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Be Bold and Think Outside the Box to Launch New Program

Featuring Nanci Evarts, Marketing Strategies Group


Posted on 15 Apr 09

Nanci Evarts, president of Marketing Strategies Group, attended our Peak Performance Conference this past January and, as she did last year, shared another winning idea with us.

Nanci’s client – a large, national wholesaler – had developed a new program designed for the Scenic and Shortline Railroad sector. This was a new market entry for both the wholesaler and their specialty carrier partner. The market was heavily dominated by carriers entrenched in the sector for years. “We had to come up with a branding program that was bold, high-profile and called attention to the wholesaler’s program in a very competitive industry,” said Nanci “We wanted to take advantage of the fact that these buyers – and even their brokers – lived and breathed anything and everything about railroads. It went beyond their business interests – it was their passion in life.”

Nanci and her team developed a marketing strategy designed to announce the program at an annual tradeshow of the Scenic and Shortline Railroad industry. It was a joint marketing effort with the wholesaler and its E&S partner.

“We launched the program at a tradeshow in Washington, DC attended by owners [the insureds] and retail brokers,” explains Nanci. “We wanted to create a brand and a presence that both the owners and the brokers would respond to. We used a bold consumer marketing approach in a business-to-business environment.”

On the initial morning of the conference, when attendees opened their hotel room door, they found a full “front-page newspaper” announcing the new program with six different articles and colorful pictures. The fake front page was actually wrapped around the daily newspaper and delivered to their hotel rooms. At the tradeshow, the wholesaler’s booth was graced with a beautiful photo of a well-known locomotive, which caused lots of “buzz” on the show floor.

Finally, the tradeshow was known for evening events, entertaining owners and their brokers, typically held at high-profile restaurants. For this audience, there was high value in establishing a social, as well as business, relationship.

“We chose to ‘up the ante’ by hosting an elegant, formal dinner at the Railroad Hall of the Smithsonian Museum. The beautifully set tables were surrounded by antique railroads and the museum’s curator gave a presentation on the history of railroads. About 150 people attended the dinner. “It was real coup to get a dinner hosted at the Smithsonian…it’s not something that happens easily,” says Nanci. “People were coming up to us asking how we pulled it off. Even competitors came up to us asking, ‘how did you do that’?”

“The program was a big success. The wholesaler and its market partner quickly established significant business and marketshare," says Nanci. “The launch also led to a series of events over a 5- to 6-year period that further established the wholesaler and its market partner in the industry.”

Marketing Strategies Group, Inc., based in Westlake Village, California, is a marketing consulting group that provides the insurance industry with business development programs. Clients include: insurance carriers, retailers, wholesalers, MGAs, TPAs and reinsurers. The company develops and executes dynamic marketing plans to help businesses grow. To learn more, call Nanci Evart at: 805.379.1261.


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