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Fifteen Minutes a Day...That's All We Ask

By Ted Huntington

Posted on 06 Oct 10

In 1986 Blue Diamond Almonds launched a highly successful ad campaign, featuring one of the most memorable slogans ever, "A Can a Week, That's All We Ask." The objective of the campaign was simple: get consumers to consider almonds as a regular snack food. One reason why the campaign was so well received was because Blue Diamond set realistic expectations. The company did not ask consumers to replace all their other snacks with their product. They just wanted families to buy a can a week of their almonds.

Insurance agents and brokers need to set similar objectives when it comes to their marketing endeavors. As busy insurance professionals, you spend your day quoting, selling, underwriting, handling IT issues, resolving staffing problems, interacting with company a nutshell, running your business. Every agency wants to focus more resources and energy on marketing. But unfortunately, once the day gets hectic the first agenda item that gets put off until tomorrow is your marketing plan.

That's why we've come up with the following slogan for our agent and broker friends: 15 MINUTES A DAY...THAT'S ALL WE ASK.

If it worked for Blue Diamond Almonds, it can work for the insurance agency industry, as well.

How can you make this slogan work for your agency? Follow this simple plan:

• Print out the slogan in big bold letters and affix it to a prominent location in your office, such as on top of your computer screen. This way the slogan 15 MINUTES A DAY...THAT'S ALL WE ASK will be constantly etched into your brain.
• Determine when those 15 minutes will take place, and adhere to it every day. Make it as much of a ritual as your daily cup of java. The 15 minutes could take place in the morning, before you open your doors for business. It could take place during lunch. It could be in the evening when everything has quieted down.
• Make sure you are not disrupted during your 15 minutes. No phone calls. No visitors. No meetings. Tell your receptionist to hold your calls. Put a "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door. The objective of these 15 minutes is to free your mind of all the clutter that accumulates throughout the workday. Take a few deep breaths. Your best creative thinking will occur when you are free of distractions and able to relax.

Now that you are committed to your 15 MINUTES A DAY ritual, you will, of course, have to make good use of this time. What types of activities will occur during your 15 minutes? It could be anything marketing-related. We suggest that the first several 15 minute sessions be spent developing your firm's marketing strategy, if you do not already have one in place. From there, the ideas that begin to flow during your 15-minute sessions are endless.

Here are a bunch of suggestions that could spark some ideas of your own:

1. Develop a sales contest
2. Analyze the ROI of your lead generation efforts
3. Write a direct mail campaign
4. Determine niche/target markets
5. Design a new agency brochure
6. Develop a co-op ad program with your carriers
7. Develop a referral program
8. Review your marketing strategy with a consultant
9. Write a press release.

...and so on, and so on...

Once you get rolling, you will find the marketing ideas will mushroom. You may want to invite other staff members to attend some sessions and turn them into 15 MINUTES of brainstorming. During some sessions you may want to conference with a professional consultant to review or help to develop certain components of your plan.

You will find that your 15 MINUTES will become a welcome part each business day. It is a time when you will be stimulating your mind. Creative thinking can be very exhilarating and inspiring.

There is no doubt the insurance agencies that continue to thrive during this economic slump are those that are committed to their marketing endeavors. Many agencies realize this, but they simply do not know where to begin when it comes to marketing. This slogan will work! It will be the spark that ignites your agency's marketing programs.

Just as with the Blue Diamond Almond slogan, 15 MINUTES A DAY sets a realistic objective. There is no reason why any insurance executive cannot carve out a mere 15 minutes out of their day for this important task. No longer does marketing have to fall through the cracks. This is reasonable and easy to attain. You will find that once 15 MINUTES a day becomes a habit, your agency will reap the benefits.

Good luck and remember, 15 MINUTES A DAY...THAT'S ALL WE ASK.

Ted Huntington is president of Pale Blimp Marketing, a firm launched in 2005 to serve the marketing needs of insurance companies, agencies, trade associations and insurance trade press. From 1995 to 2005 Huntington was in charge of all consumer marketing and advertising for Mercury Insurance Group. During that span Huntington helped Mercury to grow from a $500 million company to a $3 billion corporation. Huntington has worked with many insurance trade groups, including PIA, the Agents Alliance and the IABAC. He has provided marketing services to numerous companies, including Mercury, Infinity, EZBuy and Superior Access. Huntington is also editor of Smart's California Insurance Report; and he has contributed to Insurance Journal. Contact Ted Huntington for your marketing, PR and advertising needs:; 805-890-0004.