In today’s hyper-competitive insurance market, agency marketing is more important than ever. In our Agent for the Future™ survey, 38% of independent agents said they plan to increase their investment in marketing. However, only 16% said they planned on hiring a dedicated marketer.

Hiring a marketing specialist takes the weight of marketing efforts off of producers and principals and lets them focus on prospecting and writing new business. Another Safeco survey looked at the practices of the 240 fastest-growing independent agencies and found that just over half had a dedicated marketer on staff.

Below are just a few of the ways a dedicated marketer can help your agency grow. Check out our “Ultimate Guide to Marketing like an Agent for the Future” to learn more and see 10 things your agency should do now to improve marketing.

Increase brand awareness and drive qualified leads

A marketer has the time and expertise to create interest in your products and services. They know how to target marketing efforts and capture contact information to move new leads along the buying journey to become qualified prospects.

Enable cross-sell opportunities

In the midst of finding new leads, a marketing specialist can help your agency gather more data about the mix of business within your agency’s portfolio. This allows your agency to better understand its strengths and weaknesses and plan for future marketing campaigns.

In Safeco’s Agent for the Future survey, 53% of independent agents said that the data collected and curated by marketing would enable deeper risk conversations, and two-thirds said it would assist with cross-selling opportunities.

Deepen client relationship and increase referrals

By communicating well and addressing client needs, a marketer can help your clients feel more connected to your agency. In fact, agencies who communicate regularly and authentically with their clients see a 1.5 retention lift over a 12-month period.

Marketing efforts can lead to meaningful interactions with your clients, which make them more likely to act as ambassadors for your agency and refer people to you.

Help fill the talent pipeline

Marketing is not just about getting new customers — good marketing can also help your agency attract talented team members.

With more insurance agency principals heading toward retirement, attracting young talent is crucial for perpetuation planning. Safeco’s Agent for the Future survey found that 58% of new positions in independent agencies were filled by millennials.

These are just a few of the ways that a dedicated marketing specialist can help your agency drive growth in a way that reflects your values.

Ready to add a marketer to your staff? Learn more about Safeco’s Marketer Developer Program, which helps Safeco appointed agents recruit, hire and train a staff marketer to contribute to the agency’s overall growth.