ProAssurance Group’s Marge Maxbauer on Direct Mail
Constantly fluctuating marketplaces, complicated legal landscapes, smaller mailing universes and intangible products make B-to-B insurance a challenging direct mail sector to navigate. But for Marge Maxbauer, director of marketing for ProAssurance Group, a national provider of medical professional liability insurance, negotiating this rocky terrain is well worth the reward, as direct mail has proven its mettle time and time again.
Here, Maxbauer pauses to reflect on the importance of direct mail in her company’s acquisition and retention efforts, the significance of a clear idea, and why a strong foundation in the basics is the very best road map you can have.
TG: What role does direct mail play in your marketing efforts?
MM: Direct mail is an important part of what we do, both in communicating with current insureds to reinforce their buying decision and in acquiring leads for new business.
Our product is intangible, and no medical or other professional we insure ever wants to have a claim. Direct mail with value-added [material] helps make our product—and expertise—tangible. It helps to showcase our strengths … that we are a company here for the long haul, ready with the intellectual and financial resources to help prevent claims and, if needed, provide the best defense in the industry against non-meritorious claims. … Testimonials are important for that. It gives them confidence that they can always call us. Direct mail is very important, and we’re increasing how much we are doing every year, which speaks to its effectiveness for us.
We approach current insureds and targets (and groups within those groups) differently. With current insureds, we educate them on hot issues via a direct mail newsletter (also available online). We also use direct mail to keep our insureds up-to-date on current trends in the malpractice environment, as well as coverage details.
For targets, we tend to do more issue-oriented direct mail on a state-by-state basis, as market issues vary widely. We can help targets understand trends in their state and provide valuable information—further establishing our credibility as a carrier they may want to consider. Where we’ve been able to capitalize on issues and utilize the newer personalization technologies, we’ve been able to push our response rates (from business reply mail) into the double digits. Our goal: to send mail that’s viewed as having value.