My title for this blog could just as well have been “George Nordhaus – A Marketing Man for All Insurance Agencies”. Most of the agency principals with whom I interact know his name. They will tell me that they remember George’s marketing products, presentations and/or interviews – all developed and presented with the purpose of enhancing the world of insurance marketing, to the benefit of so many agency operations and the industry in general.
Always sincere, enthusiastic and with so much energy in his efforts, George is still “out there” in his marketing ideas laboratory, cooking-up solutions to fit the needs of insurance agencies of all shapes and sizes.
Specifically he employs his unending energy to produce “Monday Morning”, a series of timely interviews with various people in the insurance industry, all who want to spread their messages through the efforts of George Nordhaus. Additionally, he oversees the operations of Agencies-On-Line, LLC – www.agenciesonline.biz and Insurance Hiring System –www.insurancehiringsystem.com.
Has any one person done more in the last fifty-plus years to promote insurance industry marketing? It is doubtful.
Under ‘Advice for Contacting George’ on his LinkedIn profile, he states: “I am totally open to just about anything that concerns marketing”. That sums it up. He is open to everyone.
You owe it to yourself to check-out his resources. Guys like him are few and far between. In an era with so many different marketing information providers, with his unique and time-tested approaches, George Nordhaus is truly one of a special breed.
Within your agency’s marketing plan under the ‘strategies’ section, you need to answer the following questions:
In what ways will you be attracting business? Through direct sales approaches – Internet Marketing – Referrals – Cross-selling to existing clients – Mail solicitation, etc.?
Who will conduct which of these activities? You – Designated staff members – In-house – Third-parties – a Consultant, etc.? –
Exactly what will be your promoted specialties? What markets, lines of business or special products?
How are you going to assess progress and measure it? How often will you check on progress?
What training will be needed? Who will conduct it? What forms of delivery might it take?
Consider these questions when you are developing your strategies. The time to take the efforts to think them through very clearly can pay big dividends for you. You do not want to operate without these strategies defined within your marketing plan.
The management of many insurance agencies develop their written marketing plans, share them with a few prospective carriers and ‘shelve’ them. Operations change, of course and should be reflected in an agency’s marketing plan. So, it is important to update plans to reflect a current ‘picture’ of the agency’s plans, particularly those for acquiring new business, retaining existing clients and cross-selling to them.
Depending on the format of the plan, it is usually not difficult to include new items, strategies, team members, etc. Check with the developer of your marketing plan, to see if the service for which you paid includes updates.
My marketing plan development services include free, unlimited updates for two years – maybe longer, if you provide a referral for me!
When planning to write a marketing plan for your Agency, do not get caught up in thinking that it will be a daunting task. While you need to take your time and think through the specifics of your plan, you should start by answering these basic questions first:
Who are you and what differentiates your Agency?
What do you do and where do you do it?
Who are you ideal clients?
What are your strategies to get your ideal clients to buy from you and bond with you, to stay with you?
If you start by answering these basic questions first, you will have established a strong foundation for a useful and effective marketing plan.
Last week, in a discussion with a new client independent insurance agent, I asked, as I always do…if there was a written marketing plan for the agency. I always explain to agents that if they do not have a current, written marketing, they need to prepare one. Last week the agent asked me “Why?”.
My answer was that there are several good reasons, as a solid marketing plan serves multiple purposes. There are both internal benefits and external ones.
One of the most important internal reasons is that it provides a ‘road-map’ for the activities and goals that will be needed for the agency to be successful. You have to know where your are going and you have to plan the best route or routes to get there. Instead of preparing a marketing plan and storing it on a shelf, it should be referred to regularly, to ascertain progress and direction.
Additionally, as one of the external purposes, it lends a level of professionalism to the agency, especially in the eyes of the carriers’ representatives. An agency with a well thought-out and developed plan will stand-out over other agencies that have no plan to display to the carriers.
Another very practical external purpose for a good written marketing plan is to provide a clear picture of the agency’s production plans for current carriers and those that the agency might be attempting to take-on. It is not generally important to include detailed financials – that is for the business plan – of which the marketing plan is a critical piece. The carrier Reps are not usually interested in the financials of an agency. They are more concerned with production issues. With that in mind, I always tell agents that one of the most important things with regard to a marketing plan is that it tells the carrier “how” the agency plans to acquire and write the quality business that the respective carriers are wanting from the agency. Show them your road-map!