Like most marketers, I’m very busy with a number of different priorities. Promotional marketing is an area I that don't have much time for or expertise in. Yet, it’s an integral piece of VBA’s marketing efforts. We are targeting insurance brokers who specialize in group benefits meeting the insurance needs of companies and their employees.
adform is an extension of my marketing team. I rely on their knowledge and creativity to craft the best possible user experience and to help us achieve our marketing objectives.
The most recent example of this is the launch party for our new dental insurance product. People tend not to get excited about insurance, so we decided to host our launch party at the popular and trendy Wigle Whiskey. Named after Phillip Wigle, who helped spark the Whiskey Rebellion in the 1700s, the distillery was the first in the City of Pittsburgh since Prohibition. In six weeks, we created a campaign around this theme.
We talked with our adform representative, Jason, about the feeling we wanted to create and getting people excited about talking to VBA. Of course, standing out from a lot of junk mail was also a challenge. So, our concept was to invite people to attend the launch party by giving them a gift. A gift, we thought, would stand out. It would make people feel special and it would help them connect with the VBA brand.
Jason researched the venue to get a sense of the brand experience attendees would have. We needed more than a typical promotional marketing item. He recommended using two VBA-branded whiskey glasses as part of the invitation to the launch party. Beyond the glasses, he presented different box options, recommended custom ribbon and tissue paper, and made sure the invitation would fit perfectly in the box. He knew the level of quality I was looking for and understood the importance of this event. Everyone on my team loved untying the ribbon and opening the box. It was a fun experience!
Jason also recommended sending a “save the date card” in July, before the invitation went out. In addition to building awareness, this would help us correct addresses before the invitation went out.
We were very pleased with the responses. Excluding brokers outside the local area, the invitation had, approximately, a 50% response rate! The invitation helped to build awareness with people we knew were not likely to attend. People requested more information – even though we didn’t mention what the launch was for in the invitation. Brokers sent in quotes even before we made the formal launch!
People asked, “Your invitation is so cool, what are your favors?” We had four coasters with the VBA logo at the event. They complemented a six-page booklet on our dental insurance product. Everything was really well integrated. The thought process to get people interested in a dental product has been fantastic.
My advice to my fellow marketers is to not limit the creativity of your vendors, like adform. Avoid strict project parameters. It’s much, much better to be open and collaborative. I like to get ideas from adform. I let adform and our marketing agency bring ideas to the table. I share the overall objective but let everyone think outside the box. They feed off one another. When ideas snowball, we have successes like the launch party at Wigle. I could try to save time and ask a promotional marketing company for a pen, hat or mug. Instead, I like to put it to adform to come up with new and different ideas that best meet our marketing objectives. That’s a value-add to me.
- Jessica Turcotte, Vice President of Provider Relations and Marketing, VBA