Marketing Is Like Making Chocolate Chip Cookies

Copyright Annmarie Geddes Baribeau

Copyright Annmarie Geddes Baribeau

I make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world, bar none! Doing so is a lot like marketing and communicating in the insurance industry.

Here’s why:

1) Products and services, like chocolate chip cookies, can seem the same.

Chocolate chip cookies can seem the same before you taste them. Mine have a unique “yum” factor.

In business, the “yum” factor – known as the value proposition — describes what makes your company unique and entices customers to come back for more. That “yum” factor is the basis for messaging.

Think about your company’s products and services and how they look compared to your competitors. Can you identify your company’s “yum” factor that truly stands out from the competition?

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Can you identify your company’s “yum” factor?
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Insurance companies, along with firms that serve the industry, often struggle with this. From actuaries to brokers to third party administrators, the challenge is the same. All of them insist they are trustworthy, cost efficient and customer-focused service-oriented problem solving experts. 

The potential customer wants to know why they should choose your organization.

Personal auto insurers often compete by price and message through personas. Flo or a gecko, however, will not cut it for B2B marketing. Business customers are more sophisticated and consider other factors, such as credibility and quality service, in their buying decisions.

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2) Marketing and communications strategies and tactics, like chocolate chip cookies, generally have the same or very similar ingredients.

Chocolate chip cookie recipes vary. Of course they include chocolate chips, but also sugar, flour and leavening agents such as baking soda. Besides the mix of ingredients, choosing their quality also affects the end product.

A successful communications strategy must include, among other elements: knowledge of the customer, their values and pain points; clear goals, messaging and appropriate channels to reach the appropriate markets.

3) In both cases, ingredients are just as important as techniques.

After identifying the proper ingredients, the skill lies in combining and delivering them cohesively so the intended market clamors for more. It means choosing the right balance of elements to deliver a cohesive and effective message that spurs customer desire.

My chocolate chip cookie recipe comes from a cookbook more than 50 years old.

However, the reason why my cookies carry the guaranteed yum factor is not just because of what is in them, but how I bake them. I’ve shared my recipe many times but others don’t achieve the same results. That’s because I developed my baking technique, which I will also share when asked.

So what’s the take away? If your insurance communications, marketing or public relations approaches are not providing the desired results, it’s time to figure out why. Is it the ingredients, packaging or delivery?

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The trick is determining the right balance
of traditional and cutting edge approaches
that will showcase your firm’s “yum factor.”
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It always surprises me how little insurance industry clients understand their audiences and what they really want. Failing to invest in market research is a key reason.

Further, I am seeing a lot of companies get so wrapped up in digital and online everything that they forget that some of the most traditional ways of selling products still work. The trick is determining the right balance of traditional and cutting edge approaches that will showcase your firm’s “yum factor.”

The key is to find out how current and potential customers like to hear from your company. Finding that out should be part of market research.

4) Let them bake cake.

While I am a chocolate chip cookie baking expert, when I need a nice looking cake, I go to the bakery.

Sure, I can make a reasonable rustic looking cake, but when it’s party time, I let the experts do it. The same is true for insurance marketing and communications. When expertise and time limitations are interfering with results, it’s time to seek outside help.

By the way, if you want that chocolate chip cookie recipe, just contact me at annmarie@lipoldcommunications.com. Inbound marketing, after all, is about sharing!

What’s your company’s yum factor?

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