The lack of effective, or even decent, marketing in the work comp services and insurance industry is all but universal. It is also damaging – to the industry as well as to individual companies. And it is dumb.
The value of a brand is well-documented;
- A study by Interbrand indicates one-third of shareholder value can be attributed to the company’s brand.
- Ford has been dumping hard assets in favor of brand names – Jaguar, for instance – and has seen an appreciable rise in the company’s market share and value.
A brand is build by marketing – which is NOT communications or proposal writing or trade shows or parties at trade shows or trinkets given to adjusters.
Marketing – BIG M MARKETING – is all of those and more. It starts with defining the value you bring to a specific segment. It requires a simple and clear statement of that value so that potential buyers understand how it relates to them, and that must resonate. And it continues from there.
But the purpose of this post is not to provide a primer on marketing or branding, but rather to call attention to the dearth of effective marketing. My sense is this happens because most leaders just don’t get marketing – they think it is soft, fluff, a waste, a nice-to-have, when in reality it is a have-to-have. Companies have to stand for something, mean something, and that “something” isn’t what the leader THINKS it is, it is what the market thinks it is.
How do you know if you have effective marketing? Obviously, or perhaps for some less than obviously, market research. What do users/buyers/influencers think of your company ? How do you know? No, how do you REALLY know?
Objective and well-designed market research.
Allow me to close with an example of what effective marketing can do.
I give you Joe Paduda. (forgive the use of the third-person)
A consultant in the industry, known by a few folks eight years ago, mostly former co-workers and colleagues, Paduda is now quite well-known throughout the industry. He has keynoted the two largest conferences, is a sought-after speaker and expert, almost four thousand people subscribe to his blog, and many seek to curry favor with him, or avoid pissing him off. His client list is extensive, he does not work cheap, and he regularly turns down projects.
The “Paduda brand” drives success. Smart, insightful, opinionated, honest, fair, objective with deep understanding of the industry and strong strategic sense. A tendency to be bleeding-edge (not politically, altho some would disagree, but rather too far in front of trends) and occasionally, and pretty publicly, wrong.
If I can do it, so can you. All it requires is consistent commitment, a willingness to spend money, and a relentless focus on building and strengthening your brand.
What does this mean for you?
Success – or lack thereof.