Protection: Using different platforms for customer engagement

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Roger Edwards discusses how employing different communication platforms, such as live streaming apps, can engage protection customers.

I recently started experimenting with live streaming video apps. You’ve probably heard of some of them, because they are the latest social media sensation.

Periscope and Meerkat have been around only since March 2015, but already millions of people are using the apps to broadcast live video. 

As always with social media, some of the broadcasts are very personal, such as what the person is eating for breakfast; others might offer a walkabout of their home town, and many are already using them for business. Product demonstrations, and question and answer sessions are popular.

Live streaming video is nothing new. Webinars are longstanding marketing tools.

Although fiendishly difficult to set up, they have been around for a few years. It’s the simplicity of the mobile phone-based Periscope and Meerkat that have propelled them to success. 

Another desktop and mobile app that is in Beta is Blab. It’s a live streaming platform that allows up to four people to appear on screen at the same time. 

A few weeks ago advisers Martin Bamford and Pete Matthew joined me for what we believe was the first UK Financial Services Blab broadcast. Just short of 50 people watched the live broadcast or the replay. 

The key lesson to learn from using these apps is it’s all about engagement. Viewers can type in questions.

Running a successful broadcast means asking questions of your audience, and answering theirs. Acknowledging them by name goes a long way to establishing rapport. 

It’s wonderfully addictive interacting with people from all over the world. But that in itself is a problem for marketers using these apps.

It’s difficult to target specific groups of people (although Blab makes it easier). Of course, the apps weren’t designed with marketers in mind. It is all about social engagement.

Large financial services providers won’t adopt this technology any time soon. The usual compliance concerns will win over.

Companies won’t trust their staff to broadcast without a cast-iron script. And no doubt IT will voice their usual concerns about security and data leakage.

You only have to look at how financial services providers have embraced other social media platforms to realise they will initially treat live video streaming with an equally arm’s length attitude.

Twitter is great engagement opportunity, yet many providers hardly post more than once a day and certainly don’t actively engage with their customers.

The protection market remains locked in a malaise of rate competition and condition enhancement. Successive product launches add similar propositions to the mix but nothing new or different emerges. The market remains flat as a result.

Seven Families, and Vitality’s marketing work around fitness and travel show directly engaging with customers works. And it can be done without compromising the adviser’s relationship.

If price competition and the condition addition race won’t grow the protection market, which we’ve pretty much proved to be the case, real engagement with customers is the way forward. 

Roger Edwards is a marketing strategist and speaker at Roger Edwards Marketing

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