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Insurance and advertising: At first glance, it doesn’t seem like these two industries have a lot in common. But since millions of viewers and I spend an hour every Sunday night immersed in the 1966 world of ad man Don Draper and his compatriots on “Mad Men,” it’s inevitable that the doings at fictional ad agency Sterling Cooper Drayper Price (SCDP) should teach us some lessons about modern business.

Because your independent insurance agency actually does have some very basic things in common with SCDP. For starters, both are built upon the vision and leadership of their founding partners. Roger, Bert, Don and Lane may not have a lot in common, but collectively they represent the business DNA—the brand of the agency. Both SCDP and your agency succeed by developing intimate customer relationships in which you must know everything about the inner workings of your customer’s business. And both an ad agency and an insurance agency rely on a team of professionals with very distinct disciplines to deliver the final product.

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