Learn how a startup life insurance company relied on AdQuick to introduce a new product to an established, hyper-competitive industry.

In the United States, life insurance is one of the most complex topics to navigate. It’s not easy to approach the topic of after-life care—and the fine print of a policy can be challenging for everyday people to understand.

Ethos, a San Francisco based startup, is well-positioned to change the way Americans think about and purchase life insurance. The company has created a platform that helps everyday consumers purchase a higher level of life insurance coverage, with more transparency, than solutions on the market that they would turn to, otherwise.

“Ethos is on a mission to protect the next million families,” says Daniel Mori who was the former VP of marketing at Ethos. “A lot of people in the United States don’t have adequate life insurance—even though they think they do. We're on a mission to make it as easy for them as possible to obtain the coverage they need to protect their families, their beneficiaries, if the unthinkable were to happen. Education and outreach are central to this mission.”

As with many of today’s most talented consumer marketers, Mori has a talent for building highly efficient marketing campaigns. His years in digital marketing have taught him how to adapt to the many twists and turns of an ever-evolving growth landscape.

He needed a way to improve the value of his existing brand marketing and advertising initiatives. So he turned to out-of-home advertising (OOH) and AdQuick in particular.

“We design our budgets to focus on three interrelated objectives—data acquisition, improved targeting, and cost management,” says Mori. “The simplest way to optimize for all three is to create a memorable brand with customers, so they know that we have their backs.”

Out of home (OOH) helped Ethos think about marketing in a bigger way

Beyond running marketing campaigns, one of Mori’s goals was to establish a thoughtful analytics program. That means establishing a framework to synthesize reporting mechanisms from multiple campaigns. Mori viewed the AdQuick platform as a central part of this goal.

“Our hypothesis was that increasing brand awareness would potentially help us lift the performance of every other channel,” says Mori. “We organized most of our testing around brand measurement, so we could look beyond last-click attribution to understand the people we’re reaching, on a deeper level.”

“One important thing to take into account is that you can’t expect to have the same measurement criteria apply across all media. Out of home is a very particular medium, and you have to think about all the nuance that is there.”

Insight into these nuances are especially valuable for companies like Ethos that are tapping into an otherwise competitive market. In the life insurance industry, especially, one of the biggest challenges that marketers face is competing with the tight relationships that existing brands have with consumers.

“As an early stage startup, even though we have a very good product, we do not have the same name and brand recognition as more established, enterprise companies,” Mori elaborates.

Why AdQuick, in particular?

With a deep background in digital, performance-focused channels, Mori’s campaign with AdQuick was his first experience with OOH.

“This was a first-time challenge in my career,” he explains.

One of the reasons why he decided to work with AdQuick was the platform’s digital capabilities.

“We decided to work with AdQuick because of the platform’s simplicity, transparency, and track record,” he says. “Out of home allows us to deliver clear and impactful visuals—to intercept people wherever they are, in a straightforward way, wherever they are in their day-to-day life. With AdQuick, we had confidence that we would get our campaign right, the first time.”

As a first-time out of home advertiser, Mori needed guidance for developing his campaign’s targeting parameters—how to reach the right people, in the right places, with the right message.

“Targeting was a challenge for us,” he says. “We needed help defining our demographic criteria. Marketing life insurance requires an understanding of the life changes that people are navigating—having children, purchasing a home, moving from the city to the suburbs, to name a few examples.”

AdQuick helped translate these high-level audience stories into well-defined demographic targeting parameters. Mori came to the table with a story and vision. AdQuick brought it to life.

“I think AdQuick and Ethos both have something in common—ease of deployment,” says Mori. “With AdQuick, you can deploy campaigns across multiple vendors with a single point of contact.”

“What I found most helpful about AdQuick was the ability to customize everything: placements, targeting, budgets—everything," Mori says. "The platform was flexible and adapted to us. We had a very specific budget in mind. AdQuick gave us a range of possibilities to apply it. They were able to help us find multiple options in varying geographies. For this reason, we were very confident in our campaign, even before we launched it.”

How human interest and success fuel each other

OOH helped Ethos stay true to its brand values with every audience interaction. Ultimately, the startup’s goal is to create a better experience for consumers who must otherwise navigate a complex process for buying life insurance.

“One of the main differences between our buying process and what people would experience elsewhere is that people don’t need to speak to an agent to apply for life insurance,” Mori says. “It’s a simple process that anyone can do at home or over the phone. People don’t need to take blood tests or urine tests. We’re not in the business of selling either—our sales team consists of full-time employees rather than commission-based insurance.”

AdQuick made it possible for Ethos to deliver a unified, memorable message to its audience across multiple vendors and geographies.

“I’m proud that we put a simple message in front of people, in front of our target audience, where they could see it during their everyday commutes,” Mori says. “High-quality life insurance is tough for people to get. Changing this status quo means getting our message in front of the right people.”

Following our out of home campaign, customers were able to get what they needed in under 15 minutes. AdQuick helps our business grow by serving the American public.

To learn from more AdQuick customers, check out this 3 minute video, here.

Contributors Statement

This blog post was a collaboration between the AdQuick team. Chris Gadek, John McClung, and Jack Gaylor contributed to this piece. Payton Biddington created the visuals. If you'd like to learn how out of home can work with your unique marketing campaign and business, send a quick email to requests@adquick.com or call (213) 986-6179. We'll reach out with case studies and recommendations tailored to you.


The opinions expressed are those of the authors. This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. Please be sure to consult with your internal team of stakeholders to assess your specific needs before adapting any practices from this blog, as your own.