Chris Kieff has a look inside the marketing campaign for Esurance on his blog, 1 Good Reason. In the post, he points out the potential for great consumer buzz created by the insurance company’s cartoon character campaign featuring Erin Esurance, the sexy super heroine you’ll likely remember of Super Bowl ads. Chris does a nice job of summarizing the potential for social media success of the campaign, noting the semi-social media friendly website, a blog and that guys like the character.

Erin EsuranceHe then offers the social networking numbers: one friend each in LinkedIn (not sure if this is the right place for them to play) and Facebook and a MySpace page not created by the company but a fan. I offered a comment similar to the following:

Esurance has missed out on a great opportunity to captivate and engage fans whose curiosity has been aroused by their catchy commercials. They certainly can right the wrong but obviously need more than just above the line advertising working on their business.

The problem I find with a lot of companies is they hire an ad agency good at TV spots, outdoor boards, print ads and point of sale pieces and think that’s marketing. What they don’t understand is once you get the attention of the consumer (through advertising) that’s when the work begins. Now you have to take them through a process/cycle of becoming a customer, then preferably, a brand loyalist. Most advertising agencies don’t have the below the line thinking to carry the process forward. That’s why most agency’s (and CMOs) last about 24-30 months on the job.

Consumers have changed. Advertising no longer leads to direct sales in most businesses. Consumers are more discerning and desire more than interactivity. They want engagement. They want community. Throw your ads up there and get their attention, but know that all it accomplishes is getting their attention. Once you have it, you’re going to need to know what to do with it.

That’s where customer relationship management programs, social media strategies and community building plans can take your brand from owning just a catchy TV spot to owning a legion of loyal fans willing to share your story.

Other Posts You’ll Find Interesting:

  1. Brite And Early
  2. Are Brand Ambassador Movements Recession Proof?
  3. Partnering With Consumers: Brand Evangelists
  4. Dos And Donts Of Business And Social Media
  5. Are Outdated Policies Squashing Your Brand Evangelists?

IMAGE: Taken from free, downloadable wallpaper from Esurance.com

[tags]Esurance, Erin Esurance, social media, social networking, brand evangelists, advertising, marketing[/tags]

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.directmarketingnewsline.com Chris Tackett

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Tackett

  • http://www.1GoodReason.com/blog ckieff

    Jason,
    Thanks for the compliment. You’re absolutely right that more agencies/companies should be doing something with the consumer after the interest is generated.
    I think one of real failures here is that Esurance has LinkedIn and Facebook pages and does nothing with them. It’s like buying TV time and running a radio spot.
    Chris

  • http://nickhuhn.com Nick Huhn

    CRM and loyalty as objectives of a marketing strategy?

    Wow I wish we worked at the same place.

  • http://www.yourprguy.com Rodger

    You make an interesting point. And you’ve given me a great idea. Independent financial advising is one industry I see social media having a tremendous impact, non-profits should be capitalizing on this technology too. While you mention that SM can create “a legion of loyal fans willing to share your [company's] story,” this is true across industry sectors. Whether an organization is non-profit or for profit, whether the organization is supported by donors or customers, building relationships is important. People just expect it, I think. And if they don’t expect it, but find an organization that respects and fosters relationships, they appreciate it.

    I know that our company, a financial advisory firm, fosters relationships with it’s clients. Some have been with us for more than 20 years, the CEO tells me. But we are special, in that we look at the whole family, and the Gen Xers And Ys are online — I don’t think we need data here to prove that.

    To reach that population, I’ve been explaining to the CEO how important social media is to our overall communication plan. We’re getting there, albeit glacially.

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  • http://www.passagecommunications.blogspot.com Soniac

    Great post Jason! This issue starts at briefing. Both Marketing Directors and agencies fall into the trap of layering objectives as though they were finite. “Brand awareness”, “Direct Response” “CRM” only etc. In over 10 years, I’ve only met a few clients that actually take the time to build out full online strategies. The compartmentalized mentality comes from the simplicity of budgeting I think. Traditional advertisers like blocking charts, start and end dates. They can wrap their heads around this. They can report back internally on this type of execution. Selling through interactivity through social media can be daunting for an agency. For now, they have to rely on case studies (that are quickly piling up) and the hope that the company is flexible in their approach to media. I’m sure early adopting clients are getting great benefits from social networking pre-saturation.

  • http://www.esurance.com Kristin Brewe

    Hi there, I’m Kristin Brewe, Director of Brand & Public Relations at Esurance.

    Chris wrote to us and asked for a response, which you should be able to check out here:
    http://www.1goodreason.com/blog/2008/02/05/where-is-erin-esurance-or-how-not-to-run-a-social-networking-campaign/

    A few corrections to your post:
    1) Though flattering to imagine, we didn’t have Super Bowl ads on TV. We wish! :-)
    2) Linked In, Facebook, a few of the MySpace profiles you cite are all fan-created. (Thanks to the fans, as well. Keep creating!)
    3) Our only activations are on our site, and our very own MySpace page, which is here: http://www.myspace.com/erin_esurance

    At any rate, hope the info helps. I wish you and your readers all the best.

    Kristin

  • http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com Jason Falls

    Wow. I’m so sorry I haven’t gotten on today to respond.

    Chris T: Thanks a lot. Glad you found us and hope you come back often.

    Chris K: Thanks for pointing me in the direction of your blog and post. It’s good to point to examples, both good and bad, to frame our thinking.

    Nick: It could happen … just sayin’.

    Rodger: Glacially is light years ahead of most. The fact that you’re talking about it is significant progress. Perhaps framing the argument in the context of Esurance and above the line vs. below the line marketing costs could help. Keep us in the loop. I’d love to talk about the social media approach in the financial world with you here someday.

    Soniac: Right on! The problem with good marketing is that it doesn’t make good sense in the traditional business model. Reaching consumers in a meaningful way can’t be encapsulated in a 12 month period or the (godforsaken) quarterly report. It’s not about annual or monthly. It’s about personal and community. If CEOs could ever get their head’s around that, CMOs might be able to keep their jobs.

    And Kristin, THANK YOU for speaking up and coming by to right our wrongs. My apologies for the factual errors. Sometimes we bloggers write on the fly and don’t fact check. Shame on me.

    Still, thank you for setting the record straight. Perhaps you could use the overall point of Chris’s article (and mine) and push Erin out there a bit more. Best of luck!

    Thanks to all for commenting (and to those yet to come.)

  • Pingback: Reactions to the Esurance Social Networking Post

  • http://www.insurance4lessdirect.com Nick

    As with any type of marketing, social media promotions center around matching content with interested audiences as well as stimulating conversation.

    I like the idea of thinking about this strategy as a way to reach one’s desired goals, rather than a quick fix tactic to approach.

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