Discussions:101,499. |. Messages:1,352,505. |. Members:85,225


Survey says: Referrals are top marketing channel for agents, yet 80% lack formal referral marketing and management process

Brian Anderson

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.While referrals are the primary marketing channel – delivering up to 60% of all new business for insurance agents – 80% of the agents in a new survey said they rely solely on informal phone, email or in-person requests, lacking a consistent digital referral strategy.

KnownCircle, a division of SocialTwist, Inc., a leader in social referral marketing that drives referral programs for more than 50 of the Fortune 500 brands, on June 2 announced these results as part of its 2015 Insurance Marketing Survey.

“Most insurance agents understand that referrals are their lifeblood, but many still rely only on traditional word-of-mouth tactics,” said Vinay Murthy, co-founder and vice president of business development, KnownCircle. “It’s imperative for agents to make it easy for customers to spread their message to their social circles. The right technology can help agents modernize their referral process and leverage social media, while tracking and measuring outcomes across multiple channels.”

Additional findings from the study include:

  • Contrary to popular belief, buying Internet leads does not always lead to new business for agents, and in fact ranks lower than traditional marketing as a lead source.
  • Most agents view referrals and social media as their main channels to attract Millennials. In reality, less than 30% of agents engage with customers on social media, and even fewer leverage it to generate referrals.
  • More than 70% of agents disregard reviews and rating sites like Yelp and Angie’s List; these sites are ranked by agents as the least-effective lead source.

The 2015 Insurance Marketing Survey, which focuses on “Generating New Business with Referrals and Social Media,” features insight from agents across the United States about how they are connecting with customers and preparing for the future. The research study includes all major U.S. cities, as well as both independent and captive agents. The majority of participants had 1,000 or fewer customers, though some agents surveyed had 5,000 or more customers.

Murthy added that the insurance industry is undergoing a long overdue change, with agents required to compete on two levels – marketing a wider range of products, and attracting a younger, more tech-savvy, and more socially connected consumer base. He recommended that the insurance industry take heed of another recent study that showed financial services firms that have adopted efficient referral marketing programs have generated 15x message amplification – and 10% new customers per campaign – via formal referral marketing programs.[1]

“Agents should avoid falling into perception traps like social media is only to generate likes or gather followers,” said Murthy. “In this age of the ‘connected consumer,’ social media connects your customers and is fast becoming the primary channel where conversations about new products and services begin. Successful agents will learn how to get in sync with their customers’ changing expectations and preferences on how they find and evaluate the right services-especially when it comes to Millennials.”


• To download the Insurance Marketing Survey report, visit https://cdn.knowncircle.com/press/2015-Insurance-Marketing-Survey-Report.pdf


About KnownCircle: KnownCircle is an innovative social referral network where consumers can discover and connect with local businesses that are most trusted by their friends and family. KnownCircle™ is a business unit of SocialTwist, Inc., a leader in social referral marketing that drives referral programs for over 50 of the Fortune 500 brands. For more information, please visit www.knowncircle.com.


[1] SocialTwist Study: The Connected Consumer – Brand Advocacy Trends from 100+ Social Campaigns



Leave a Comment