AAA Life Insurance’s Dave Marold on Emotional Selling Propositions
During a session at the Direct Marketing Association’s annual conference in October, Dave Marold, director of direct marketing for Livonia, Mich.-based AAA Life Insurance, partnered with consultant and author Jeanette McMurtry, of Vail, Colo., to give a presentation about the concept of emotional selling propositions, aka ESP, which McMurtry describes as a message that “appeals to the one real trigger of sales—emotional fulfillment.”
“Traditionally, marketers have always developed a marketing program around a unique selling proposition,” she continues. “But we live in a day and age when it’s very difficult for a company to be unique. And that isn’t what’s drawing customers for a lifetime of loyalty. … You have to develop a selling proposition that best applies to the emotional fulfillment consumers are seeking.”
Here, Marold explains how emotional selling propositions figure into his plan for the 35 million acquisition mailings AAA Life Insurance sends out each year.
TG: What does an emotional selling proposition mean for AAA?
DM: Like Jeanette [McMurtry], I believe unique selling propositions are something of the past. At AAA Life, one of our most popular products is term life insurance. It’s almost a commodity. We used to spend time trying to make it unique, but I think the investment in that is pretty useless in the Internet era. People can find out what is different and what is not.
AAA is nirvana as far as direct marketing because it’s a trusted brand. … If you get an envelope in the mail, and it has AAA on there, that’s like a seal of approval. Focus group research shows we rank among the top as far as awareness, trust and reliability. … As far as life insurance though, that’s just about the opposite end of the spectrum. People don’t like to think about life insurance. … Focus groups have shown people [say] it’s a “necessary evil” and that “buying life insurance is like pulling off a band-aid.” We have a great brand that’s trusted, yet life insurance evokes a lot of unappealing emotions because it causes you to think about your death, the death of a loved one or a friend. …