Communicating Your Competitive Advantage in the Hard Market

As published on Independent Agent Magazine

In a hard market, price is no longer the main differentiator when it comes to purchasing insurance coverage. Instead, smart agencies and brokers are competing for business by communicating their unique, consultative approach—and the best way to do that is through content.

Showcasing your competitive advantage with content in today’s hard market isn’t just a great idea, it’s the key to surviving. In fact, as many as half of business-to-business decision-makers engage with three to five pieces of content—whether online, print, video and social media—before ever reaching out to a salesperson or producer, according to a Demand Gen Report. Additionally, more than 75% of buyers and sellers now prefer digital self-serve and remote engagement over face-to-face interactions, according to McKinsey.

The best content will educate your audience on policy issues, like exclusions and add-ons they may need; offer free risk management best practices advice; and provide industry-specific advisories.

Here are four ways to communicate your competitive advantage in today’s hard market.

1) Take a deep dive. Share a head-to-toe analysis illustrating knowledge of a specific market. For instance, e-books, white papers, or guides on executive lines or cyber coverage could be a starting point.

Begin with a general narrative on the topic. Include statistics and market analysis from your internal leaders. Pepper in case studies, best practices, and, most importantly, a list of tips or tricks on surviving the hard market.

2) Be relatable. Make your subject matter experts the voice of your business and write in a casual tone to achieve that real one-on-one connection. Include a real byline on every piece of content, preferably the name of your internal expert on that topic.

3) Segment content by market. One in 5 consumers who expressed interest in a personalized product or service were willing to pay a 20% premium for it, according to Deloitte. Showcase your expertise in each market you serve independently.

Do this by developing an e-book or list of best practices and tips on a specific risk or topic that applies to one or more of the sectors you serve. Then write a different intro for each market that includes stats or risks unique to each. Think of it as a two-for-one, reducing costs and production time.

4) Build internal brand ambassadors. Once you’ve created content, leverage key employees, internal experts and notable leadership to spread your message. Encourage your leaders to post the content you’ve created to their personal social media accounts or, at the very least, forward the post to their contacts. When it comes to LinkedIn, people follow people, and your executives have a wide net. Let them cast it for the company.

If you are an expert in an industry, market or local niche and you don’t educate your prospective customers on what you know, the expertise lives in a vacuum. In today’s content craze, another business will take the customers you’re leaving on the table. Start producing educational content today!

Mindi Zissman is a ghostwriter specializing in risk, insurance and compliance. Her business, Zissman Media (, has been helping businesses write blog posts, e-books, white papers and annual reports for more than 17 years.

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