Case Study: PEMCO — live from Word of Mouth Supergenius

4:00 — Bergen Anderson introduces PEMCO‘s Rod Brooks.

4:01 — Rod is showing a video about the making of the “A Helpful Guide To The People Of The Northwest” videos.

4:03 — Rod says that the NBC affiliate that made the making of video actually pitched them on making it after hearing about all the buzz around their campaign.

4:04 — Consumer Mindset about insurance is:

– The Law
– Not valued
– Not trusted
– Not well understood

The people PEMCO wants to do business with are their competitor companies’ best customer. They’re always shopping, but they don’t see much variation in service.

4:07 — PEMCO’s situation in 2007 was a steady decline in market share due to the high advertising spends by their competitors. PEMCO’s business objective was sustained, profitable growth.

4:08 — Consumers only shop in the top 3 competitors for insurance. Rod asks is thre anything about your brand that makes it better or different from the competitors. If a new customer comes onboard, PEMCO doesn’t make any money till after the third year, and their contracts are good for one year. It’s at this time at the end of the year that they encourage referrals.

4:09 — Advocacy of your customers are great for defending your brand. PEMCO in business for 60 years in a business that hasn’t changed much–but it was there goal to become a world-class experience in customer service in any type of industry.

4:10 — Rod says PEMCO couldn’t innovate in product, so it was their decision to innovate in service, and then to capitalize on the word of mouth from their advocates. They wanted to lead on customer intimacy.

4:12 — PEMCO did in-home research and asked regular people, some customers some not, questions in regards to:

– What keeps them up at night?
– What are your biggest financial concerns

4:13 — Rod says they learned that people of the Northwest were the same, but a little different. They love the local guy, and they love to recycle.

4:14 — Local trumps large. Personal trumps price. PEMCO asked themselves how were they going to connect the Northwest values to PEMCO and own local, while competing with State Farm, Geico, and Progressive. Those brands were bigger, but they couldn’t compete with the locality of PEMCO.

4:15 — microsite has a collection of all the different humorous stereotypes of people from the Nothwest.

4:16 — Rod set goals for PEMCO:

BHAG: Never have to pay for a lead again
Culture: Lead with relationship
VOC: Listen, organize, engage and measure

4:17 — PEMCO wanted their customers to think, “PEMCO’s success depends on the positive opinion of people like me. They listen, participate, encourage, and enable me to share with others.”

– Listen
– Participate
– Encourage
– Enable

4:18 — Rod said PEMCO’s strategy was to create smiles, because smiles lead to conversations, conversations lead to considerations, considerations lead to new customers.

4:19 — In 2009, PEMCO sponsored more than 50 events across Washington state. They created the Wally van filled with interns that they used as a vehicle for listening to customers–not about insurance, but about community. How could they make PEMCO more local. These stories would go into their blog posts.

4:20 — Rod says that PEMCO’s videos, and the Wally van lead to a 300% increase in word of mouth

4:21 — Next steps for PEMCO are to invest more in social media–to listen, and engage further with their employees. They have boot camps for employees on using these new word of mouth tools, and are enabling their employees to do it on there own by training them on how to use the new tools.


Q: Our industry is regulated on giving advice, how do you overcome that hurdle?

A: Rod: For starters keep the, “just say no,” people out. Then, embrace the legal department to incorporate the company policies into the social media policy so they can properly train their employees. As an industry, we need to raise the importance of the conversation. We wouldn’t be here today without insurance–and without those kinds of conversations you’d never elevate the conversation about your heavily regulated industry.

Q: How does this new kind of marketing integrate into the other areas of marketing?

A: Rod: I am lucky enough to have everyone reporting to me because I am the CMO, so all the data comes to me and it enables us to shape our strategy based on all the feedback we get so we can build everything into the overall marketing strategy.

Tags: , , , , , ,


  1. All Things WOM » Blog Archive » Creating Buzzworthy Topics | VIDEO - December 17, 2009

    […] (Pay special attention to presentation summaries from Spike Jones, Saul Colt, Virginia Miracle, Jake McKee, Sam Decker, and Rod Brooks.) […]

Featured Downloads

9 Things to Share That Start Conversations

Use the examples in this guide to help inspire ways to make your message more portable and shareable.

Read More

3 Must-Use Word of Mouth Marketing Tools

These tools will help you kick off any word of mouth campaign no matter what topic, industry, or budget.

Read More

The Top Four Tips for Multiplying Your Word of Mouth

These tips can help you get your marketing to do more work without a lot of extra effort.

Read More

10 Ways to Turn Around Negative Word of Mouth

The most effective ways to stop negative WOM with examples from Zappos, FedEx, Dell, and more.

Read More

The New Topics Worksheet

All word of mouth starts with a topic of conversation — a simple, portable, repeatable idea that gets people talking.

Read More

The Word of Mouth Action Plan

Create a complete word of mouth marketing plan using this worksheet’s eight simple steps.

Read More