If there’s a common saying heard throughout all of our offices, it’s that the one thing constant in our organization is change. To keep up with the ongoing demand for growth, whether from new state expansions, launching new products or onboarding companies via an acquisition, Arrowhead Marketing Services acknowledged these challenges and revamped to help.
Enter a new team with old faces. Leading the new Marketing Solutions team is long-time Arrowhead employee Wendy Castelo, vice president of marketing operations. Wendy began her career here in 1998 and worked in various parts of the company, including an old subsidiary called Insurance Express. From there she moved to the call center, then to internal marketing. She also worked as a marketer and underwriter for the old Commercial Wind and Hail program. For the past eight years, she’s been leading the Marketing Operations team, which she will continue to oversee while taking on the additional responsibility of the new Marketing Solutions team.
Rounding out the group is Abigail Berard from Workers’ Compensation, Steve Goebel from Residential Earthquake and Cooper Kyprianou from Personal Property. Their combined 46 years of product and company knowledge will be invaluable as they navigate through all our programs.
“These guys have been great,” Wendy said about the new team. “They made the transition with new responsibilities all while continuing to support their existing profit centers.” She elaborated her pleasure with how well Abby, Steve and Cooper have gelled as a team to help each other out, which is great since she’s limited on time. “They have great attitudes and it’s nice to see they’re up for the challenge and ready to help out.”
Marketing Solutions is part of the recently revamped Marketing Services arm of our internal support departments, Wendy explained. “We’re going to provide training and support to agents and distributors on behalf of cost centers. The gist is that we’re here to help profit centers so they don’t have to stress about finding new producers or getting existing ones to submit more business."
Front Left to Right: Wendy Castello and Abigail Berard
“We’re not just helping Arrowhead programs but also companies throughout National Programs,” she explained. “In fact, we’re hoping to help out the OnPoint Underwriting group as they transition to the Arrowhead brand and need additional marketing support.”
Wendy acknowledged that they have quite a bit of work ahead of them with a hefty list of objectives. It’s a lot to take on, but she's confident and understands they will have to attack one task at a time.
The newly formed Marketing Solutions team is focusing on the following initiatives:
- Jumpstarting B and C producers (the agencies who aren’t sending us that much business)
- Assisting smaller divisions without adequate marketing support to launch new programs
- Expanding existing products into new states
- Cross marketing opportunities with existing products
- Updating agency profiles so our data creates a more robust and useful profile
- Leading global user experience enhancements in Arrowhead Exchange
Wendy noted they’re only 45+ days into this new endeavor, but they’ve had some deep-dive days with a lot of cross-training, which included product knowledge training and ride-alongs in the field.
“The way I envision it, it’s all hands on deck,” she said. “But come January we should be running like a well-oiled machine.”
Communication is key – company knowledge is a bonus
Building the team with people from existing marketing roles was key, Wendy explained, because they already have established relationships with teammates across the organization, streamlining communication. Knowing their goals and constantly updating each other and the programs they’re supporting helps keep them all on the same page.
One of the universal company tools the Marketing Solutions team is utilizing is the Wiki. “It’s where we document everything as we go on all projects,” she noted. They’re also working with Matt Hetrick, another long-time Arrowhead marketing coworker, to build more robust reports for premium distribution and producer report cards, providing an overall better perspective of an agency.
First in line
Some of the programs first in line to utilize the Marketing Solutions team are Arrowhead’s Workers’ Compensation Program and Automotive Aftermarket’s new Express Package Program.
“We’re focused on work comp expanding into Arizona and Nevada where we’re looking for key producers who are the right fit,” Wendy said. “And with Aftermarket, we’re ramping up to help support their new launch around September with the Express Package Program.”
In Arizona and Nevada they’re gathering as much intel on the agencies as they can. “Then we’ll be working the phones to get apps in the door so underwriters have a better feel for the type of accounts being sent in. Once those producers are rolling again, we can present a more defined program plan. But first it’s just finding those agencies, because we don’t have a big presence in those areas.”
Getting back to the roots
One of the things Wendy is most excited about jumping into this new role is getting back to her marketing roots and providing a service benefitting the company as a whole. “We run so thin when it comes to marketing support services, and programs are run so differently. Having this team means profit center leaders won’t have to worry if they can’t afford full-time marketing services. Our team can help get them up and running faster.”
Job opportunities on the horizon
Wendy doesn’t see Marketing Solutions being a four-person team for long. As they fine-tune their processes and procedures with a template approach to their services, she says headcount will no doubt need to expand to accommodate the company’s on-going marketing needs. She’s excited that this will create additional marketing opportunities for people throughout the company.
So, who’s the ideal person to join the team? “They need a can-do, positive attitude for one. That’s key, because everything else they can learn.” However, she would prefer someone with existing knowledge of the company so that they already know the lay of the land. “But they've really gotta have that positive attitude, roll with the punches and know how to bob and weave,” Wendy laughed. “They can’t be timid. They need to know how to navigate their way through this place and multitask. The ability to multitask is essential for success in this role.”
One of the benefits working within Marketing Solutions is that the team isn't working on just one program, doing the same thing everyday. Plus, Wendy noted, you’re able to use your own ideas and create strategies. Summing up, she said, “It’s a good area to grow with the company.”