A new era of marketing and distribution may be dawning in the insurance industry, as regulatory changes, industry trends and technology put pressure on old business models.
During the Insured Retirement Institute’s Vision 2016 annual conference Sept. 25-27 in Colorado Springs, panelists discussed how innovative marketing programs can amplify a message and communicate directly to consumers in a way that can benefit the industry as a whole.
The following are highlights from the session.
Rich LaVoice, executive vice president of retirement sales at Symetra Financial, moderated the panel. He asked panelists to explain how technology, which is empowering consumers, will change the role of the advisor.
Michael Kazanjian, vice president of marketing at Lincoln Financial Group, said the biggest change technology brings is that it gives consumers access to an unprecedented amount of information.
“There’s almost too much information,” Kazanjian said. “Pre-digital, the consumer really didn’t have much information and went to a financial advisor, who would provide information to make a decision. Now it’s almost information overload. When they come in, they have so much information it’s like going to the doctor and already having diagnosed yourself. So now the advisor is navigating that knowledge and reaffirming decisions.”
Kazanjian compared it to the CarMax model, which changed the car-buying experience by putting computer stations in dealerships and empowering customers to gather information for themselves.
Christine Tucker, vice president of marketing in the Retirement Solutions Division at Pacific Life Insurance Company, said technology will change the wholesaler role by democratizing information for both the advisor and the wholesaler. She said wholesalers that leverage technology will create efficiencies that will allow them to spend more time on evangelizing products and services.
The agents and advisors of tomorrow may have no choice but to embrace technology. (Photo: iStock)
What should the focus of marketing be going forward, LaVoice asked?
Rodney Branch, chief marketing officer at head of product for Prudential Annuities, said the industry needs to think differently about who they are competing with in the market. Rather than competing with each other, Branch suggests that in reality, insurers are competing with other things that consumers spend their money on, such as going to an NFL football game, instead of investing in retirement vehicles.