In the hustle and bustle of the Q4 crazy, planning your marketing strategy for the upcoming year can easily get shifted to last on the list when it comes to prioritization. 

Unfortunately, the more this gets pushed aside, the more you will find yourself scrambling at the beginning of the year to get your ducks in a row. 

Being a insurance agency marketing team of one, I've learned through the years – and from my great friends at Q4intelligence – that the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) methodology of strategizing is the only way to go.

Whether you're working in marketing or as a broker/producer, there are three keys to focus on when doing strategy planning or creation. 

1.) Does this activity strengthen the brand? 

This one seems easy, right? But believe it or not, this can sometimes be the most challenging.

We naturally tend to think that ANYTHING we do strengthens the brand. But the real focus here is on the word STRENGTHEN. There is a big difference between brand recognition and strengthening the brand. Can anyone say Enron? There was A LOT of brand recognition involved there, but definitely not a STRENGTHENING of their brand.

In the world of insurance, I see a lot of 'throwing up' the brand everywhere without really thinking about what it's doing for your company's image. For instance, if you're wanting to be a thought leader but placing FREE QUOTE HERE on everything, it doesn't really strengthen that brand image for you.

Before you do any marketing or sales activity that focuses on strengthening the brand, ask yourself the question, “Does this portray what I want to say about my company's brand identity?” Another good question to ask is, “What does doing this activity say about my brand?"

If you feel good about your answers, then go for it! But always make sure to evaluate afterwards to ensure your activity fulfilled the purpose you were looking for. 

2.) Does this activity influence or generate leads? 

By FAR, this is the #1 request when I ask anyone what they 'want' from marketing. It's not a bad question to ask. Here's the kicker though: Once you get these all-elusive leads, what are you going to do with them?

It's actually pretty easy to generate a lot of leads, but without having a strategy around what will happen with them, how you qualify them, etc. it makes it pretty darn difficult to track. I will honestly admit that this has been a struggle of mine since I started in the industry five years ago. What I can say from experience is this: Don't run around like a chicken with your head cut off frantically trying to get leads.

First, start out by defining what types of leads you want, then work through how the process works of qualifying those leads. Is it marketing? is it automation? Is it a business development representative?

Once you have that process defined, it's much easier to determine how to influence or generate leads rather than just throwing a dart at a wall and hoping something sticks. 

3.) Does this activity win client loyalty or engagement? 

We've all heard the saying, "It's easier to keep a client than get a new one."  That's exactly what this key focuses on. Client loyalty can not only lead to keeping the business, but it can also lead to referrals which means what??? NEW BUSINESS.

This is a great question to ask yourself when sending client-based emails, planning client initiatives, posting to social media, and more. For instance, if you're constantly posting to social media with the latest news in your effort to gain new business, you might completely miss out on congratulating a client for a work anniversary, or recognizing them for being a part of something big in the community. The list goes on.

The point of this key is to ensure you don't spend so much time going after new leads that you forget about what got you to where you are – your clients.

Having a happy client as a brand evangelist for your organization is better than having 1,000 cold leads.

Some great ideas for marketing activities around client loyalty: 

  • Ask for their opinion! Send a client survey a few times a year. 
  • Ask them for content that they believe is relevant. Maybe even see if some of your HR experts and C-Suite execs will write something as a guest blogger.  
  • Create a special event just for your clients to show your appreciation. 
  • Share their posts and like their pages. Show them that they are important to you. 

Now is the time to get strategic

I've always loved this quote from Henry Ford: "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't -- you're right."

So many times, I hear others push back on not believing in marketing, or not needing to create a strategy because they know what they are doing. Ironically, these are also the same people that consistently complain about not having a full pipeline and not having enough opportunities.

So, when it comes down to it, think you can and GO FOR IT. Having some sort of strategy to get you to your goals is better than having none at all. Or letting another year slip by…

Photo by jossdiim

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