborating on local stuff first, right? funeral homes, contractors, whatever. And we realize that we’re starting to head and I’m saying, Hey, guys, it takes actually $3,000 a minimum of AdWords a month for us to be competitive, but things are starting to hit. Do you want to flip this switch with me and keep making this hot? If you say yes, then maybe there’s a niche opportunity there. Right, then you’ll get a lot more of my time, a lot more of my investment, and a lot more of my data.

Geralda 25:45

And then third, but definitely not least, because this is the future of our marketing today. So this is where everything is going is programs. So programs are actually partnerships between my department and our carrier. Central is our first carrier program. I showed you guys a screenshot of insurance for pet care That’s doing awesome. We’re killing it with that. And so the easiest way for me to describe what a program is, is, it’s more than a niche, right? Because our carrier is asking themselves, how can we make, quote, issue, and bind seamless online for zinc and for their customer? So that’s a really sophisticated question. And for central to already be on that. And to be six months deep on that is huge. Next year, and in 2020 2021, I’m going to have four or five programs. So right now I’m already planning for the next three years of programs right? So think for example ohmic farms, that can be a potential program, we’re going to start investing as a niche that’ll turn into a program. So that’s another reason why I really need to connect with you guys and with the decision-makers is that there’s a lot of career opportunity and a lot of juice here if we can align our data and our API’s and figure out what’s going to work for the digital customer, I FBC is awesome. I don’t really do anything anymore, right? Sure, I figured out the content, sure I do the automation. If the customer does this, strip them here, take them to the salesperson to collect the data, but that’s it. Once that starts, stuff starts working. It’s that we’re sleeping and we’re basically writing policies. So that’s where the future of marketing is. I really want you guys to think about programs. And then last but not least, we are launching a new newsletter internally for zinc called the lab. And, and that newsletter is going to go out to our customers or prospects but also to all of our carriers. And what’s gonna be really fun about me working on it is we’re going for the niches that we’re digging really deep into Deep on. So I’m using the social studio, I’m doing hours of market research, I’m communicating with people, with truckers, with contractors with whoever else. I want to start to talk about some of the data that we’re seeing. And I want to talk about which carriers have some of those collaborations within marketing, how they’re working out, right. So hey, I found out that you know, a digital marketplace for funeral homes with Central, we tried this method, and this is what happened. This is what I learned about the prospects, I learned that contractors exist on Facebook, right. And that they love that, that spending AdWords and Facebook for that class has been really successful for us. So you’re going to start to see a little bit more of that data through that newsletter and it’s going to give you guys an idea of the evolution of our marketing in partnership with you and how that’s panning out and yeah, If we already haven’t had those meetings please text me that’s the best way to get a hold of me even for a meeting as if you just text my personal number or email me