UK protection is buzzing with positive vibes at the moment, isn't it, writes Roger Edwards.
The claim is our product.
But now most companies get this. Publishing claims stats close to 100% creates confidence in advisers and clients alike and will, over a period, erode the perception the public still have that we hide behind the small print.
They combine the good news with engaging case studies and calls to action. It's a powerful document. They've set a new bar and they've set it high.
We're seeing true innovation in protection as opposed to marketers misusing the word "innovative" to describe something that's the same as everything else. Vitality, The Exeter and Royal London have all come to market with a product targeted at diabetics.
Exciting developments that point to an interesting future.
One of the key questions to answer when putting a marketing strategy together is "who is my customer". In financial services, we've often been guilty of being too generic in our targeting.
A broad "We focus on anyone between the ages of 25 and 55 who need protection," strategy doesn't work. By trying to appeal to everyone it ends up appealing to no one.
The diabetes products suggest the dawning of a new era of individually targeted protection propositions. The key to success though is to keep the propositions simple despite the sophistication of the segmentation.
Finally, the theme of "more than just money" is a strong feature of protection propositions including Best Doctors, Helping Hand and Winston's Wish.
I remember 15 years ago in the run up to the launch of Bright Grey, some thought the Helping Hand concept was a gimmick advisers wouldn't buy into.
I wondered whether one day the industry could flip the product message.
So rather than buying financial protection with an add on of practical and emotional support, would people buy practical and emotional support which comes with a financial benefit. We seem much closer to achieving that now.
Our biggest challenge though is still customer engagement. All these positive developments help of course, but much of the population don't feel they need protection nor do they want it.
Marketers in many different industries are wrestling with the problem of how to engage with Millennials.
It's almost become a cliché. Generation Y might be digital savvy and appreciate simple products and fast service, but it's too broad a category to chuck a one size fits all solution at.
They are our next generation of customers. But there are self-employed millennials. Employed millennials. Some with diabetes. Others who take part in risky sports or travel to exotic locations. Again, this suggests we need individually targeted propositions on mobile technology.
We're seeing such propositions in the general insurance sector from US companies like Lemonade and UK companies like Trov (where you can select individual items of tech to protect separately or collectively), but nothing protection yet.
There isn't a magic bullet to the engagement problem. As an industry, we've discussed generic TV advertising campaigns and dismissed them.
But 7 Families suggest people respond well to stories.
Engagement is a long game and a multichannel game. It's time to ramp up our engagement activity because we have many positive stories to tell right now.
Paid claims. New products. More than just money. Let's get these stories out onto the social platforms, apps and channels where our next generation of customers hang out.
Roger Edwards is MD of Roger Edwards Marketing and Marketing Director of Protection Review.
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