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Appeal to Dad's Protector Instinct

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This month will bring a barrage of emails and online advertising banners coaxing mothers and children of all ages to celebrate their fathers and husbands — with a new watch, a grill, the complete National Geographic Collection, a beer club memberships or maybe a personalized beer holster (my favorite). This can also be a great time for life insurers to appeal to fathers (and grandfathers) and what’s really important to them. Like a new Corvette. Er, I mean, like protecting their family’s well being.

Times have changed since the hunter-gatherer days, but men, especially fathers, grandfathers and husbands, still like to be regarded as the “family protectors.” While Father’s Day is a time for consumer marketers to energize buyers with gift ideas for dad, this is also your chance to appeal to him to consider providing an extra layer of protection for his family. Maybe he needs to buy life insurance or update policies for the entire family. Or he might want to consider purchasing life insurance as a gift for his adult children and/or grandchildren.

Connecting with fathers

William Shakespeare said, “It is a wise father that knows his own child.” I say, “It is a smart marketer who knows how to reach and appeal to fathers as buyers.” According to Acxiom’s Life Insurance Consumer Dynamics Study, digital marketing is already a factor in life insurance shopping. More than 68% of Millennials, 45% of Gen Xers and 22% of Boomers used social media as part of the shopping process for life insurance. Fathers are in that number; however, men and women consume and process media differently. I’ll do my best to offer some guidance here. A study from Synaptic Digital and Kantar Video, a unit of international ad conglomerate WPP Group, found that men respond differently than women to “paid” versus “earned” media. The findings showed that men prefer receiving information from an independent third party, while women want both paid (advertising) and earned media to help form a decision.

To reach these men, you’re going to have to turn on your A+ game and use a bit of artifice. Aside from preparing a worthy marketing strategy, which includes social media, you’ll need to comb through your data using a marketing segmentation system to find the fathers/grandfathers in the bunch. Then, you may need to collect more data, so you can extract valuable insights about where your fathers are in their lifecycles. Do they have newborn children? Adult children? New grandchildren? Recently divorced? Recently remarried? Use the date to determine which fathers would make your best upsell customers. (Start with your most valuable opportunities.) This will help you reach fathers with relevant, personalized messaging and offerings.

Getting fathers to listen

Since some research suggests that men are more receptive to earned media, you’ll need to act accordingly with a sophisticated approach. Media coverage, such as a great third-party article about the importance of life insurance coverage, quotes from someone at your company or a customer endorsement in a reputable media outlet, is a great form of this. Use these affirmative mentions and customer testimonials in your multichannel communications to fathers. Also, share this information on your social networking outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter. Your email, direct mail messages and social posts should be written in a way that pulls dads into an engaging dialogue that encourages them to take action!

This is also a good time to point out the not so obvious information to fathers and use third party research to build your case. For instance, women comprise 49% of the workforce — an all-time high — yet 43% have absolutely no life insurance. More women now work outside the home than ever before. Unfortunately, they rarely take the time to protect the financial value they provide. Although 27% of wives are breadwinners, millions of families rely solely on the husband’s life insurance coverage, failing to recognize that their finances would be negatively impacted without her income.

Additionally, more adult children are living at home. According to a poll for the National Endowment for Financial Education conducted by Harris Interactive, 40% of American adults aged 18 – 39 either live at home or have done so in the recent past. The Huffington Post recently published an eye-opening article on the topic that ends with a poll: do your parents give you an allowance? More than 22% of respondents answered yes. That’s about in line with the Pew Statistics that show 1 in 5 18- to 34-year-olds is receiving an allowance from mom and dad.

Remind fathers about these key facts: if moms aren’t insured as equally as they are, the family could be left financially crippled should the inevitable happen. Also, if parents are giving adult children an allowance, chances are these children don’t have life insurance at all — or not enough coverage if they do. This is especially important if these adult children have dependents. If there are no dependents, basic burial insurance can be a good investment. This season, when heightened focus will be on fathers, help your father buyers stay in protector mode.

For more from Rose Cahill, see:

Help Your Customers “Dust Off” Their Life Insurance Policies

The Life Insurance Glass is More Than Half Full


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