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Thoughts from the LIMRA Marketing and Research Conference

LIMRA Marketing and Research conference held in Disneyworld, Orlando was a great success.

The setting at the Disney Yacht club was perfect. It allowed attendees to participate in the conference, relax and spend some time with family and kids. It is the real sense of community for the attendees that brought the best out of the conference.

Digital marketing seemed to be a hot topic at the conference. Here are some takeaways on digital marketing from the conference:

  • Age of the customer: We are truly in the age of the customer, where the customer drives the sales process. So, what does this mean for carriers?
    • The customer should be in the center of everything you do
    • There is a need for recognition that in the age of the customer, the customer ‘buys’ rather than being sold to. This fundamentally is changing the equation of how insurance is bought and sold.
    • The customer is well informed and by the time they connect with the agent or carrier, quite often, they have done their research and are further along in the buying lifecycle. LIMRA indicated that 8 out of 10 consumers research life insurance online, and over 40% then proceed to buy from agent. Further, 85% buyers say that they trust life insurance websites for information (source= LIMRA).
    • Marketing has to cater to all touch points with consumers – social, web, mobile and email. A common question asked at the conference was which social platform is relevant – the answer is simple if you think about the customer first – be where they are! That, now, means that all social platforms have to be covered with varying degrees of focus
  • Mobile: Mobile content consumption for agents and consumers is increasing to the point that it outperforms other mediums such as PC. We are truly in a time where digital marketing strategies need to be mobile first.
  • Marketing campaigns need to be integrated: Offline and online are not as far apart as we may think. The most successful campaigns are ubiquitous across all platforms and engage with the customer consistently at each touch point.
  • Mapping the customer journey: It is more important than ever to map the customer journey – to understand how customers find you, how they buy and how they want to be engaged. With multiple customer conversion touch points, the sales funnel is more like a cocktail glass where everything is shaken up. The journey from offline to online is connected, and social interaction leads to website leads. The customer journey doesn’t just begin at your website or digital asset, it begins on many other touch points that you may not own, they may start on external programs such as Facebook or YouTube.
  • Agent effectiveness: Technology provides ways to enable the field like never before. Carriers are enabling their agents with mobile/tablet apps, portals, training, collaboration tools and improving communication with them. Providing agents with qualified leads seems to be high priority for carriers. The industry seems to be struggling with ways to measure lead to customer conversion, especially with external agents.
  • Social media continues to gain importance for carriers: Social media is playing an ever important part in creating brand awareness, driving conversations with prospects and generating leads. Carriers seem to be focusing on putting in governance strategies to control how they communicate in the social sphere. There seems to be a concern around how social media is truly driving leads, customers and revenue.
  • Measurement drives digital success: The power of digital comes through measurement and iterative execution. The ability to measure engagement drives the ability to improve campaigns and results.

A personal highlight of the conference was learning about Leadership Excellence at Disney. A presentation by a Disney exec conveyed the importance of customer experience and focusing on your people to drive results. If one organization puts the customer in the center of what it does, it is certainly Disney. I experienced the value they place on the customer throughout the resort – the friendly exchanges and supportive staff ensured my experience would keep me coming back. They deliver a culture of service by developing their people and driving employee engagement on the front lines. It appeared to me that Disney has an inverted pyramid organization structure, where the people on the front lines who engage with customers are the most important and everything is done by the leadership to enable them.

It was a wonderful experience. I hope to attend this conference next year again!

Looking forward to hear your experiences too.

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