Reports point to need for diverse marketing in auto insurance market

A report released earlier this week by Dealer.com showed how social media is impacting consumers' decisions in researching and purchasing a new car or automobile.

A report released earlier this week by Dealer.com showed how social media is impacting consumers' decisions in researching and purchasing a new car or automobile, reflecting just one of the few ways in which the social landscape is transforming buying trends.

But what about auto insurance? A separate report released on Wednesday by marketing firm Acxiom suggests word-of-mouth communications and promotions on Twitter, Facebook and other networks is instrumental for informing consumers' insurance shopping habits.

The study points to the need for insurers to incorporate novel marketing methods to reach customers - not merely mass advertising.

"Auto insurance buyers are no exception when it comes to saving money, but this message is running out of gas," said Clark Wooten, a vice president at Acxiom. "Now more than ever, auto insurers must extract valuable insight from customer data to deliver personalized messaging and maximize interaction at every customer touch point."

One way firms are leveraging customer data is through mystery shopping - a research sensation that allows companies to cull first-hand insight into customers' demands and preferences.