Active Marketing

Let me first begin by saying, I am not quite a “marketing professional.” In fact, I am not a “professional” at all – yet. I am a 23-year-old college student. I received my BBA in Marketing in 2008 and will graduate this December with my MBA. The thing about college is, it teaches you all of the terms and principles you “need to know”, but not necessarily how to apply them in the real world. This is where an internship comes in, and I have had the great pleasure to work as a Sales & Marketing Intern for the Barhorst Insurance Group this summer. Though I have been here just over a month, I have already learned so much!

One of my first tasks as an intern was to create a referral program that provides apartment complexes in the area with an incentive to refer their renters to us for their insurance needs – specifically, Renter’s Insurance. As any good marketer knows, you must have a plan before you start your marketing activities. With the help of the Marketing Director, Mary Cuccurullo, we came up with an idea to create a referral contest and define a plan for implementation. Our goal was to get Leasing Agents to refer business to us, and in return, we would provide them with a chance to win a gift card. For every referral they sent us, we would enter their name into a monthly drawing. At the end of the month, we would draw a name, and the winner would win $100. This contest would then start over at the beginning of the following month. Now we had our incentive!

The next step was to create the sales collateral for the referral program. I’m no graphic design artist, but I can navigate my way through Photoshop. I created a flyer to promote the contest, a sheet with the contest rules, referral cards for renters to fill out with their contact information, and flyers to leave behind at the apartment complexes. After much back-and-forth and some here-and-there tweaking, the graphics were done and sent to the printer.

Now it was time to go out and get the ball rolling. I visited apartment complexes in the surrounding area (over 40 of them) and spoke with Leasing Agents. My goal was not to sell them a policy, but to talk with them (not to them) and establish a relationship. In my opinion, this is the best way to get business; the bottom line is people are not going to refer business to someone they don’t know or someone they don’t like. Sure it’s cheesy, but “if you build it, they will come”, “it” being the relationship and “they” being “the customers.”

This task – developing a referral program, creating sales collateral, and visiting apartment complexes encompassed four different aspects of marketing: relationship-building, active marketing (getting out there and meeting people as opposed to sticking up a sign), referral marketing, and offering incentives. People generally tend to think with the mindset of, “what’s in it for me”, but to a successful marketing approach will ask “what’s in it for them?”

Aside from this project, I have worked on several other tasks and continue to face new challenges everyday. Come August, it will be time to pack up my things and head back to school, but for now, I am taking in this new experience and looking forward to what the remainder of my internship will bring.

-Rian Beaudoin, Sales & Marketing Intern

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