Insuring a Neighborly Appeal
Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there." Everyone knows the slogan. Right? Or maybe it's just those of us who hold an insurance policy with State Farm.
Either way, the company brands itself well. I've been a State Farm auto insurance holder since I got my license at the ripe, old age of 16. Ever since, I've received direct mail from the company.
It always looks as though it's coming directly from my agent. I feel as though I know him. So, consequently, I always open that mail first.
This particular mailing, a 4-1/2" x 6" effort, is no different. Arriving in May, the mailing looks and feels as though it could be an invitation (Archive code #445-173933-0505). Perhaps to an early summer barbecue? According to Brian Flynn, auto insurance marketing analyst at State Farm, the mailing was designed to stand out. It's made "to look more like an invitation ... less like the regular #10 envelopes you usually get solicitations in," says Flynn. But for the wary customer, the return address is the trusted red and white State Farm logo accompanied by the the name and address of the recipient's local State Farm agent.
Inside is a 5-1/2" x 8" letter, seemingly on letterhead from the agent himself. After a personalized, first-name greeting, a handwritten-style font tells the customer that her current insurance (in this case, auto) is "only half of the picture." The letter is short and to the point, just as a real handwritten note would beadding homeowner's or renter's insurance through State Farm will help you "save up to 15% on your auto policy (and avoid the hassle of having two different insurance companies)." A scanned signature at the bottom and a blank back complete the impression that this is just a quick note. Says Flynn, "As with all our mailings, it comes from the State Farm agent. That's where we direct people, even though they can mail in the BRC." Only a trained eye would notice this letter isn't really a last-minute thought on the part of a steadfast insurance agent.
Also in this effort is an insert ... er ... two inserts. Continuing with the two-halves-of-a-whole idea, there are two inserts that seemingly fit together. When placed side by side, the red front with reversed-out white writing boldly states: "Nobody takes care of you like your State Farm agent." When turned over and placed side by side once more, it reads, "Smart drivers rely on State Farm auto insurance," on one side, and continues, "and relax with State Farm homeowners insurance," on the other. Each side emphasizes the benefits of either auto or homeowner's insurance in simple, bulleted points.
This insert breakdown was easy to create, says Flynn. It was simply two separate inserts, fashioned with a "jagged" edge designed to fit when placed side by side. "They didn't create one and then cut it," he notes.
With the State Farm logo appearing no less than five times, this mailing still manages to come off as astonishingly simple and subtle. It outlines the benefits and personalizes the approach, all without making the recipient feel overwhelmed.
Conceptualized by the State Farm marketing department in conjunction with its agency, DraftWorldwide, this piece is branding at its best. Sent only to current customers, it's exactly as it seems: a cross-sell effort offering homeowner's or renter's insurance to existing auto insurance customers, and vice versatwo audiences with only very slight versioning required.
Though results have yet to be determined, since according to Flynn, "it's a relatively new program," I have a feeling simplicity is a welcome approach in the summer months.