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Boosting your term life sales with predilective marketing

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Relevant to most individual term life sales is a life event — a wedding, the birth of a child, the purchase of a house.

Predictive marketing attempts to determine when such a future event will occur. Predelictive marketing takes that science to a higher level.

Let’s start with predictive marketing, a current financial services buzzword and predilection’s forerunner. Predictive marking, in the simplest of terms, can be evidenced by watching a group of children. Give a group of children several hours together in a park and the ball players, the rope jumpers, the bug studiers will all tend to find each other. It isn’t hard to figure out how or why. Inherently, we are drawn to people like ourselves and, consequently, the same happens to adults at, say, the local chamber function.

See also: 5 events that increase the need for life insurance

Predictive marketing uses the same information in an attempt to determine consumer behavior. This is easily shown using your favorite Internet browser and search engine. Spend 20 minutes researching a product (I tested bb guns) that is outside of your standard search engine usage. Lo and behold, you will begin to see advertisements from companies selling that product. Hence predictive marketing: if the user is seen to be spending time researching a product, it is predicted with some degree of certainty that he or she will purchase the product or a similar product.

Here are two quick examples.  Most recently, using location sharing on smartphones, retail stores have begun to text advertisements to the shopper’s smartphone based on the mall location of the shopper. As I was editing this article, I was sitting in the service department waiting for my car to be repaired. The woman across from me on her laptop laughed and stated that her Google ads were now asking her if she wanted to know the value of her car. Within three minutes, she was asked if she was interested in the price of this year’s model of her car.

Predilection marketing: A different approach

Let’s now move on to predilection marketing. To have a predilection is to have a bias for something, known or unknown. Using a sports analogy, one could say baseball players have a predilection for chewing tobacco.

Predilection marketing takes predictive marketing to the next level. The easiest way to visualize this is to think of having six letter-size pieces of paper each with a set of holes through them. When you randomly drop them on top of each other onto a table, none of the holes completely line up, but at some locations you can see through the misaligned holes to the table surface. In other words all six pieces of paper on that drop have at least a partial hole in common. Each subsequent drop will, of course, deliver unique results.

Using the above analogy, if we are looking for families that might be interested in a financial service this month, the same process is completed. An easy example is term life insurance. Each of our six pieces of paper will be what is called a filter. Six relative filters could be:



Marital Status



Recent family birth

When laying those six layers of “paper” down, there will be places in the data where particular individuals, like the table surface in the example above, show through. Every month, looking at potential clients through those same filters will deliver different results.

Not seeing those individuals that remain under the six layers of filters allows the observer to easily focus on the small subset of individuals, thus dramatically decreasing advertising and marketing costs. Most importantly, the cost of spending time and energy pursuing non-interested individuals is dramatically minimized.

Keep in mind that the individuals that fit the above filters might not be aware they have a predilection or a fondness for term insurance. That’s where an agent comes in.

The goal in the campaign is to have a predilection score of more than 90 percent. In relation to direct mail for example, when the score becomes less than 70 percent, the campaign will have marginal economic results, when the campaign’s score reaches 95 percent, it is considered perfect. A 100 percent score, however, is worse than a 0 percent score (for the insurance agent anyway), as that person probably just purchased life insurance.

Of course, as in predictive marketing campaigns, there are the occasional tap dance shoe advertisements showing up at the biker bar. However, in the ongoing pursuit of lowering the cost of acquisition, predilection marking is an essential tool.


For more sales advice, see:

Is the insurance industry reaching multicultural markets?

Salesman or problem-solver? The stigma of insurance

What millennials want from agents


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