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The woe’s of motherhood and insurance

June 12, 2009
Cindy Donaldson, Marketing Director - Founders Insurance Group

Cindy Donaldson, Marketing Director - Founders Insurance Group

My son is a senior this year – soon he will put his years at Housatonic Valley Regional High School behind him.  As part of high school tradition each senior is asked to give his or her advice to incoming freshmen. Those responses are published in the local paper.  Many students wrote things like:  Have fun, study hard, don’t procrastinate yada yada yada.

My son wrote:  “You can save a bunch of money off your car insurance by switching to GEICO.”  Yes, the son of Cindy Donaldson – newly hired marketing director of an independent insurance agency in NW CT who competes on an hourly basis with the holy gecko. Of course this was all brought to my attention while I was doing some cross sell training with our account managers.  While I’m teaching them to over come objection to the price issue – you know when clients call and say “Well, Geico promises I can save 15% on my auto insurance – can you do that?” 

In all fairness Max wasn’t trying to be obnoxious nor hurtful – he, like most Americans, has been over run with images of talking money, geckos and cavemen. He hears the gecko’s advertising  lingo several times a day – and as he put it “Mom, it was just a joke – it doesn’t mean anything.”  Geico, whether we like it or not has become a part of pop culture in our society and that does means a lot.  They have mastered the art of inbound marketing – they have people like my son, chanting their mantra constantly.  Heck – I’ve done it here in this blog. When a company’s logo, saying or name becomes a part of pop culture – their Chief Marketing Officer get’s a big big bonus.  It  truly is the holy grail of the marketing department to reach that status.

So why is my son’s comment to freshman so important that I’m writing about it?  Max’s generation will soon be the generation with the buying power, and how they recieve information – including advertising – will determine what and how they buy.  If I wasn’t the one purchasing my children’s car insurance and advising them on the importance of having an advisor look at their individual risks – my children would probably be woo’d by the influence of advertising and assume that everyone is buying from the gecko and ergo they should too.

Independent insurance agents need to take notice .  No longer can we sit back and wait for the phones to ring, or assume that the children of our clients will automatically become our clients.  We can’t compete with a multi-million dollar advertising budget – so we need to connect with our clients in other ways, by creating our own inbound marketing strategies.

My job at Founders Insurance Group is to compete with the gecko without being the gecko. So far…so good. 

Cheers to all Mom’s out there with teenagers – Yes, we love our children dearly but sometimes we just shake our heads and say “What were you thinking?”  We can only hope that when they have children they remember us Mom’s and the angst they sometimes caused us.

 Cindy Donaldson – Marketing Director and Mom

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2009 12:27 pm

    Cindy, I’ve been sharing with the industry a story about my “teenage” middle son’s online investigation of Motorcycle insurance. Late one evening, he wanted to know what it would cost him…and his dad is an independent agency principal.

    Glad to say, he placed the business with the family agency…and he did provide me with a story I can share with the industry on why we have to provide the independent agents with tools to compete with the Direct writers.

    • June 12, 2009 12:29 pm

      There is a silver lining in everything Cal – thanks for sharing your parenting story!

  2. June 12, 2009 5:28 pm

    Cindy, I have a graduating senior this year, too – but it’s my 2nd teenager coming along who would be more likely to pull such a trick on me. I enjoyed your story.

    I’ve recently been reading a lot of discussions about the effectiveness of insurance agents’ advertising on social media sites like Facebook. A lot of agents and quite a few Facebook users don’t seem ready for the idea, but your story inspired me to search Facebook for “geico.” And there’s the cute little gecko, with 4,700+ fans. Yet another reason your son – and who knows how many more people – may keep their allegiances with GEICO!

  3. June 17, 2009 12:13 pm

    Cindy, this is such a testament to the thoughts of the next generation of insurance consumers and possibly insurance employees. I write a lot about social networking, its uses and importance and about engaging the next generation. Two of my stepdaughters have college age and high school age children. We all get feedback similar to this from them also. May I refer to your blog article in a post at my blog? Keep up the good work and just to let you know, you may have the same questions in future years. Sometimes you just wonder what house they were reared in when they say or do something totally unexpected.

    • June 17, 2009 1:36 pm

      Hi Pat,
      Thanks for the comments! Feel free to use my post in yours. Enjoy the day!

  4. June 18, 2009 3:09 pm

    I got this link from Rick Morgan and I loved your article! I have a son graduating from high school this year too. They do have minds of their own, and my son, as well as my daughter who’s 13 spend more time on social networking sites than watching TV! Thanks so much for bringing to light the fact that agents must “get with the program” and become more proactive in marketing and communicating with their customers and prospects!!! It’s good to know there are agencies like yours out there!

    • June 18, 2009 3:16 pm

      Hi Laurie
      Thanks for reading and thanks to Rick for forwarding! I think children are born texting and tweeting these days. Cheers to “mom-hood” and all it entails. My son actually graduates tomorrow night, I’m officially done with high school and now am the proud Mom of 2 college students. Good luck with your children and their web 2.0 world.

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