AccuQuote's Sean Cheyney on Getting Leads Through Affiliates
Term life insurance provider AccuQuote knows what would be bad for its brand: advertising in airline magazines and through online obituary sites. The Wheeling, Ill.-based company also knows what sort of affiliate marketing would be good for its brand: bringing in qualified leads and increasing sales by reaching the right audience.
While AccuQuote already knows which target audience it wants to reach—affluent 40-somethings—it simply gave that criteria to the online advertising agency, Direct Agents of New York, when hiring the agency in 2005 to oversee the AccuQuote Affiliate Program. (The collaboration resulted in a finalist position for AccuQuote and Direct Agents in the 2009 ad:tech Limelight Awards for Best Performance Marketing Campaign.)
Pleased with the agency that consistently delivered quality leads to the sales team, AccuQuote decided to step up Direct Agent's management of the affiliate program by introducing transparency.
In May 2009, AccuQuote began its conversation with the affiliates the agency gathered on its behalf, starting with knowing exactly who they were. Sean Cheyney, AccuQuote's vice president of marketing and business development, provides more details.
Target Marketing: What made AccuQuote decide to add affiliate marketing into its lead generation strategy?
Sean Cheyney: Affiliate marketing has always been a part of our mix. But we've always had this blind program where, although it was working well and we had sub IDs and we were able to identify publishers by sub IDs, we decided that we wanted to have more of that direct relationship with the publisher so we could work and do more customization to generate more high-quality leads for us. But at the same time, produce a higher ROI for the publisher ... When it comes to the quality of the lead, by breaking that out for an e-mail list versus, let's say, a display ad banner, I guess the real answer is, it depends. And it depends on the audience more than the advertising channel. ... The people that we're looking to attract as customers are married couples, between the ages of 40 and 64 with a household income over $75,000, homeowners with kids. ...