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I saw a commercial where one insurance carrier knocked another for its new practice of allowing consumers to “name their premium.” I can’t help but wonder when that complaining insurer will understand our frustration with their similar treatment of collision repair customers?

Like all businesses, insurance carriers are trying to retain their customers while attempting to procure new business. Like repairers, they face the challenges of low customer loyalty and lack of long-term retention. In addition, vehicle manufacturers are using telematics to steer their customers back to dealerships or authorized repair centers, creating further challenges to the repair industry.

The good news is that we have identified the common challenges, which means we can look together at how to attract new business. Now, a new age of consumer has arrived. They make decisions based on information and price. The info has to be quick, accurate and accessible via any wireless means.

Where we once fretted that we couldn’t compete with the insurers’ ability to market to the consumer, we can now capitalize on affordable social marketing opportunities. The challenge is that we must be professional, we must be factual and we must be organized in our message without being defamatory.

Our messages should not degrade our fellow laborers, an insurance carrier or any other business. Instead, our marketing should educate the consumer about the importance of proper repairs made according to manufacturer specifications, emphasizing that that is the industry standard—and nothing else (not even “what is accepted by the industry”) will do.

The next decade will once again define our industry. The one that I am proud of includes those who want to do things the right way at a reasonable price.

Ray Fisher is the president of ASA-Michigan. This article represents his opinion and does not reflect the views of ASA-Michigan.

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