Chapter 7

Planning

Introduction:

Using Proven Strategies to Achieve a Sustainable Competitive Advantage

In today’s business environment, the power is in the hands of the consumer. As such, it is critical that your marketing strategy focuses on delivering exceptional value to them.

A good marketing strategy is game changing; revolutionising the way your business operates to achieve true success.

In order to be effective, your insurance marketing strategy must affect meaningful change and work toward a specific goal.

Tip 31: Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More

In today’s data-driven environment, it is important that clearly defined marketing strategies are implemented to generate the desired results.

Developing strategic goals will assist in determining the tactical approach that should be taken in the future. Outlining objectives helps to lay down the foundations and establish which goals are achievable and how they may be attained. This aids in providing your business with focus and direction, through classifying the most worthwhile opportunities for the company to pursue.

Save Time and Money

Planning also offers businesses the opportunity to save valuable time and money. Giving an intelligent focus enables businesses to allocate resources in the most efficient and economical way. Defining an effective marketing strategy is essential to avoid throwing money at unsuccessful programs or activities that don’t make sense for your business and the clients you have.

For example, if your company wants to increase online traffic, however, was giving a large proportion of their budget to outdoor advertising, strategic planning could help outline discrepancies in these goals and tactics.

This is beneficial not only on a monetary level but prevents companies from wasting time by focusing resources on initiatives that align with relative business objectives.

Improve Results

Ultimately, the aim of strategic planning is to eventually influence the results that will be measured and applied to future campaigns. Results are determined by the success of implemented tactics and therefore must be relevant to company goals.

Good advertising alone is not enough to drive results and must be matched with strategies that work well together. Knowing how to be strategic and how that transfers to the execution and measurement of results is vital in today’s marketing environment.

Through building marketing strategies and outlining plans, you will be better equipped to know what to measure and how to generate the results you require.

Tip 32: Get to Know Your Target Market

You can’t market your services effectively unless you know exactly who you want to promote to. This is known as your ‘target market.’

It’s important to understand your target market in terms of demographics, but also their typical behaviour patterns and attitudes. Before planning any marketing campaign, consider the following questions:

The best way to collect this information is to ask your existing clients some of these questions to gain a deeper insight into their behaviour.

When you have a deeper understanding of your target market, you can then focus your message, offers, and method of promotion around them.

Tip 33: Know Your Value Proposition

It is important to know what your business stands for and what you are offering your customers. What’s your promise? Knowing this will not only help you put out consistent messages and attract the right customers, it will also help you hire the right people and develop products and services that are aligned with your promise.

A must if you want to build a brand. A great way to secure a deeper understanding of your business’ intended message and offering is to write a value proposition.

A value proposition is a business or marketing statement that:

  • Explains how your product/service solves customers problems or improves their situation;
  • Differentiates you from your competitors and justifies why customers should buy from you and not them.

It is important that when you have determined a fitting value proposition that it is universally practiced and understood by all employees to ensure a consistent customer experience.

What Makes A Good Value Proposition?

  • A Headline: An attention-grabbing single sentence that tells the reader what the end-benefit is that you’re offering. (Can mention the product and/or the customer)
  • Sub-headline (or 2-3 sentence paragraph): A specific explanation of what your offering is, what
    it does, why it’s useful and who it’s for.
  • List of Key Benefits: 3 bullet points that detail the features/benefits of your offering
  • A Visual: An image can communicate your message much faster than words. Show your product in a way that reinforces your main message.

A good Value Proposition will be clear and concise so that customers can easily read and understand your offering and why they need it. If you’re unsure if your value proposition is covering everything just ensure that it answers the following questions:

  • What product or service are you selling?
  • What is the end-benefit of using it?
  • Who is your target customer for this product or service?
  • What makes your offering unique and different?
Tip 34: Set Marketing Objectives

It’s easier to get to where you’re going if you have a map and directions. It’s just as important to identify specific marketing objectives that support the long-term goals of your business.

In order to ensure you can meet these objectives, you should follow the SMART principles. SMART objectives provide a more structured approach to business planning and give more realistic targets that you can be confident of achieving.

Using SMART objectives and then measuring them helps business owners succeed. The following are the SMART principles that you should follow when filling out your marketing plan.

Specific: Using specific marketing objectives means focusing on one goal per plan. Each marketing objective should have its own detailed plan and clear goal in order to be effective and maximise efficiency.

Measurable: An effective marketing plan should have set out milestones and goals. The measurable aspects of your marketing plan can be things like the number of units sold, total revenue or number of enquiries. Your objectives should also be specific.

Achievable: Growing your business is a gradual and planned process. When you are creating a marketing plan it’s important to set goals that are achievable. Having realistic expectations increases motivation to achieve the final success outlined in the plans.

Realistic: Setting realistic objectives means ensuring you have the resources to make the objective happen such as manpower, budget and time.

Timed: A marketing plan should have a scheduled beginning and end. This is to allow an analysis of how the methods worked in attempting to produce results. Create a timeline for each marketing project that includes regular dates for monitoring progress and potentially adjusting the plan.

 

Examples of Marketing Objectives

Having a plan in place on how to best market your organisation will go a long way toward the overall success of your business. The first step in creating your marketing plan is to set clear, established goals.

Below are some examples of marketing objectives that may be relevant to your insurance business.

Objective 1: Increase Sales

Driving business and increasing sales is obviously one of the most important goals of marketing. It goes without saying that your marketing efforts should have a positive ROI (meaning the increase in sales should significantly exceed the cost
of the marketing). It is therefore important that your objectives are specific.

For example, rather than stating the objective of simply “increase sales by 40%”, your objective should relate directly to your campaign, such as “increase sales from SME retail businesses based in Wollongong by 40%”.

Objective 2: Increase Awareness of Your Services

Your marketing objective doesn’t have to be sales based. It can instead be focused on reviving or establishing interest in the products or services that you provide. For example, most people are aware that they need business insurance, but many believe that it’s cheaper and easier to find a policy online or by going direct to the insurer.

Your marketing objective could be based on raising the awareness of the role of an insurance broker and how they can be of benefit to your target demographic.

Objective 3: Establish Your Brand

Smaller organisations often find it difficult to be heard above the noise in a crowded marketplace. If your brand name is still relatively unknown, your marketing objective could focus on raising your profile in the market.

As such your marketing campaign and activities would be based around increasing the awareness and recognition of your brand name amongst your target market.

When creating your marketing plan, think about your business and what you want to achieve in the next 12 months. Maybe one of the above objectives is relevant for you, or maybe there’s something else that would help your business reach the growth that you want it to.

Bonus

Keep It Simple Stupid!

Follow the keep-it-simple-stupid (KISS) principle. Don’t overcomplicate pieces by being too wordy or relying on jargon. For example, don’t use the word “utilise”; rather than “use”; or rely on marketing buzzwords like “revolutionary”, and “innovative” to describe your company or product.

If you can make your point in five words rather than 20, use the five-word version. The simpler you make the idea, the faster someone will understand how you can help them and the more likely they will be to buy.

However, we recommend that you don’t outsource your start-up marketing until you have dedicated resources internally to support your plan.

Tip 35: You Don't Have to Break The Bank

If you’re a start-up and don’t have a lot of money, these tools are your friends.

  1. Free trials: If you sign up for trials, take advantage of the high- touch support teams – especially for free trials offered by start- ups that care about your feedback. This can sometimes lead to an extended trial or more features for free or a reduced price.
  2. Free tools: This may sound obvious, but there are actually quite a lot of free tools you can take advantage of for your start-up marketing program that can do the job 99 percent of the time. For example, Google Analytics is the way to go until you’re at an advanced level. Don’t get hung up on needing to have the absolute best (or have whatever it was you used when you had your day job). Just use what is cheap and functional, even if it’s not pretty.
  3. Ferret out UI weakness: Consider using heat map technology to track the web actions of your users. You can do this through Google Analytics in real-time mode, but there are actually specific tools out there that are more robust as they are purpose-built, such as MouseFlow. Through this tool, you can watch video commentating live of people actually using your product (live feedback). It can be painful and often laborious if they don’t understand certain aspects, but it’s extremely useful.
Tip 36: Don't Be Afraid to Make 'Mistakes'

We all know that there is nothing more terrifying in your working life than the fear of making a mistake. Whether it be reading over an email that you just sent out to 25,000 recipients and realising you had a typo in the subject line, or making a change to your offering that your buyers met with resounding distaste.

Marketing a growing insurance business requires taking risks and sometimes those risks don’t pay off. But it is important to understand that it is not a lack of mistakes that lead to a successful business – every entrepreneur has made mistakes. There are two key ideas that successful business-people need to embrace when it comes to their business and their approach to risk:

  • Don’t get complacent;
  • Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes.

Direct marketing guru, Drayton Bird stated that “The worst habits are: first, to start thinking you’re good; second, to stop trying so hard.” Bird goes on to say “When we are successful, we tend to go out and celebrate. This in itself is usually a mistake.

What we should do is capitalise on our success. For example, if you have a winning mailing or email, follow up. An email sent out the next day that repeats one that worked will get 80 to 90 percent of the response. A follow-up mailing sent out two weeks later will usually get 50 percent of the response.”

Drayton Bird and other savvy marketers embody the firm belief that we learn more from failure than success. “We are forced to ask ourselves what went wrong — and we learn,” he says. “As I have had far, far more failures than most people, I have learned a lot.”

Remember that when it comes to marketing, it is absolutely essential to be prepared to adjust your strategy when it’s not working.

So get out there and don’t be afraid to take some risks!