“Marketing without research is not marketing,” said Thomas Hayes at a meeting here. In fact, research is the very basis of marketing, said Hayes, a professor of marketing at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The remarks came during a breakout session at the annual meeting last month of the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies, Fairfax, Va.
During the session, Hayes reported on results of his own researchconcerning the NAILBA membership–in September 2003. It was a quantitative study that drew a 29% response from NAILBA members, a percentage that is considered to be a “good return” in research circles, he said.
In revealing some of the findings, Hayes cautioned that a quantitative study is like a snapshot, a look at things at one point in time.
A firm wont know how significant the findings are until the firm has 3 or more similar studies, he indicated. This will reveal a trend.
As for the NAILBA study, this is the first such statistical evaluation of the membership, he noted. The organization will conduct more studies in the future.
Among the findings: “Overwhelmingly, the NAILBA members identified independent agents as their primary customers,” said Hayes, noting that 97% of respondents picked this channel.
Renewals and recurring fees accounted for 21% to 30% of total revenue at 24% of the respondentsa figure Hayes called “significant.”
And term insurance accounted for more than 51 applications per week in 19% of the responding agencies, and between 31 and 50 applications per week in 18% of the agencies.
This term app flow was substantially larger than the app flow reported for whole life, variable life, annuities and long term care insurance. Furthermore, 34% said term insurance represents more than 51% of annualized commissionable premiums.
However, when asked to identify which product lines saw increases, decreases or no change in applications in comparison to last year, 34% of the agencies said whole life apps had increased, and 25% said long term care insurance apps had increased. Only 16% said term life apps had increased (while 28% said term life apps have remained the same).
What about annuities? The answers were “all over the place,” said Hayes, with members reporting increases, decreases and no change almost equally.