Speaking at the first convention of the National Association of Life Underwriters (now the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors) in 1890, author Edward Everett Hale urged the agents to extend the benefits of life insurance to all classes of society. “You should not be satisfied with this upper crust whom you are insuring now,” he said. “Take in us poor dogs who belong to the lower grade and insure everybody.”
Hales words in 1890 are still germane today and worth heeding. It is well to remember that the tax advantages that flow to life insurance have been put there because of the broad social base we are supposed to serve and not for, as Hale puts it, the benefit of the “upper crust.”
Target marketing continues to be a subject for much discussion at industry meetings as well as being a favorite topic in industry literature. Reduced to its simplest terms, target marketing is a deliberate selling process to maximize ones selling time and exposure to prospects. You might say it is an attempt to go directly to the mother lode without having to pan the whole river for gold.
Target marketing makes a lot of sense, but there are problems, which I do not hear being discussed as seriously as the advantages. The primary problem is the target itself. Most, if not all, advocates of target marketing have shown a strong preference for the affluent market (where the gold is) and, in some cases, almost a disdain for all other prospective buyers. Such a concentration of interest inevitably leads to an overcrowded market.
Overcrowding creates its own set of problems, particularly in competitive situations. Price-cutting, business failures and shoddy practices are all manifestations of an overcrowded market.