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Does Insurance Advertising Drive Results? (Part 2 of 2)


Last week you read about brand recognition. This week learn more on what makes advertising resonate and achieve results.

What Makes Advertising Resonate and Achieve Results?
Advertising in any forum-whether traditional or online-is only as effective as its ability to address consumers' interests and differentiate the company from its competitors.

"Insurance people, whether they're agencies or company folks really need to be thinking more about their constituents and what their constituents want and need rather than what may seem cool or attractive or whatever about their own brand," says O'Brien.

Ironically, he says, "in doing what they're doing they're not differentiating themselves in any way." Can insurance advertising be effective? Yes, it absolutely can, says O'Brien. "But it needs to consider the target audience and convey the appropriate message-that's the big missing piece."

Martinez also notes that what resonates with consumers changes over time. She strongly recommends that advertisers in any industry stay in tune with their customers. "If you want to grow your audience, find out what your current audience's thoughts are," she advises. "What is it that they enjoy about your company? Then take that to the next level and make sure you advertise that."

Lon Safko is the author of The Social Media Bible and The Fusion Marketing Bible. He says that ever since the spontaneous combustion of social media as a means to communicate and cultivate customers, marketing professionals in large organizations have been questioning the value of traditional advertising spend and ROI over Facebook, Twitter, and similar platforms. But, he adds, that's not really the issue. Traditional advertising still has a place and can yield results that are commensurate with the lofty budgets that support it. But, that advertising needs to be tied to a strong WIIFM- "what's in it for me?"- from the consumer's point of view.

Safko recommends a "fused" approach to advertising communications which leverages multiple channels to build synergy and measurable results. "The solution in my opinion is fusing everything you're doing, so that one is driving the other and you get critical mass," he says.

While many advertisers these days are using social media, web sites and other online communications in addition to traditional media, Safko says they are not strategically and effectively tying those channels together.

"When I do a print ad I'm directing people to Facebook. When I get them to Facebook I'm asking them to follow me on Twitter. I send out my tweets and I'm asking them to sign up for my email campaign. In the email they're directed to connect with me on LinkedIn. On LinkedIn there's a link to a unique web site URL."

Adds Safko, "Every single time you make those connections you're increasing the traffic and the effect. You're integrating what you're currently doing and putting in a tracking method in between so you know what's working and what's not."

If you're hoping to entertain the masses and create iconic characters that are remembered for years to come, follow the lead of companies like Progressive, Geico, or Allstate. If you're hoping to achieve real results from your advertising, though, the experts stress that a back-to-basics approach may be the smarter strategy.

Lin Grensing-Pophal has written on topics ranging from health and wellness, to careers and HR-related topics, to marketing and social media. Her most recent book, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Strategic Planning" (Penguin), was released in spring 2011. Lin is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of Health Care Journalists, and the Society of Professional Journalists.