Edge to the little guy? Or will billions win?

Fighting Carriers - Med

What will $4 BILLION buy?

The big guys in the personal lines insurance industry must be charging way too much for their product.  Why else would they be able to spend BILLIONS, yes I said BILLIONS, of dollars kicking each other around the broadcast airwaves. Flo versus Mayhem vs Geckos, Cavemen and whatever else Warren Buffet's money can buy.  Where is it going to stop? And when? 

According to Advertising Age, it doesn't look like the budgets on crazy spending are going to be cut anytime soon.  And all for a product you don't understand, don't want to buy, and don't want to use once you've bought it.  How does that make any sense? 
David & Goliath - Med

Meanwhile, back in the Northwest

PEMCO Insurance, where I am the CMO,  is standing in David's shoes looking up at all the Goliath's and he's holding a new and improved slingshot.  There's no big war chest behind the nimble David, but he's surrounded himself with thousands and thousands of like-minded friends who don't mind giving him a boost now and then. They sing his praises.  Because David, er PEMCO, is. . .  A lot like them. A little different.

Another trade publication, Insurance and Technology,  came out this week with a feature story that talked about the new slingshot. They call it social media. I call it social engagement. I explained why in an interview for the story.

For me, it comes down to the noun and verb of it all. We know that nouns are people, places and things. Verbs, on the other hand, show action.  Isn't it more important to be concerned about what you are doing (engagement is a verb) than to worry so much about the new tools that are available to do it (media is a noun)?

The way I look at it, while the big guys are fighting it out with the big broadcast budgets, the edge might very well go to the company that outflanks them with powerful, talk-worthy relationships.

I hope you'll take a look at both stories and let me know what you think.  See the edge?

Add A New Comment

  • Rod Brooks
    Mar. 1, 2011
    Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your perspective Brian. Come back and visit anytime.

  • Brian Hansford
    Feb. 28, 2011
    Nice post Rod. Just because companies have the budget to invest in major campaigns or acquisitions doesn't mean they will succeed. I always take the David over the Goliath, mostly because I like underdogs and a focus on service, execution and getting things done!

    In your industry I have to wonder how much the Progressive's and Geico's of the world would save and steadily grow if they focused on customer retention and service versus creating entertaining TV commercials. Sure, a fun TV ad campaign is good for the ego. But at then end of the day are they REALLY keeping the customers they land as a result of those ads? Maybe they are. But is the massive spend worth it? Me thinks not. But then again I'm old school. ;-)

    Brian Hansford

The Fine Print

Rod Brooks (that's me) is VP & CMO of PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).  It's important to disclose both of those relationships and to be clear that this is my personal blog where I share thoughts and opinions that are solely my own.  Contact me!

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