5.28.2009

Selling Auto Insurance The Hard Way ... Like Nationwide

It goes like this:
1) Send a direct mail package to people who don't have your coverage, like the one above, which I just received from Nationwide. (Getting people to switch is hard.)

2) Try to get me to switch without a "savings" message in the main headlines. 

As I said, getting people to switch their auto insurance is hard. BUT getting people to switch without a promise of how much they can save is even harder. So don't put any promises on the envelope. Don't even allude to the fact that I can save money by switching, like Nationwide.

After all, sometimes it's hard to quote an exact amount. So why bother? All the other auto insurance companies who say you can save say things like "drivers who switched saved $375 on average."* (Notice the "*" after the statement; it always has to be footnoted with the actual survey information, to back it up. If you don't have this kind of back-up documentation for a savings statement, you can't make one. Simple as that.) 

GEICO doesn't even have to quote a specific dollar amount for their savings promise. They just show a stack of bills with eyeballs on top of it, and say "this is the money you could be saving" if you switched to GEICO. We get it. Saving money motivates us. That's why people switch to GEICO. And you need to motivate people out of inertia if you want to get them to switch.

Ok, so ...
3) IF I happen to open the envelope, tell me I've been "4 GIVN," like the Nationwide mailing above. For what I've been forgiven, I don't know ... but since I was not born yesterday, I have a suspicion that you're talking about forgiving me for my bad driving record. After all, everyone knows that a bad driving record could drive up my insurance rates. 

The problem is ... I don't have a bad driving record. I, in fact, have a great driving record.  So you must be mailing to a lot of the wrong people and working with a bad list. I should be on the "good drivers" list. 

But back to the point of all this. Nationwide is trying to sell auto insurance the hard way ... so this is permissible. Nationwide, you are forgiven.

Oh, and 3a) Did I mention this mailing with it's message of forgiveness has a somewhat religious tone to it? Here's what Keywords, a blog has to say about that... and apparently this kit from Nationwide is not a new mailing. Someone got it back in February of this year. So it may be working if Nationwide is still mailing it now, in May. 

4) Make your call to action real small, like Nationwide did. Don't put the number to call big and bold on the piece. Like maybe at top of the letter or the bottom of that nice blue band on the left side. But leave lots of room for three local agents to list their names, addresses and phone numbers at the bottom. Maybe I'll call one of them. Or maybe not. I can't decide who to call. Forgive me for my indecision!

Life Comes at You Fast(R) - that's the Nationwide campaign slogan. And this mailing is going in the trash even faster. Better luck next time, Nationwide. At least with me. 

3 comments:

Ted Grigg said...

All good points Cynthia.

As far as targeting is concerned, I don't believe it is possible to omit those with good driving records. In fact, even drivers' license files used to be available from most states just a few years ago. Now, the new privacy law movement has made them unavailable.

But I believe this mailing is indeed targeting people who believe they are prisoners of their present insurance companies due to a recent or past claim. And shopping for a better deal is an exercise in futility.

This insurance company wants such people to not give up and contact them for a quote.

If they can accept such drivers in sufficient quantity, then I suspect that this main selling proposition will work well.

To my knowledge, no well known auto insurance company has taken this approach.

Cynthia Maniglia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cynthia Maniglia said...

Ted, thanks for adding interesting points, as well, to the discussion. I agree there is a market for this approach and it must be working, or else Nationwide wouldn't continue to mail it (unless they are strapped in their new creative development budget or don't have any old "controls" they could revamp for this market). And for many drivers, being able to get affordable insurance despite having a not-so-perfect driving record could be an absolute blessing. You are correct about the new privacy law making it difficult to correctly target the right market for this mailing - thanks again for adding this piece of intelligence to the topic. Have a great weekend.

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