Christen Gruebel

Imagine always being the bearer of bad news. Day in, day out, consistently reminding friendly clients that the worst is yet to come-accidents, floods, fires, even death. Insurance agents have it kind of rough.

Luckily, the nature of the beast means this sector is extremely open to products and services that make winning clients that much easier. Their wares might give new meaning to the term, "hard sell," but that doesn't mean their 9 to 5 has to be difficult, too.

Many a metaphor is used in conjunction with the hours that dictate our lives, yet one such well-known maxim—“Time is money”— takes on a much less abstract meaning when a dollar value is applied. Specifically, $1.25 a minute. That’s the exact amount J. Walker Smith, CEO of database and segmentation solutions firm Yankelovich, purports your customers’ time is worth. If a marketer doesn’t maximize every second (or cent, as the case may be), “expect them to walk away,” he says. Here, Smith details three questions a marketer must ask himself to determine just how sensible it is for a prospect to make a time investment

It’s been in the steady rotation of childhood teachings since the beginning of time: If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And it’s no coincidence that you most likely heard such a reproach from your grandmother. As it turns out, in terms of direct mail copy tenets that best reach the senior market, she had it right all along. “A lot of marketers start out by telling all the negative things that can happen if you don’t use ‘my product or my service.’ With the older market, you will get much further … by being positive and

What “Managing Sales Leads” (The Thompson Corporation, $39.95) lacks in style, it certainly makes up for in substance. Pick it up for its action-oriented checklists and chapter summaries as well as a thorough (three chapters worth!) analysis of why sales leads are “the lifeblood of every company.” Bear in mind, however, that giving it a full read will be a commitment—its information-packed but sometimes repetitive sections require complete attention and engagement on the part of the reader. There’s no denying that author James Obermayer is a true authority on the subject of lead management, however, his scope of knowledge is so dense that it

It’s no surprise that one of the goals of the postal rate increase is to reduce the amount of mail that does not have high enough address quality to reach its destination. But be that as it may, “People make the assumption that they have got good, clean, updated databases,” says Mary Ann Bennett, president and CEO of mailing consultancy The Bennett Group. “Clearly they don’t, or the post office would not be forcing these requirements on people in an effort to reduce their undeliverable-as-addressed mail,” she adds. What mailers should be doing, according to Bennett, is evaluating their existing databases to determine their

If the gurus behind childhood-education mainstay Schoolhouse Rock have anything to say about it, three is the quintessential magic number. However, for marketers looking for just the right amount of questions to include in a survey, the “magic number” requirements become considerably more business-savvy than the lyrics to a pop song. When enticing prospects to willingly provide information about themselves and/or their feelings on a product or brand, nothing turns a person off more than something that feels like homework. According to survey tests done by Bob Roberts, manager of marketing research for Babcox Publications, an Akron, Ohio–based B-to-B publisher, surveys with an exhaustive

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