Today’s marketers are also jugglers who must educate, curate and entertain in an ever-expanding, increasingly global marketplace. It’s a tall order, and one that, in the insurance industry, comes with serious strings attached. For advisors, client-facing marketing materials are subject to close scrutiny from both state insurance departments and federal regulators. This means that every word must be weighed carefully, not only in brochures, newsletters and seminar materials, but also in social media posts and web communication.
In an age of online information, compliance is of critical importance. No longer an issue that can be dismissed or postponed, a formal compliance review has become an actionable step that insurance marketing organizations and independent agents alike are beginning to incorporate into their workflow.
But how can you do this without overwhelming your staff? One solution is to hire a third-party compliance expert, whose sole duty is to review each page of marketing content – and ensure that the compliance ball is never up in the air for very long.
Read on for three benefits of a fully compliant practice.
1. You can communicate the way consumers communicate.
The modern consumer encounters hundreds of marketing messages each day – which means that being in the right place at the right time is vital. The messages that stick are the ones that fit seamlessly into a prospect’s lifestyle. This means different things for different people, but increasingly, social media platforms are where consumers go to get information, to solicit feedback from other users and to build relationships, both personal and professional.
It’s not just the Millennials who are subject to social media’s charms. The percentage of baby boomers that are active on Facebook and Twitter grew 60 percent from 2010 to 2011. Seniors have expanded their share of the social media community by more than 150 percent over the past two years.
Christie Campbell, director of marketing at Socialware, a compliance software provider based in Austin, Texas, notes that, given the growing size of clients’ personal networks on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, advisors who don’t engage on these platforms have a tremendous amount to lose. “Simply banning social media for financial professionals is no longer a reliable option,” she says. “The benefits of leveraging social media are many, but there are regulatory guidelines to follow. It is important to put the right measures in place to safeguard the business, have a social business strategy and realize the client potential that social networks represent.”
Randy Matzke, director of marketing oversight for Advisors Excel, an IMO based in Topeka, Kan., acts as in-house compliance officer for his firm, but says he has been working with a third-party compliance consultant for nearly two years now. From the start, he felt there was simply too much content for one person to oversee, due to a robust turn-key marketing program he manages, which delivers weekly emails, Twitter posts, blog posts, Facebook content, quarterly newsletters and birthday cards directly to his clients’ clients.
This layered content strategy illustrates how marketing dynamics have changed: It’s no longer enough to stay in front of clients on a quarterly or even a monthly basis. The most successful companies are the ones who demonstrate daily that they understand their consumers’ needs. These companies earn loyalty through a remote, yet high-touch, approach.
2. You’ll gain peace of mind.
Of course, the problem with such a high volume of content is that it increases exposure, and hence risk. Advisors industry-wide recognize this; there is an overwhelming sense of worry when it comes to matters of compliance.