Safeco’s Agent for the Future™ survey shows a shift in thinking
Independent agents are ready to spend less time servicing clients and more time prospecting for new business. How much more? By 2020, double the time they’re spending now.
That was one of the key takeaways from our survey asking agents to detail their plans for growth and their thoughts around where the industry is headed.
Our Agent for the Future survey, part of a collection of resources for independent agents, focused on current industry trends and actionable insights to help IAs succeed.
Below, we’ll dive into some of the new and interesting findings, and discuss how your own agency strategy can benefit from new thinking. You also can check out the newest report, the Ultimate Guide to Marketing like an Agent for the Future, which offers greater detail, marketing tips and more.
Nearly 40% of agents said they planned to increase their marketing investment.
At the top of agents’ “must-do” lists are marketing investments and campaigns, with 38% indicating they want to do more. Marketing plays a key role in client acquisition, of course, but it also has an important role in retention, since nurture campaigns deepen client relationships and enable cross-sell opportunities. Agencies that make themselves available online, communicate regularly with their clients and provide a great customer experience continue to grow in this hyper-competitive market.
Yet only 16% of agents surveyed planned to hire someone in a dedicated marketing role.
Even many of the agencies that plan to increase their marketing apparently don’t want to bring on a marketer (or feel they can’t afford to do so). However, one could make the case that you can’t afford not to bring on marketing help if you’re looking to grow. In another survey we conducted, 52% of the fastest-growing IAs in the country had a dedicated marketer on staff, and 100% were actively marketing themselves.
Producers and principals are participating in marketing activities, of course, but a specialized marketer can ease that workload while filling the top of the sales funnel and moving new leads along the buying journey.
Not sure where to start? Try the Safeco Marketer Developer Program. It offers four weeks of intensive training to help agencies train a staff marketer.
Millennials might be the key to your agency’s future — and not as customers.
How to market to millennials has been a hot topic for years — but hiring them can be a key factor in an agency’s success, too. With the average age of principals continuing to climb, it’s important to begin developing future agency leaders now who can drive the agency forward in the years ahead. More than half of the agents in our survey have hired new producers, service and support staff over the past two years, and nearly 60% of those hires have been millennials. That’s a promising trend for the IA channel as a whole.
For more insight on how your fellow agents see the industry and their business — and for a checklist of 10 marketing activities your agency should be doing right now — check out the latest infographic — growth through marketing.