Posted by: jmwilsonmga | March 6, 2012

To Convention We Will Go…..!

As the Marketing Manager for a mid-size managing general agency, I’m in the challenging position of stretching a shrinking budget across a fairly vast landscape.  In a soft market, as expenses are cut; the marketing department typically gets looked at first for the low hanging fruit.

As I review what we can afford to let go for the short-term, I refuse to cut conventions and other networking opportunities with various state and local associations. “But these events are a huge expense!” some argue. Sure, they can be costly with the expense of exhibit booth space, staff registration, give-aways, travel costs as well as time away from the office.  However, while the return on investment isn’t always immediately measurable in terms of dollars, I believe the long-term return is valuable and cannot be discounted.

Here are 4 reasons why I believe we benefit by attending our industry association conventions:

  1. Support your associations and they will support you – In the insurance industry, our local and state associations provide tremendous opportunities to be a part of their network of insurance agents. Through our involvement over the years, many of these organizations have provided referrals and recognized our contributions and support in various ways.
  2. Relationships for the long haul – We all know that insurance is a relationship business, but it’s more than just the relationships we have with our direct customers day-to-day. I have personally built many long-lasting relationships with not only insurance agents, but also company representatives, vendors from other related industries (i.e. auto glass, restoration and finance companies), as well as competitors!
  3. Can’t be a part of the conversation if you’re not there – Regardless of a soft market or hard market, it’s important to be visible and available to our agents as well as get a sense of what is happening in their world and the insurance industry as a whole. I also want to avoid ever hearing “Where is J.M. Wilson? Why aren’t they here?”
  4. Keep Learning – One of the great things about our industry is the multitude of continuing education opportunities we have available. Conventions and networking events provide us with the chance to fulfill CE requirements while enjoying the company of old friends and new.

While these are all reasons for us as an MGA to participate in association events, I see most of them as good reasons for independent agents to also attend and take advantage. I’ve seen so many great ideas shared, situations debated and problems solved by getting industry partners together for a day or two.

If you see any of our folks at a convention, golf outing or other networking event, please say hello!  If you don’t see our folks, give me a call and say those words that I dread….”Where was J.M. Wilson and why weren’t they here?”

About the Author : Cathy Baldwin, Marketing Manager

Cathy has been a member of the J.M. Wilson Team for over twenty-one years and currently serves as the Marketing Manager.  She oversees the marketing team, which provides marketing support for our underwriting teams in commercial transportation, property/casualty, professional liability, personal lines, and surety.  Cathy loves the variety in her position as marketing manager.  She has the opportunity to work with everyone at J.M. Wilson, our agents, and the companies we represent.  In her free time, Cathy loves to run and ran the 2011 Kalamazoo Half Marathon.  She also enjoys reading and listening to music – her favorites range from Neil Diamond to Led Zeppelin.

Connect with Cathy on LinkedIn

Disclaimer :  This article is for informational purposes only.  There is no legal advice being suggested or proffered.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions taken or not taken by the readers based upon such information.  This article is the opinion of the author and is not supported or endorsed by J.M. Wilson.  It should not be relied upon and may contain inaccuracies or content may have changed over time, contact your underwriter for the most current and accurate information.  Any comments or responses are the opinions of their authors.  Content on this site is believed to be covered under Fair Use.

Copyright 2012 J.M. Wilson Corporation

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