Many years ago, I realized that in order for my business to be a company, it needed to have a solid structure in place to maintain the workflow, manage growth and, of course, manage people. As my company grew, so too did the systems and procedures.
As I write this column, the industry has filed multiple lawsuits and is facing one of the most important legal battles in the past decade. It’s a battle against formidable forces — the Department of Labor and President Barack Obama. At stake are billions of dollars of premium and a lot of companies’ futures. Regardless of the outcome, you can rest assured that big changes are on the horizon. Uncertainty will continue to surround our business well into the foreseeable future.
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.