DTRIC’s Linh DePledge on Multichannel Marketing
DTRIC’s marketing performance was on a downward slide. The Hawaii-based insurance provider was facing increased price competition from high-profile mainland companies, low name recognition and a lack of a clear corporate image. To counter this trend, DTRIC enlisted the support of San Antonio-based Harte-Hanks, a worldwide, direct and targeted marketing company, to develop and execute a strategic, multichannel approach that increased awareness of DTRIC’s automobile insurance offerings.
Using a combination of television, Web, direct mail and other media such as sign-waving events and elevator signage, Harte-Hanks gave DTRIC a personal touch with its creation of a surfer character. Known as “the Deetric dude,” the character provided visual support to DTRIC’s “the good word on insurance” tagline, while increasing branding opportunities for the company by providing a recognizable personality with a local flavor.
The new approach resulted in a 34 percent increase in response and a three-time hike in call volumes over the previous year. Comparing year over year, the conversion rate was 62 percent higher with a 109 percent lift in direct marketing sales.
This July, the campaign earned DTRIC and Harte-Hanks a 2007 Philadelphia Direct Marketing Association Benjamin Franklin Award for Direct Marketing Excellence.
Here, Linh DePledge, DTRIC’s vice president of sales and marketing, discusses the process behind the company’s multichannel strategy.
Target Marketing: What first-step analysis helped you determine DTRIC’s marketing strategy?
Linh DePledge: It was critical to start our new strategy correctly, so we looked to our target audience for clues. Harte-Hanks conducted focus groups and in-depth interviews to develop the initial strategy. Then, additional focus groups helped to ensure the new strategy would resonate within the marketplace. Upon completion of the first marketing campaign, we realized the strategy and execution were sound, and have continued with it successfully.
TM: What information did you learn from the focus groups that helped craft your strategy?
LD: Actually, we found that the DTRIC brand was not on the minds of the consumers. No one indicated positive or negative feelings toward DTRIC. This was actually very good news as it allowed us to craft a new, more memorable brand, going in any direction we wanted.
TM: What was your goal in integrating your multichannel approach, merging DTRIC’s television, Web, direct mail, media sign-waving events and elevator-signage campaigns?
LD: The difference in this refocus is that the goal was to integrate all channels tightly, incorporate sound direct marketing strategy, then employ tested creative combined with grassroots activities to differentiate DTRIC from competitors.
TM: What were DTRIC’s marketing challenges, and what steps did you take to overcome them?
LD: Because Hawaii does not allow billboards or outdoor advertising, DTRIC developed innovative alternatives, including a vehicle wrap to create a roving DTRIC van and the first use of elevator doors as billboards. In addition, the year 2006 was a political year, and in Hawaii, this meant candidates for office hosting “sign-waving” events. Taking a cue from these highly recognized events, DTRIC promoted a sign-waving event showcasing its new brand images and presenting an offer, which helped to generate local news coverage. This helped us stand out in the already crowded Hawaiian insurance market. It helped connect us with locals, who recognized very quickly that ‘DTRIC understands us.’
TM: What is your advice for other companies integrating multichannel campaigns?
LD: Act quickly to implement change, but don’t overlook the importance of research to find out who your customers are and who your true competitors are, then use that knowledge to develop your strategic plan.
TM: What are your plans to further strengthen your approach?
LD: We will focus on areas where we are competitive, and to identify niches where we will be able to grow and develop efficiently.