Warranty : Viral Marketing & the Warranty Industry
Warranty execs get in touch with consumer habits.May 2010 By Nancy Klosek
What methods do warranty companies use to get feedback about consumers and what they are receptive to in an attempted warranty sale—other than that which is provided by their dealer clients? Does viral marketing play a part—or will it play a larger part in how warranty companies obtain customer information in the future? Here's the weigh-in from a sampling of executives:
Keith Meier, senior vice president & general manager, extended services, Assurant:
We continue to look for more direct feedback in addition to our dealers. We're using online surveys and focus groups. Then we can bring that research back to our clients to create some of the next-generation products and programs.
We want to get out in front of identifying trends in today's environment and then share that information with our dealers, rather than only receive information about what is happening today in stores.
We're also working with clients to identify ways to work with them on social networking initiatives. This will allow us to touch more people in an easy fashion and get some timely messages out more easily than before.
Our work with clients in this regard will be case by case—that's typically how we design things, because our clients' environments are all different. It's a component of our Strategic Performance Management program where we identify the best ways to drive growth through a particular client's structure and culture.
Jamie Breneman, senior director of marketing, NEW:
NEW is making a strong effort to interact with consumers and initiate a dialogue about the evolution of our industry and educate them on how extended warranties and service plans can increase their level of product enjoyment, help families avoid unexpected spending, and give them extra peace of mind. Over the last year, we have created an online presence and made use of social media tools to enhance our direct-to-consumer outreach. With posts on Facebook, tweets on Twitter and entries on our consumer blog, The Savvy Shopper, we are able to quickly and easily share consumer tips as well as company and industry news.
Through these channels, we have also conducted two consumer surveys to gain feedback and insight from consumers about their perceptions of extended service plans.
At CES in January, we conducted a survey that revealed nearly a third of participants purchased an extended service plan and nearly half of all respondents encountered product failure or needed product support. One of the greatest key findings we achieved was that 80 percent of survey respondents indicated that they are motivated to buy an extended service plan in the future for protection from unexpected repair costs and their No. 1 reason is because they want to protect themselves from unexpected costs.