Consumers who only own employer-sponsored life insurance are likely ill-informed about how these group plans work and could use guidance from knowledgeable, trusted life insurers. As we continue rebuilding the life insurance industry, now in its sixth consecutive year of growth according to LIMRA, it’s important we put a renewed focus on employer-sponsored life insurance customers who may not be well-informed about their benefit’s shortcomings. The stage is set for life insurance marketers and advisors to reach out to these consumers with a more effectively targeted message using sophisticated marketing technology.
Why the big focus on digital technology? As Acxiom found in its Life Insurance Consumer Dynamics Study, the true risk for life insurance carriers and advisors is not embracing digital marketing as an additional channel for consumer engagement. I’ve been in this business for more than 20 years and know firsthand that selling life insurance involves making an emotional connection with the consumer. This is one reason the industry has been slow to adopt new technologies. They are often viewed as being cold, impersonal and unable to accomplish what a face-to-face interaction can. But the times, they are a changing… and rapidly.
When you take into account that 40% of Americans only have life insurance through their employers and more than 21 million Americans will change jobs this year, according to a study by Harris Interactive and Cornerstone OnDemand — the timing is perfect to reach this group of consumers. To reach so many consumers, you need technology, because there’s no way to have thousands (or millions) of one-on-one dialogues. And to make every interaction count, it’s important you implement a strategy that translates consumer data into actionable insight. These insights can help life insurers better address and influence consumer behavior, which can lead to more cost-effective media usage and better results (sales!).
The race is on for life insurance providers to adopt digital as a way to reach and convert interested consumers into buyers. To frame my point, 55% of Millennials, 73% of Gen Xers and 86% of Boomers have visited carrier websites while searching online for information, proving that digital marketing is already a factor in the life insurance shopping process. How long can social media and mobile marketing remain virtually non-existent in this industry when it clearly runs counter to the Millennial and Gen X buyers and their commitment to these channels?
We are well aware employment situations can change daily. “Jobs for life” no longer exist in the fast-paced world we all find ourselves in today. Head of households in every age demographic need to know their families will be protected financially if they happen to find themselves suddenly out of work, in between jobs or waiting until 90 days is up before joining a group plan with a new employer. Only individual life insurance can guarantee this kind of protection. Sure, we all know life insurance, like any other discretionary purchase, has to be marketed to be sold, but you have to connect with today’s empowered consumers where they are — a place that’s becoming ever more elusive to marketers who aren’t employing some form of marketing technology.
As the economy improves so will the potential for life insurers to maximize the importance of individual plans to consumers who are already enrolled in group plans. The message is that no one will be as young as they are today, and chances are they won’t be as healthy either. Group plans and individual plans have their place and should work in tandem in a consumer’s life. And individual plans provide independence from unexpected changes in the workplace. Email, social media, and online banners — powered by data and sophisticated marketing technology — help position you as a trusted, knowledgeable advisor.
In closing, to grow this business, our greatest concern has to be educating our customers on how individual life insurance can protect their loved ones against the unexpected, including a job loss. Let’s use digital channels to reach more people with this very important message.
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