Today’s strategy focuses on timing, demographics & channel
by David ReidMr. Reid is CEO of EaseCentral, which offers a broker-friendly employee benefits system for quoting, enrollment & management. Visit easecentral.com
Navigating the insurance industry is unique, and this is especially true for marketing. Rather than a strong sales approach, successful marketing in the insurance industry focuses on educational marketing. Key factors to consider when marketing are timing, demographics, and channel of messaging.
- 1. Timing is one variable which makes marketing insurance different than other industries as there are only a few key windows in which employees can take advantage of their offerings. Therefore, the marketing should ensure that employees are well aware of their options well in advance of these windows, and are reminded at optimal times.
- 2. As for demographics, it’s important for marketers be highly targeted in their approach as offerings differ drastically based on an employee’s marital status, children, pay rate, and more.
- 3. Finally, the channel used to relay the message to the employee is something that marketers should prioritize, especially in today’s digital world. Insurance is traditionally a pen and paper industry where information is shared via handouts that employees tend to quickly misplace. Today, in a market where the audience is constantly engaged online, marketers need to ensure they are taking advantage and reaching their audience where they are most likely to engage.
Taking Advantage of Timing
In the insurance industry, there are only a few windows of timing in which employees can actually purchase, or make updates to their plans. These are the open enrollment period and qualifying life events. Qualifying life events include getting married, having a baby, divorce – essentially any event which would change one’s tax filing status. These well-defined windows provide clear-cut opportunities for marketers to make meaningful connections with their target audience and educate them on what to do in each event.
In the months before open enrollment begins, marketers should circulate educational and awareness-based materials ensure that employees are aware what their benefit options are, how they can go about making selections, and the deadline for doing so. Marketing materials should increase in frequency as open enrollment season approaches.
When it comes to qualifying life events, timing is also key as alerting newlyweds or new parents to the offerings they now qualify for in a comprehensive and timely manner. This significantly increases engagement from the employee and their dependents. In the future, technology tools will expand these windows as well. For example, by integrating with eligibility tools, it would be possible to know, within minutes in many cases, of events that impact benefits such as a child birth. These are perfect times to offer guarantee issue life insurance to new parents in a manner that makes it easy to enroll.
Know the Demographic Profile of your Target Audience
There are clear-cut windows where marketing in the insurance industry is more essential. There are also well-defined demographic divisions that allow marketers to be hyper targeted in their message to ensure relevancy to their audience. Offerings can be individually focused based on ideal demographics for a product. For example, the life insurance offerings to a married, teacher, age 38, with two kids and earning $50,000, and living in Amarillo Texas would be different from a single, attorney, age 38, earning $400K per year and living in San Francisco. Each part of that demographic breakdown means something different in terms of the benefits each man is eligible for or would even be interested in.
Marketing life insurance to the 22-year-old entry level employee will likely be totally ignored, while the same marketing materials to a middle-aged employee with a family will likely result in increased engagement. Age, sex, marital status, number of children, salary, and geographic location are all factors that marketers should pay attention to and personalize their materials accordingly. By curating and segmenting marketing materials in this way, marketers can grab attention while effectively ensuring that employees are aware of the benefit offerings that matter to them specifically. This is much easier when using online enrollment technology because the demographic information is gathered, allowing the right products to be subsequently presented.
Harnessing Tech to Reach Your Target Audience
Traditionally, marketing insurance has been done through in-office meetings and paper handouts. However, it is no secret that a technological revolution has taken place in recent years which has given marketers dozens of new channels to reach their audience. To keep up with the times, it’s important for those in the insurance agency to market to their audience on the most popular channels: email, social media and other online, and specifically mobile applications. Not only does online marketing increase the chances that the employee will actually look at the materials, it also offers the most efficient way for them to enroll in plans or conduct additional research.
When an insurance benefits and HR technology platform is layered on top of this online marketing push, efficiency is increased tenfold. A benefits platform allows employees to complete the entire enrollment process online, allowing employees to receive marketing material and immediately click through to instantly make selections. Because individuals are rarely without their mobile device, marketing through this channel offers an opportunity for an instant reaction and feedback.
Agents should be sure to take advantage of the tools at their disposal that can marketing more comprehensive than ever before. Harnessing technology to reach the target audience on their preferred channels allows for a faster response time and greater personalization of the message. Marketers should pay close attention to the demographic breakdown of their audience when crafting these highly personalized messages, as the individual’s demographics weigh heavily on which benefits, they are eligible for, and thus which items are relevant to them. The final key to encouraging engagement through marketing is timing. Marketers should increase the frequency of their outreach in the months leading up to open enrollment season.
The optimal scenario incorporates all three aspects to target an individual after a qualifying life event, such as a marriage, via their mobile device with the option to instantly enroll their new spouse. That scenario is the future of insurance marketing that the industry should be actively working towards. ◊