Progressive: “Social Media in ‘Unsocial’ Industries'” — Live from BlogWell

3:40 — Bob Pearson introduces Matthew Lehman, Progressive’s Web Experience Director.

3:41 — Matt: My day job is my regular job, and my night job is social media.

3:41 — Matt: If it moves, we insure it, including Segways. We also like to think of ourselves as an innovative company.

3:42 — Matt says it’s a different challenge to use social media in a low-touch environment.

3:43 — Progressive has to find their “in”, and they chose natural catastrophes. Twitter is Progressive’s magical touchpoint. They use it to broadcast relevant information, which is especially helpful since Progressive also has plenty of content regarding what to do in the case of natural catastrophes.

3:45 — Progressive is looking at using Twitter as a pre-catastrophe situation as opposed to a post-catastrophe response.

3:46 — Matt says it was important to show that using social media for customer service works.

3:47 — Matt: We are creating moments of delight.

3:47 — Matt: Find content that can be shared or is trending. Mind your assets.

3:50 — Matt: Have a little fun. Progressive is one of the first companies that offered pet insurance. This has been powerful for the halo effects since people really loved their pets. We created a pet photo widget in Facebook and we got 50,000 active monthly users and we also generated thousands of good policies.

3:52 — Progressive is a believer in Net Promoter Score. The thing with NPS is that you make an outbound touch, like a call or email, to get a response. Even then, how likely are happy consumers to really pick up the phone and call friends?

3:54 — Social media actualizes NPS. Progressive took a vendor-generated way of aggregating the comments about Progressive and they are scoring it.

3:55 — Progressive also looks at what objective folks are saying about the company.

3:56 — Matt: Social has allowed us to have more frequent contact with our consumers. Social increases the number of touches.


Q: Are you trying to think about new ways to sell insurance online?

A: We think there are opportunities for this to happen.

Q: Curious how you tackled this with your compliance department from the get-go?

A: We took baby steps, which is why finding that “in” was important. We had to find a way to demonstrate value.

Q: How are you calculating your ROI? How are you taking all of this activity and calculating this back to sales?

A: We are generating sales from it, but the investment to get these sites up is very low. For us in many ways it is an opportunity cost.

Q: Can you break out how you view these efforts in terms of customer retention and service versus acquisition?

A: Right now it’s heavily in the retention and service side, but we’ve started thinking about a name-your-price product. If you look at the strategic arrows it starts with listen, engage, retain, and it eventually moves to acquisition.

Q: How has this impacted local Progressive agents?

A: Social media can make you hyperlocal and we’re trying to show our individual agents the value that comes with interacting with consumers at this level. We’re partnering with to try and create websites for our agents.

Q: If you can quantify how much of your dollars have shifted from traditional marketing to social marketing.

A: We’ve increased our budget in e-marketing from traditional marketing, but at this point it’s more about the time we’re spending on social media now.

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