The key to financial services: Be simpler, more human and braver

Be simpler. Be more human. And be braver.

These are the concepts everyone in the UK protection market needs to adopt to be successful in future according to speakers at this summer’s Protection Review Conference.

financial services

Simpler is obvious. Well known campaigner for plainer English in financial services, Rhys Williams of Quiet Room suggested we need less complicated products. Easier to understand marketing and policy material. And quick navigable straight through processes.

Being more human needs product providers to show more empathy with customers, particularly at claims stage. Empathy expert Alasdair McGill described better methods of communications to make the customer experience for bereaved people better in such difficult circumstances.

And being braver meant exploring new product models, challenging established ones and pushing the boundaries with underwriting. Jackie Leiper from Scottish Widows looked at some of the innovations from different insurance markets and the lessons we could learn.

There is evidence of all this starting to happen.

AIG Life’s critical illness product, Key 3, is a good example of making things simple.

The 7 Families income protection campaign proves the power of using video to tell the stories of people affected by illness. That’s a more human touch.

It’s harder to find examples of protection companies being braver however.

Another common thread discussed by the panel that followed these speakers was the need for the industry to better engage with younger people. Journalist Iona Bain, founder of the Young Money Blog put forward some interesting views on the communications challenges involved. In the days after the conference, I found myself thinking more and more about young people and protection. I wished we’d had more time to explore some of the issues Iona raised.


I went away and started looking for companies in other industries that had looked at specifically marketing a product to younger people. It became clear that among marketers there’s much talk about how to target millennial.

Is that what protection providers should do? Come up with a set of products, marketing campaigns and processes that’ll appeal to millennials?

Air France is launching an airline for millennials. Called, Joon, it aims to complement the supposed millennial lifestyle revolving around digital technology, convenience and low-cost.

The more I dug into the idea though the more detractors I found to the idea of targeting millennials. Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson said segmenting an audience purely based on age is “stupid”. And targeting millennials “makes a mockery of just about every principle of basic segmentation”. As I career marketer I agree with this.

“Clearly millennials as a generational cohort do exist – they are the two billion people on the planet born between 1981 and 2000. But the idea that this giant army all want similar stuff or think in similar ways is clearly [rubbish].” (Mark used a much more vivid term in his original article.)

Marketing strategy

Of course, it’s basic marketing theory. Find out what your customers problems are, find a solution to that problem and then communicate with them about why your solution is better than everyone else’s. There are millennials who like rock music and there are those who like drum and bass or dubstep. One size doesn’t fit all.

A protection millennial solution might use the same digital, convenience and low-cost approach to Joon. If young people are more used to renewable contacts on phones and other services, perhaps an annually renewable term assurance would be better?

My conclusion, after reading up on the subject, was that whilst we need to talk to more younger customers and include them in our product development process, the recommendations of the speakers at the Protection Review Conference are the ones to follow.

Being simpler, more human and braver will ultimately work for all customers whether they belong to the millennial generation, that which came before and those that will come later.

Now it’s you turn:

How do you think we can be simpler, more human and braver. In any industry, not necessarily just financial services? Please leave a comment and share on social media.

If you need help keeping your marketing simpler – please get in touch and let’s talk about how I could help you.

Money Marketing Magazine published a shorter, edited version, of this article right here.

Maria Nedeva from academia to launching The Money Principle blog – MAF147

My guest this week is business school professor, Maria Nedeva.

We talk about her academic career and how it led her to launch The Money Principle blog where she helps people to grow income, eliminate debt, build wealth and love their lives.

Welcome to episode 147 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Maria Nedeva from academia to launching The Money Principle blog - MAF147

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • The four pillars of the Game of Wealth
  • Igniting the spark of curiosity in young people about money
  • How to refocus from teaching to learning
  • How massive personal debt led to Maria deciding to launch The Money Principle blog
  • Why baby boomers might be a better obsession for marketers than millennials

Who is Maria Nedeva?

Maria is Professor of Science and Innovation Dynamics and Policy at the Manchester Business School. She teaches students about innovation, policy and creativity and talks to Prime Ministers about how best to spend the science budget of their countries.

Massive consumer debt motivated her to learn all about personal finance and she launched The Money Principle to help people grow their income, eliminate debt, build wealth and most importantly love their lives.


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Come and try the last and final call marketing technique

Here’s a marketing tip inspired by one of the silly things they say at airports.

You’ve heard the gate agent say, “This is the last and final call.”

Well if it’s the last call, it’s also the final call. There’s no need to say both. It always makes me giggle when I hear this.

However, when they say this, the gate agents are iadvertently tapping into a tried and trusted marketing technique called, “Problem. Agitate. Solution.”

Join me in this video to explore this great marketing technique you can use in your copy, content and adverts.

Now it’s your turn:

The idea for this video came to me as I sat at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport waiting on a flight to Montenegro. Have you any marketing tips inspired by the strange and funny things people say?

If you enjoyed this episode of Marketing and Finance TV – The Last and Final Call Marketing Technique – please share it with your friends and colleagues. You can use the social media share buttons just below.

Click here to listen to the audio podcast.

The Last and Final Call Marketing Technique