Before that headline receives a collective groan from everyone out there who loves insurance ads, let’s start here: Geico, State Farm, Liberty Mutual and Progressive (to name a few) are really funny advertisers. Like, legitimately funny. To the point that you actually enjoy their ads when they come on television.
That’s saying a lot, considering barely anyone likes when an advertisement interrupts whatever they’re watching. And it’s saying even more because barely anyone likes insurance companies.
So, let’s reframe that headline: If you’re an insurer who isn’t Geico, State Farm, Liberty Mutual or Progressive, you should definitely not pursue humor as your marketing approach. Why? Let us list the ways:
- You will never be as funny as them (sorry, but it’s true)
- You will never have as much money to spend on advertising as them
- You will never have the celebrity sponsorships that they’ve accrued
- Even if you were funnier than them (which, if you refer back to point 1 is not going to happen), the chances are slim at best that your humor would actually offer a truly compelling reason to buy from you instead of them
So, now that we’ve clarified (and proved!) that point, the natural next question is: What should insurance companies do if they want to win?
The answer is all about focus. As an example, have a look at PURE Insurance. Haven’t heard of PURE? That’s because unless you’re a high net worth individual, they don’t really want you on their books. PURE is an insurance company that delivers a unique offering, customer experience and value proposition specifically designed for high net worth individuals.
Some unique aspects of PURE:
- They don’t call their customers policyholders – they call them members
- They deliver premium surpluses back to their members
- They offer unique insurance policies for luxury homes, jewelry and art, luxury vehicles and more
- They offer concierge-level services via their Member Advocates
- They deliver a regular annual report to all their members featuring full financial transparency
- They reward 10-year members with “Gold” membership – featuring unique financial benefits
The results are clear. Take a look at the end of the annual report linked above, and you’ll see steady year-over-year growth in financials. A strong, ongoing growth of their membership base. And a 94% member-retention rate.
PURE isn’t funny – what they are is focused. And that’s what other insurance companies have to learn. The trick isn’t to try to out-funny the funny guys, but instead it’s to choose a niche and lean into it really, really hard.
This is not a wholly unique playbook – Lemonade went after millennials and USAA is built for military members and their families – but it is an approach that is completely under-utilized. By having a focus, insurers can design an offering, customer experience, messaging and marketing around a single audience’s unique needs. And once insurers do that, they suddenly are no longer a commoditized player in a shouting-match-turned-comedy-show – they have something truly valuable that they can offer.
So insurance marketers: The next time you see a funny insurance ad, please don’t say, “how can we be more like them?” – instead, ask, “how can we be different from them?” The answer is all about focus.