2021 PIMA Insights Gold Award Winner for Lead Generation Marketing


Zeis Group, in Association with AGIA

The PIMA Insights Awards are annual awards given to PIMA members that have developed brilliantly crafted insurance marketing strategies that not only display unrivaled creativity, but more importantly, also deliver excellent and measurable results.

In this year’s competition, the Gold Award in the category of Lead Generation Marketing went to Zeis Group, a full-service marketing agency based in St. Louis, in association with its client and fellow PIMA member AGIA Affinity.

Recently, PIMA asked Zeis Group president and CEO Jeff Zeis for details on this entry.

PIMA: Describe your marketing campaign. When was it created, and what was the goal?

Zeis Group: This entry is better described as a program versus a campaign due to its nature and scope. It originated in August 2018 when Susan Roe contacted Jeff Zeis about potential Zeis Group assistance with communications for AGIA’s in-house agent sales organization for individual, fully underwritten life insurance: Life Insurance Central (LIC).

The original request was for improved individual life insurance post-lead (follow-up) communications to reduce back-end fallout. After a review of the full LIC digital lead-generation process, Zeis Group proposed (and AGIA agreed to) a significant transformation of the full process, from front-end emails to a newly designed and built-from-scratch initial quote platform and back-end lead management communications, all centered around a far more seamless user experience.

The goal was to better leverage the latent value of client group-provided email addresses to generate more leads for LIC.

PIMA: Talk about your strategy.

Zeis: The strategy was to engage with group members on their own terms, eliminating industry terminology and replacing it with content users could easily understand, relate to, and act upon as they reviewed their life insurance options.

It soon became apparent that executing on this strategy would involve moving online initial quote functionality from an outsourced third-party platform to in-house at AGIA for full control over messaging and the overall user experience.

Therefore, the AGIA systems team undertook the extensive, challenging task of creating a quote calculator functionality that aligned pairs of monthly cost ranges, as selected by users, with specific amounts of coverage available from LIC’s various carrier partners.

For example, a user selecting a premium in the range of $20-$30 a month is presented with: “This premium should buy your family about $740,000 of life insurance protection.” (Of course, actual numbers are driven by a given user’s age, gender, and smoker/nonsmoker status).

Zeis Group then built a comprehensive digital lead-generation program around that core new functionality, including:

  • Client-branded and personalized emails with responsive design to render equally well on all major devices and operating systems.
  • A client-branded microsite, written and designed by Zeis Group and built by AGIA, which provided a user-friendly initial quote and a lead form.
  • Multiple email waves, including a full wave one and subsequent user action-driven follow-up emails and a confirmation email for those who submit a lead form.
  • Post lead form communications for use by LIC.

PIMA: How did you develop messaging? Explain the creative content.

Zeis: All messaging was derived from Zeis Group’s extensive insurance lead-generation experience and following best practices established through years of A/B testing for dozens of affinity group, broker, and carrier clients.

PIMA: What were the results?

Zeis: The results were an immediate jump in the number of leads generated for LIC. Between the program pilot and two rollout tests, LIC received nearly 1,300 leads. There was also a program-within-the-program component where Zeis Group versioning was tested against messaging from another marketing team, in which the Zeis Group approach and creative outperformed the alternative by 119% on the pilot, 150% on rollout test one, and 599% on rollout test two.

PIMA: Why do you think it was so successful?

Zeis: Every aspect of program design and messaging was built around optimizing the user experience, and the results reflected that. In addition, Zeis Group messaging was informed by many years of A/B testing and was therefore data-based rather than subjectively assembled.

PIMA: What was the most challenging part of the campaign?

Zeis: The design and AGIA’s building of the initial quote platform for an individual life program that utilized multiple carriers rather than a standard, single carrier-based quote calculator. This required that coverage/cost pairings be presented as monthly cost ranges, then solving for an amount of coverage available within that range from LIC’s various carrier partners — all tied into LIC systems to integrate with LIC agent communications and processes.

PIMA: What advice would you give others who might want to host a similar campaign?

Zeis: First, the full support and buy-in of senior management — in this case, AGIA president and CEO Chris Burke — is essential to building and executing a program of this magnitude. Second, at every decision point, choose the answer that provides the best user experience.

If you’d like to find out about more strategies for heightening your marketing performance or receive recognition for your campaigns, become a PIMA member today to take part in the 2022 PIMA Insights Awards.

Published on March 9, 2022.

PIMA® (Professional Insurance Marketing Association®) is a member-driven trade association focused exclusively on the group-sponsored benefits market.