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2001 Marketers of the Year: Craig Guiffre

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Even before Sept. 11, insurance companies faced the challenge of educating employers about benefits and coverage in an increasingly competitive and complex environment, said Craig Guiffre, VP-chief marketing officer of institutional business for Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., New York.

But the tragic events in New York City, where MetLife insures a substantial number of businesses, and elsewhere, have made the job even tougher, he said. "Now more than ever, people need to understand what kind of insurance is available and what their options are," Guiffre said. "The marketing challenge is the need to help people understand what our products are."

Guiffre joined MetLife as a sales rep in 1980 and now is responsibile for all research, data management, communications, advertising, sales modeling and e-business integration initiatives. It’s a daunting juggling act, especially when you consider that MetLife has institutional relationships with 86 of the Fortune 100 companies.

MetLife, which reported $210 million in after-tax insurance losses as a result of Sept. 11, is now taking advantage of Guiffre’s talents to implement new programs to educate businesses about its products. Some of those programs are being incorporated into an ongoing marketing campaign, "MetLife is easier," which was named runner-up in BtoB’s 2001 Sawyer Awards (report begins on page 19) for best integrated b-to-b campaign.

MetLife’s ads and marketing materials were designed to teach businesses that it is not difficult to do business with the company, despite the complexities of the insurance industry.

"One of the things that has always concerned us, and which was made more evident by recent tragic events, is that benefits were difficult, confusing and complex," Guiffre said.

The "MetLife is easier" marketing campaign will continue into 2002, and will focus even more on educational aspects, he said.

MetLife is also rolling out a number of tools on its Web site to help businesses and employees determine what kind of coverage they need. One of those is an insurance calculator for indivi-duals, which was made available to the public in early November, and another is MyBenefits.com, a Web platform that is customizable for employers and will be rolled out after the first of the year.

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