Advertising specialties — products that contain your company’s logo and message — are a valuable part of any insurance marketing strategy. And they have been for more than 150 years. It’s said that the first recorded use of an advertising specialty was in 1845, when an insurance agent in New York came up with the idea of putting his agency name, address and message on calendars and distributing them for free to local businesses to display in their stores and offices.
Schwag. If you’ve ever been to any kind of trade show, from an electronic trade show like Comdex or PC Expo, to a national or state insurance conference, you know that advertising specialties are as popular as ever today. Why do insurance companies and big brand names like Apple and Yahoo still give away things like t-shirts, coffee mugs, pens, bobble heads and, yes, even calendars?
Because people like them. They like to wear them, drink out of them, write with them, display them at their desks and put them on their walls. And it’s totally win-win. They have the fun, and the sponsor gets the publicity.
Trivial pursuits? Some agents may resist using advertising specialties because they think they’re trivial and that putting your business name on a pen or a Frisbee somehow demeans your professionalism. I think using ad specialties has quite a different effect though. These fun and often useful free gifts humanize you and your business. Frankly, insurance products lack an emotional dimension. A health insurance or auto policy, as essential as it might be, can never elicit the emotional response of a new car, an espresso machine or even a computer. When you sell insurance, you are at a distinct disadvantage in this respect. That’s what makes using advertising specialties all the more important for insurance agents.
Plus, consider the research. Baylor University did a study of the attitudes of customers who received small, after-sale gifts, such as a pocket calculator. They compared them with customers who, after the sale, received only a thank you letter. The study showed that the customers who received the gift rated the ability of their sales people 34% higher than the customers who received only the letter.
Another study found that the customers of a dry cleaner who received promotional products patronized their dry cleaner 49% more than customers who received coupons instead.
There’s no doubt that advertising specialties should play a role in your insurance marketing plan, whether you use calendars, pens or some of the more unusual and fun premium gifts available. We hope you’ll visit our promotional products website and let us help you.
In my next post, I’ll mention some of the occasions appropriate for using advertising specialties.