Making the case for long-termism in marketing investment

How Direct Line Group proved the benefits of taking the long view across its portfolio

Ebiquity are key partners in our insight and effectiveness programme. Innovative research and analytics have helped us change the way we think about marketing investment both in the long-term and the short-term, which has ultimately helped in achieving better returns.

Ann Constantine
Head of Marketing Effectiveness and Insight at
Direct Line Group

Practice & Location

Ebiquity Media
Office: London

Objective

Direct Line Group (DLG) is a U.K. insurance company, with a portfolio of brands appealing to different types of customers. The portfolio includes Direct Line, Churchill, Green Flag, and Privilege. Some brands are sold direct only, while others are also sold on price comparison sites. DLG wanted to better understand how different levels of investment support the different brands across its portfolio, both short term and long term. The company was looking to establish best practice in balancing investment in customer acquisition and brand support for its product lines in all sales environments.

Approach

DLG’s Marketing Effectiveness and Insight team has a track record of bringing its partners together into cross-functional teams to help shape the commercial planning process. This includes the in-house team, creative and media agencies, research and econometric partners. As an integral part of this team, Ebiquity has worked to help DLG establish which factors are important in driving consumer choice and decision-making.

In the price comparison website space, we helped to determine – by using careful matching and multivariate analysis – that brand strength is a critical driver of choice even in this very competitive environment which has near-perfect price transparency. In the direct-to-consumer space – which has greater reliance on top-of-mind awareness – Ebiquity deployed long-term brand equity analysis to identify the most important clusters of brand attributes and quantified their long-term impact on sales.

The team found that consumers are willing to pay more for an insurance brand that they trust. Trust is built over years of sustained investment. The more people know an insurance brand, as measured by prompted awareness, the more they trust it.

Following from that, DLG was able to show that when insurance brands enjoy enhanced trust, this will be reflected in click out rates from price comparison websites to the brand site and will yield a quantifiable benefit all along the path to purchase. The brand equity modelling found that brand attributes tend to make up clusters such as, for example, “straightforward reliability”, “good customer service”, and a sense that the brand will “do the right thing”. These clusters of brand attributes in turn drive consideration, preference, and purchase. We found that positive brand equity helps to drive almost as many sales long-term as it does short-term.

Outcomes

DLG’s marketers are constantly striving to minimise costs and drive new efficiencies. This programme gave DLG the rationale and the evidence to pursue a long-term investment strategy and succeed.

Mark Evans, Marketing Director of DLG discusses ROI in the Insurance market, insight and effectiveness and DLG’s work with Ebiquity

Quantified the role of brand in the price comparison website environment

Improved propositions/customer experience for DLG's brands

Improved propositions/customer experience for DLG's brands

Provided evidence for putting support behind brand icons shown to be key to familiarity and trust

Project & Process

Analysed long-term impact of brand ads in all sales environments

Developed portfolio strategy for marketing investment

Assessed emotional drivers of customer behaviour

Identified evidence and rationale for short- and long-term effects