Savings Bank Life Insurance of Massachusetts is a marketer's marketer: The century-old firm's direct sales force gets all of its leads from the marketing team.
SBLI's marketing team fills the sales pipeline via a multichannel marketing program that leverages television, radio, print, e-mail and other digital media. The firm's marketing database consists of 10 million names—a mix of customers, prospects/responders and contest winners.
A key component of the Woburn, Mass. insurance firm's lead generation efforts is an online insurance quote calculator that consumers fill out to receive a customized quote based on the amount of insurance and length of coverage they desire. During this process, quote requesters are asked to provide an e-mail address, so SBLI can follow up with these leads at a later time. According to Rose Cahill, SBLI's vice president of marketing, capturing an e-mail address for the company is no longer optional; this contact point is so vital to the marketing process that it's required on all of SBLI's forms.
"We are beginning to nurture visitors to our site as well as leads that have not moved to starting an application. Lead nurture is becoming a key component of our marketing strategy. To begin the nurture process, we need an e-mail address," she explains.
But as is the case with most online registrations, some people provide e-mail addresses that are bogus or inaccurately enter their data, which renders follow-up for these potential leads impossible.
So SBLI decided to use e-mail address verification technology to identify faulty e-mail addresses during the quote form submission process and get corrections in real-time. Newton, Mass.-based FreshAddress's Real-time Email Address Correction Technology (REACT) solution allows the marketer to catch syntax, typographical, misspelling and top-level domain errors. When visitors to the SBLI site fill out the quote request form, REACT cross-checks each e-mail address submitted against a variety of authentication sources to determine if it's valid. If it is, the quote process continues. If it's not, the consumer sees an error message; in particular, an error due to hygiene results in a correction being suggested that the consumer can accept to continue the quote process.
In the initial six months of using REACT to prevent faulty e-mail addresses from entering its marketing database, SBLI blocked or corrected 6.1 percent of e-mail addresses entered during the quote process. "We netted less leads (quote requests)," Cahill says of the e-mail verification process, "but the leads we got were of better quality, which is very important to us. We would prefer fewer qualified leads to leads of lesser quality. We invest a lot of time and money into working leads and moving the client through the underwriting process. We netted the customers who are truly interested in purchasing life insurance."