How to Conduct Marketing Research to Improve Your Efforts

Written by Jessica Adkins

July 10, 2017

Q. I heard that my marketing efforts can improve by conducting marketing research. Where do I start?

A. When you think “market research” do you imagine yourself in English 101 preparing yourself to write a term paper that deciphers your final grade? That is okay. Many people do.

Market research seems challenging and can be difficult if you do not know what metrics to measure. Insurance agents and agencies have a great need for reliable answers to important questions. These answers determine if they are to be successful or not.

Luckily, Agent Pipeline’s Regional Sales Staff performs weekly market analysis reviews; we answer all of the tough questions affecting your business:

  • How are market trends impacting business?
  • How does your target market make buying decisions?
  • What is your market share and how can you increase it?
  • How does customer satisfaction with your products/services measure up to that of the competition?
  • How will your existing customers respond to a new product or service?
  • How can you attract new customer segments?
  • What marketing strategies will work best?

It is best if you reach out to a Regional Sales Staff in your market and discuss the marketing research conducted using a variety of methods. If you are interested in learning how to conduct your very own marketing research analysis, we have illustrated some of the best techniques used in our processes:

  • Demographics and Statistics
  • Talking to Your Customers
  • In-Person Forums & Conferences
  • Quantitative vs. Qualitative

Demographics & Statistics

Reviewing demographic and statistic information can be helpful to learn more about your geographic areas and where it makes sense to expand your marketing efforts.

  • There are important questions to answer when reviewing this information:
  • Where are there other people like my current customer base?
  • There are there people who may be slightly different, but may find my services and products valuable?
  • I am introducing a new product to an entirely new market—where do these prospects live?
  • Is the size of my market big enough to make an investment into a new product worthwhile or beneficial?

Many of these questions may be answered by using reliable information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Demographic Data by Zip Code for every U.S. State.

You can also tap into existing research reports conducted by other businesses involving trends in their market. Although this report is generated by an agent or insurance agency in another state/market, this may give you more general information into your industry or specific market.

Usually, these reports conducted do come at a cost, but may be less expensive than doing a study from scratch. A good idea is to first review the table of contents in the online search report and ensure the purchase is justified.

Additionally, there are professional marketing analysts that conduct industry-related research. By reviewing marketing research tools online, you can utilize excellent resources (some of which require a fee) provided by marketing professionals.

Talking To Your Customers

At some point, we all need to ask specific questions. These are questions only our target audience, our loyal customer base can answer.

  • What about my services do you like?
  • Why did you choose to do business with me?
  • Why do you continue to entrust me with your insurance needs?
  • What do you think separates me from other local agents?
  • Is there anything you feel I can do better?

Not only can the answers to those questions benefit you regarding understanding your value to your customers, but this can also help you better accommodate your prospects and modify any marketing strategies to attract new customers.

Acquiring more in-depth knowledge on the services or products you provide, could uncover expansions needed for your product portfolio. Are you offering all of the products available in your market? Are you limiting yourself to only major medical health plans? Perhaps you need to add additional coverage points to assist your clients to fill in the gaps (e.g., dental, vision and hearing plans, hospital indemnity, accidental plans, term life insurance, etc.)

Additionally, getting definitive answers on why you are different from other agents is imperative. Most clients have shopped around, and by obtaining their insight on other agents in your market can be extremely helpful. More conversations with clients may afford you an opportunity to improve your mission statement, increase your marketing efforts in a certain county, target a specific demographic left behind, or identify new product opportunities neglected.

In-Person Forums & Conferences

There is no better place to examine what your prospects want than to visit forums and conferences. You will be pleasantly surprised at how willing, and forthcoming complete strangers are!

The key to engagement? Encourage individuals to talk about themselves.

  • What factors do you consider when purchasing insurance,
    or using a specific insurance agent or agency?
  • What do you like or dislike about your current products/services
    currently in the market?
  • What is the appropriate price for a product?

Although this may appear similar to the step of “talking to your customers,” it is extremely different. Agents in the process of market research sometimes only interview their current customer base and use their experiences as solid evidence of their performance. To get the most useful and accurate information, you need to talk to real prospects about their needs, wants, and expectations.

Asking your current customers, whom you have likely developed relationships with over the years of service, will sometimes provide biased answers. Therefore, it is very important to introduce yourself to a new audience for relevant market research.

Quantitative vs. Qualitative

Data collection is defined by two categories: qualitative vs. quantitative. Quantitative methods require a large sample of data and employ mathematical analysis. The results of this data can shine the light on statistically significant differences. Once place to find qualitative results if through production reports.

Production reports can identify exactly where your clients come from regarding age, location, income levels (with whom you are most able to close sales), retention rates, cross-selling abilities, best-selling products, and much more.

Qualitative methods help you develop and fine-tune your quantitative research methods. Using this information, you can define problem areas and often use the research conducted by in-person forums, conference and customer questionnaires to under where your services and products need improvement.

The difference?

It is simple. Using both methods in conjunction can provide you with the most accurate marketing research data. It is important to examine the numbers and the experience of individuals. Neither samples of data are more powerful than the other, they are both truths—and the truth is what is most important to your success.

Getting Started

Many mistakes are made during the research process, often strapped for time and money, you may consider taking shortcuts. Avoid those temptations to do so, as any shortcuts can be quite costly.If you are in need of assistance of conducting your marketing research, Agent Pipeline can help you get a jump start! Our business consultants and Regional Sales Directors work to ensure all market information is readily available for our agent and agency partners.

Information We Provide for Marketing Analysis’:

  • Carrier Specific Rate History Reports
  • Underwriting Guideline Comparisons
  • Commission Comparisons Report
  • Benefit Comparisons Overview
  • Product Popularity by County
  • Product Enrollment by County
  • Cost Efficient Product by County
  • Number of Eligibles by Product Type
  • Enrollment by Carrier Report
  • Successful Marketing Strategies
  • Development of Individualized Growth Plans

Contact a member of your Regional Sales Team today to learn about this opportunity and much more! Give us a call at 800-962-4693 or visit us online at agentpipeline.com/ for more information.

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