“Big data” has become a buzzword many marketers are throwing around these days, but many companies still don’t know what to do with it. Thanks to technology, the amount of data that marketers have at their fingertips is vast and can quickly overwhelm. So, what should YOU be looking at in order to leverage data and, ultimately, optimize your marketing strategy?
Start at the end
It’s important to work backward when using data for marketing insights. What is your end goal? What obstacles are you trying to overcome? Write them down. When you outline what you’re looking to accomplish, you can more easily determine how and where to find the data you need.
The single most effective way marketers can use data is to know what your prospects’ biggest problems are and determine how to effectively communicate that you can solve their problems.
Let me use an example. Let’s say you identify that you are able to successfully contract with enough producers, but getting them to consistently write business with you is where you fall short. You’ve identified you would be able to hit your goals this quarter if you could re-engage just 5 percent of your contracted producers.
Now you can theorize what the underlying problems are: They’re getting better commissions elsewhere, maybe they’re not as comfortable or informed about selling the products you offer, you’re simply not top of mind for them, or maybe they had a bad experience somewhere in the process of doing business with you.
This is when data comes to the rescue. Pull a report on how many producers have not written a policy with you for the past six months. Then look for trends — what kind of policies were they selling? What was the average length of underwriting time? Looking for trends is one way to uncover a potential problem that you need to fix.
|Analyze This||Use This||With These Resources|
|Agent insights/needs||Internal agent survey||Use free online resource: SurveyMonkey|
|Association/media data||LIMRA and associations like NAILBA provide a wealth of research data and surveys so you don’t have to do the heavy lifting yourself.|
|Market opportunities||competitor analysis grid||Look online for helpful templates and resources.|
|Marketing positing map||Google “market positioning map” to learn how to chart your company against the competition.|
|Campaign metrics||Excel chart or advertiser dashboard||Track all metrics per medium. There’s a wealth of data to analyze: quantity sent, opens, impressions, clicks, click to conversion, likes, forwards and quantity, quality of leads, etc.|
|Campaign ROI||Excel chart||Track cost per campaign, leads generated and conversion ratio, and make sure you know the average value of a producer to calcualate ROI.|
|Average value of a producer||Lifetime producer value||Take the average annual production, calculate your overrides and extend this for an average life expectancy of three to five years. See an example chart here.|
But you need to take it one step further. Using the trends you uncover, now it’s time to go to the source. Send a survey to your inactive producers and ask them. Provide an incentive for completing the survey. You can go even further by making a list of five producers who “ghosted” and actually call them to ask them for feedback. You’d be surprised how many will take five to10 minutes to give you, hopefully, constructive and candid feedback.
Use that data to not only address the problem but also to construct a “win back” campaign that addresses the changes you’re making to benefit advisors.
Justify your marketing budget
Another area where data is instrumental in an efficient marketing strategy is keeping track of advertising metrics. I can’t believe how many advertisers don’t know how much it costs them to contract with a producer or convert a lead. If you’re not keeping track of this, how can you justify your investment or know where your best leads are coming from?
The bottom line is that without data you can’t know where to efficiently drive your marketing efforts. You’ll save time and money by using data to understand exactly what is working and what is not working.
I read a good quote just the other day that summed up the importance of data in marketing:
“Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed.”
There is no more relying on your gut. Blind marketing just won’t cut it in today’s competitive landscape. Data is no longer for the nerds — it is for smart marketers like you.