I started working at OneAmerica Financial Partners in the fall of 2006 as a temp in the marketing department. Before my assignment finished, the company offered me a full-time position for a newly created role as a marketing communications strategist.
Little did I know that this would happen to me more than once in my career, stepping into a role that was completely new. The good thing about that: you can really only shine. The bad thing about that: if you don’t shine, they already know that they can do without you. And being me, I was only going to dig my heels in and make this MY job that no one else could fill.
Since most of the team I worked with had been with the company and products for several years and worked their way up through sales, I was able to come in almost as a doe-eyed outsider with fresh ideas and a proclivity to always ask, “Why do we do it that way?” How we talked about products, how we attracted new agent talent, how we deployed marketing campaigns was all up for grabs to me.
As part of my role, I wrote, project managed and oversaw distribution efforts for direct mail postcards and newsletters on behalf of 32 regional wholesalers and regional VPs. In addition to the physical marketing, I led our digital efforts and became the guru of our ExactTarget efforts, that included creating email campaigns for 16 internal wholesalers. We did everything from product marketing to event marketing to lead gen efforts through product and company educational programs. I helped get our sales teams up & running faster than any other group in the company and we forged ahead in an industry that is notorious for never being a front-runner in digital efforts due to how regulated insurance is.
One of my favorite projects was developing the marketing plan for our annual sales conference. Since attendance was based on sales goals, marketing efforts were multi-layered to encourage independent agents to sign with us & sell enough product to earn trip. While previous marketing was mostly direct mail, I created our conference microsite with the help of our internal design team and ExactTarget to take advantage of technology that made tracking and marketing automation easier and far more efficient from a staff standpoint.
My time was also spent writing ad hoc sales support material for new product launches, as well as project managing new product materials through state filing and then managing numerous state variations. And from there, managing inventory of our print materials and keeping our online resource center updated with digital assets as they came through state approvals and the hundreds of variations for each of our marketing pieces. Yes, spreadsheets for days, I tell you.
One of the challenging parts of this role was getting acclimated to the long-term care insurance industry and having to understand the granular details of how our products worked. Trying to explain how a deferred annuity pays out over time and the tax implications of such to a 23-year-old is obviously going to take a minute. But I received praise from not only my team, but all the sales teams and other groups within the company for getting us ahead and being the easiest group to do business with.
This was the first job where I realized how much my leadership and collaborative nature was important to getting past hurdles in the workplace. My manager, Bruce Moon, gave me many opportunities to really roll up my sleeves and try a lot of things, including being the first group in our company to broach the realm of social media – something that the company, much less the insurance industry, had not yet embraced or figured out.