Monthly Archives: July 2011

Social Media Is Not Just About Communications

Some insurance executives still question whether social media represents a threat, an opportunity, or just another discretionary communications strategy. At the Insurance Marketing & Communications Association annual meeting in Toronto last week, Sam Friedman of Deloitte listed the six major threats/challenges facing the insurance industry. Social media plays a role in all of them.

The principal take-away: Insurers who believe they can wait or take half-measures until the economy improves or when policyholders and prospects demand social media engagement make a serious miscalculation.

Consider:

  1. Struggling Economy: Every insurer is trying to find ways to cut costs and increase sales. Traditional mass advertising can be costly so savvy insurers are using lower-cost social media tactics to reach new markets and strengthen old ones.
  2. Regulatory Reform: State regulators are starting to focus on not just how insurers are communicating but also how they are mining and using social media data.
  3. Virtual Consumer: Social media is an indispensable bridge to those consumers who rely primarily on technology to obtain goods and services.
  4. Carrier-Producer Relations: Insurers are rapidly discovering the necessity and benefit of empowering and supporting their agents on the productive use of social media.
  5. Data/ERM Demands: Insurers’ appetite for reliable data is seemingly insatiable and social media delivers a treasure trove.
  6. Tech as a Game-Changer: Smartphone commerce and communications is a wave that is a becoming a tsunami that will overwhelm insurers which do not embrace it in all its forms, including social media.

The principal take-away: Insurers who believe they can wait or take half-measures until the economy improves or when policyholders and prospects demand social media engagement make a serious miscalculation. The soft market, lean marketing budgets, growing data needs, aging producer population, and tectonic tech shifts demand a new marketing paradigm. Younger insurance buyers won’t demand social media engagement from any carrier — they will just move to one that does. A portion of older, less tech-savvy buyers may be content for now with not using social media — but a growing percentage will also be lured away by competitors which demonstrate how social media delivers more value.

 

The principal take-away: Insurers who believe they can wait or take half-measures until the economy improves or when policyholders and prospects demand social media engagement make a serious miscalculation.