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.
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.)
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.