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Dec 04, 2001
Case Study

Online Marketing to Corporate Insurance Executives

SUMMARY: Erik Dorsey, Marketing Manager at GRX Technologies has a very tough market to crack. He explains, "Everyone tries to sell the insurance industry because there's a lot of money there. Lots of vendors target it pretty heavily. They are inundated with letters, postcard mailers all the tricks of the trade." If you're also in a tough market, check out this Case Study to see how Dorsey used a combination of compelling site copywriting, an email newsletter and a virtual breakfast Webinar to involve high-qualified sales prospects. (Note: This Case Study is a must-read if you are trying to get more people...

You can tell from GRX Technologies' exceptionally well copy-written home page that they know exactly who their three types of sales prospects are, and what these targets really want.

Instead of falling into the B-to-B Web design trap of photographs of either a generic group of businesspeople or an Asian woman (take your pick) and some jargon-laden sales copy about the company, visitors to can take their choice of three appealing options focusing on themselves:

a. Risk Managers - Make your job easier while stretching your budget dollars.

b. Brokers/Advisors - Market risks faster, improve client relations, and increase profits.

c. Underwriters - Write more business while lowering administration costs.

But a great Web site alone doesn’t necessarily translate into instant sales in the corporate insurance technology industry. Marketing Manager Erik Dorsey explains, "They tend to be very conservative when they move forward looking at technology. Our sales cycle is anywhere from 90 days to two years."

Dorsey did his best to get lots of attention when the site launched in February 2001, with a full-throttle marketing campaign including space ads in trade magazines, direct mail, telemarketing and public relations. The marketplace is fairly limited, with less than 5,000 potential customers. So, within a few months Dorsey had reached them all repeatedly.

Now he had to find a way to keep them interested in the Company as the sales cycle progressed, without being obnoxious about it. He notes, "Everyone tries to sell the insurance industry because there's a lot of money there. Lots of vendors target it pretty heavily. They are inundated with letters, postcard mailers … all the tricks of the trade."


Luckily most of the marketers targeting the insurance industry are as slow moving about technology as insurance executives are. So although the industry is knee-deep in direct postal mail, Dorsey noticed very few emailers targeted it.

So, he added an email newsletter sign up form to GRX's Web site home page. It reads simply, "Get the Bulletin: Submit your email address below to sign up and receive the GRX bulletin." (Note: for industries that are more inundated with newsletter offers, you'd probably need to add more benefit-oriented copy for this to work.)

Within a few months more than 2,000 executives in GRX's target audience signed up. Dorsey is well aware that insurance executives often use fairly old-fashioned computer operating systems such as Windows '95 ("They don’t change unless there's a drastic need to change") so he developed both a text-only and an HTML version of his newsletter.

He also makes sure each issue contains a summarized item of interest to each of the Company's three different target audiences. And, that all three items are visible "above the fold" (ie. without scrolling) when viewing the issue with a typical 800x600 screen resolution. Interested readers can click through to the GRX site to read entire stories.

Although the email newsletter and Web site were working well, GRX's sales team was looking forward to meeting their top prospects in person at ther most important conference of the year, CIAB's leadership Forum, scheduled for early October. Dorsey was busy planning a special meet-and-greet breakfast for the event when disaster struck September 11th. The show, like many others, was cancelled.

Thinking fast, Dorsey decided to throw a virtual breakfast Webinar instead. He emailed an invitation to the 134 executives who were on his opt-in list and had been expected to attend the event. Instead of running one big Webinar, Dorsey gave executives their choice of five different times between 11AM and 3pm -- both to be more convenient and to allow his sales reps greater intimacy with a smaller number of attendees.

In general just 1/3 of RSVPing businesspeople that say they'll attend a Webinar, actually end up attending. Dorsey wanted to stack the odds in his favor. So he shipped every RSVP a breakfast box from Mrs. Fields containing gourmet coffee, juices and coffee cake, timed to arrive the day before the event.


GRX's email newsletter has proven to be unusually successful, with an average of more than 40% of recipients clicking through to read stories on GRX's site. Dorsey notes that in early 2001 only 40% of his readers were able to read HTML copies. Now that figure is up to 60% (which is still far below the general big business executive average.)

Almost every executive who received the emailed invitation to GRX's breakfast Webinar replied in the affirmative. Then all but one single person actually attended! (This attendance rate is certainly a record.) Several attendees were outside the US - including the UK, the Bahamas and Argentina. Dorsey notes, "Our data shows these were very, very targeted people. Everyone was interested."

Useful links related to this article:

GRX Technologies

The vendor GRX uses to send its newsletter out:

Mrs. Fields
See Also:

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