Boston University’s Professor Zvi Bodie is a very big name in academic finance. He literally wrote the book on investments. Generations of MBAs were raised on his seminal textbook Investments, now in its eighth edition, and it’s not for nothing that his Financial Economics textbook has been translated into nine languages.
So when he drew my attention to a financial service company’s video explaining annuities to consumers, I paid heed. Annuities are complex financial instruments, notoriously hard to explain. Bodie (left) has written textbooks trying to do just that. What’s more, in my own experience, financial services companies are often very poor marketers. What they lack in literacy they often more than make up for in overly exuberant salesmanship.
So I was delighted to receive the tip about Securian Financial’s video introducing their Encore Lifetime Income Benefit. “I think the video is a very effective piece of marketing,” Bodie told me in an email, making it clear that he does not endorse the product or the specific content of the video.
Video is a powerful medium, one that financial services companies are harnessing with increasing frequency, so it makes sense that Securian would use this tool to tell its story. Kerry Geurkink, director of annuity marketing for Securian, was targeting consumers as the ultimate audience in creating the video for the firm’s wholesalers. “We want to present our offerings to advisors in a fresh way and at the same time show what sets Securian apart,” she is quoted as saying in an internal company communication Securian provided to AdvisorOne.
I asked veteran financial services marketer Jay Nagdeman, president of Suasion Resources and author of The Professional’s Guide to Financial Services Marketing, for his professional opinion of the 11-minute video. “Much too long,” he said, adding the video was “a very good idea” that could have been executed better.
The speaker’s slow pace, which might help the audience comprehend a financially complex subject, may have been too slow. “They’ve got somebody speaking like she’s trying to get across to foreigners,” Nagdeman says, adding: “They could have had the advisor talking.”