Maria Johnsen had a knack for marketing at an early age. After doing a round of fun marketing roles for a coffee shop franchise and then a youth magazine, she was ready for a bigger challenge. That challenging but rewarding career has led her to working in marketing for Steadfast.
What are some cool projects you have worked on?
‘We worked with Kochie’s Business Builders, a small to medium-sized enterprise-focused television program. It was a great project to work on because [we] were aligning ourselves particularly to an audience that needs advice and expertise. I really enjoy the video part of this job in that we create beautiful testimonials that show the value of using an insurance broker and getting the experience of how the whole process works. This is really eye-opening and a good thing to understand.
‘[In terms of] sponsorships, we have worked with Brisbane Raw, [the] A-League soccer [team]. We sponsored Brisbane Raw for three years and the first year they won the grand final. It was so good to be part of that little family and celebrate with them. It’s good to learn from them and understand how they work as a team, and also integrate some of what they do, [into] what we do at Steadfast.'
How did you end up working in insurance?
‘I am one of those people who did just fall into it. Prior to working for Steadfast, I worked for Pacific Magazines’ youth division. It was a really fun job and I thoroughly enjoyed it but I realised at the time [that] publishing was insecure, so I had a look at what else was around. There was a listing for a job that said you had [the] opportunity to build the brand from the ground up and prepare [the company] for listing on the stock exchange. I knew [it] would be very challenging but rewarding and I couldn’t pass it up. The role ended up being for Steadfast as a marketing coordinator, where I assisted in a lot of [the implementation] and rollout of the brand. [I] helped with brand development, collateral, TV ads, brand videos, co-branding for our broker network, and drove awareness for [an] audience that had never seen or heard of Steadfast before.’
How has the marketing strategy changed since you started?
‘When your goal is just awareness, traditional media is essentially the place [that] people go: TV, radio, billboards — the big pieces that get a lot of notice. When you’re going [for] an awareness-play, you target anybody and everybody. That [strategy] wasn’t essentially driving real valuable lead to our brokers, which is why we moved to a more targeted approach [that] led us to digital, search engine marketing, display advertising and video. This really allowed us to hone in on particular audiences and then drive traffic to our website, to then drive clicks and calls to our brokers.’
What advice would you give someone starting or thinking about a career in insurance?
‘Be open to opportunities. Particularly if you’re a marketer. Marketing skills can be transferred to any industry and any business. People look at marketing and think about the fun, creative stuff or the digital space, and it is absolutely that and you can do it anywhere. A career in insurance can be extremely rewarding in that you learn and constantly develop to understand the customer and their needs and [you are always] looking at creative ways to promote a brand. There are skills you can take to any other business, where people will look [upon] and go “Wow, that’s great work[!]”.’