Ever wonder how a company, armed with basically the same products, seems to rise to a different level in what is clearly a crowded and homogenized market? While the core of their business might be the same as everyone else’s and they ebb and flow with the same economic winds and conditions, their business grows while others struggle.
In the past 5 years, we have seen many new marketing organizations and carriers rise from obscurity to the top of the production scoreboards, while their competitors seemed to idly stand by.
Jim Rohn, one of my favorite quotable speakers of all time, said, “It’s not the blowing of the wind that determines your destination. It is the set of the sail. The same wind blows on us all: The wind of disaster, the wind of opportunity, the wind of change, the favorable wind and the unfavorable wind. The difference of where you will arrive in 1 year, 2 years or even 5 is not the blowing of the wind; it is the set of the sail.”
A good friend of mine, who is a senior marketing executive at a major carrier, once told me that “every agent you have will leave you. It might be 6 months, 5 years or even 10, but one day they will move on to greener pastures or just die on you.” That’s a scary statement, but unfortunately it’s true.
In order for a marketing company or carrier to reach its full sales potential, it must be in front of the market and always looking for new producers. In this industry, it is not uncommon to see 20% turnover of your producers annually. More than half of the annual turnover is typically caused by factors outside of one’s control, such as death, disinterest, lack of business, retiring or changing markets. But the fact remains that in 5 years, you will have to replenish almost all of your producers.
What if you could create the perfect advertisement or marketing message every time? You know those campaigns that light your phone system up like a Christmas tree for weeks on end and jam your inbox with a massive influx of new producers clamoring to contract with you.
Marketing is the life blood of your company. It is the most important “thing” that you do, because without it, you will have little success retaining producers and attracting new ones. Every company is a marketing company, whether they produce a widget or sell any sort of product or service. You are in the business of marketing your service and how effective your marketing is will dictate how successful you are.
The good news is that most of your competitors don’t understand the true power of marketing, so there is a huge opportunity for those that get it right. And the best news? There is a shortcut to achieving high levels of marketing success and it’s all covered in my recent article published in NAILBA’s Perspective Magazine.
Check it out now and let me know what you think.
This might sound familiar to many in this industry: Where are the business builders of tomorrow going to come from? How are we going to develop competent and responsible workers and managers? And perhaps most important, who will light the fire of entrepreneurship in the next generation?
These questions drove me crazy as a business owner. They really raged whenever we posted a job opening. Not only did applicants not have the skills or the drive to do the work, but they also didn’t even know how to present themselves at an interview. And these were well-paying jobs for creative types. I got a sense that people thought they were entitled to a job just for being them.
I have heard the same thing from agency owners lamenting that they had nobody to take on the business they worked so hard to build.
Here is my challenge to you: Do something about it.
If you are looking to increase your response rates and effectiveness with your marketing and advertising, I have a must-read interview for you on Content Marketing.
Content Marketing has become a mainstay for today’s top brands to attract new clients, generate more business from existing customers, and position themselves as thought leaders. The most successful advertisers with my company rely exclusively on Content Marketing to recruit new agents. In fact, one of our advertisers has generated 4,357 producer leads so far this year with just two free report offers.
September 11, 2012
2012 min IMA Awards
New York City, Marriott Marquis
Last week I attended an award ceremony for magazine publishers and advertising agencies, where I was up for two awards; Marketer of the Year and Lead Generation Initiative. The award ceremony is run by an organization called “min”, which publishes research, news and reports that all of the major print media companies read and study.
Being my first time at the award ceremony, I wasn’t sure what to expect. So I arrived a few minutes early, grabbed a cup of coffee and tried to sit as close as possible. Being early would have been an advantage, but unfortunately the front two-thirds of the room were reserved tables with flags showing big names such as Time, Hearst Digital, Hearst Integrated Media, Condé Nast, GQ Magazine and global advertising agencies, like GroupM, Universal McCann, Mullen and MEC. At $4,000 a table, I guess they deserved to sit near the front.
“Quick, we need to promote this new product; let’s get an ad out, we need activity on this today!” Or perhaps, “We really need to recruit more producers, let’s start doing a little advertising.”
Unfortunately, for some marketing organizations and distributors, this is how their marketing department is being run and how critical marketing decisions are being made day after day, month after month, year after year.
“The most important functions of a business are marketing and innovation. EVERYTHING else is an expense.” – Peter Drucker
It is all too common that Marketing Organizations (MO) and BGAs conduct “new” producer lead generation as a series of isolated activities and are frustrated by the results—an ad here, a direct mailer there, a tradeshow here — with little continuity or overall strategy. Your marketing has to be deliberate or it’s useless.
To grow bigger, faster and be stronger, marketing organizations must continue to attract NEW producer leads into their recruiting funnel. To create the ultimate recruiting machine, you must utilize multiple channels so you can drive a steady flow of NEW prospective agents. Since, different types of media will always produce different results and attract different types of producers, it is always wise to utilize multiple channels.
The most successful and rapidly growing organizations know they have to keep their pipeline full by continually adding new prospects, while continuing to work with current and past prospects. They know that they have to be EVERYWHERE their ideal producers are; whether it’s online, email, search engines, direct mail, or industry trade magazines. They are also fully aware that if they aren’t in front of the marketplace (and current producers), their competition is.
A Marketing Organization’s number 1 priority should always be recruiting. The saying rings true, “no producers, no business” (and no profits). Just because you have a producer contracted doesn’t mean that they will write business with you or stay with you for decades. In order to maintain your current sales force, you have to continually be recruiting new producers just to keep up with the natural attrition within our industry.
Sadly, many marketing organizations don’t know what the Lifetime Value (LV) of a producer is to their business. Nor do they know what it costs them to recruit a new producer.
If you are among the few who do know, it makes it much easier to determine not only what you spend on marketing, but how to calculate the services, value-adds and incentives used to recruit producers, retain them longer and prevent them from ever leaving your company.