It pains me to write this.  Technology is sexy, fun and exciting, which our industry needs more than anything.  Yet, after years of projecting some technological changes to the insurance agency world, The year comes, the year goes, and insurance agents don’t change.  

The question “Why?” has been thoroughly examined and would just add to the noise.  So this article will do it’s best to answer the depressing question, “WHY NOT?”

3 unremarkable common sense reasons why digital marketing & technology IS NOT changing the way insurance is sold.  

(Beware- These answers are not cool nor sexy and may be offensive to agents that equate cool and sexy with results)

Social media this.

Data analytics that

Ooh, I see a cat in a hat

Insurtech disruption here,

2-minute quotes there

Noise, noise everywhere

At the risk of sounding like the typical version of a stale, male and pale insurance agent (thanks Ash Fitz for that phrase.)  I’d like to throw a wrench in the ever spinning wheel of insurance marketing craziness that has distracted a generation of bright agents from their true purpose… protecting their clients.  

Sometimes common sense isn’t so common and can get lost in the noise, especially on social media.  Here are the three most unmistakably obvious reasons why insurance agents don’t see results from social media and digital marketing.

1-Insurance Is Boring.  That’s right, I said it.  Nobody wants to talk about, read about, learn about or tweet about insurance.  It’s boring, it’s confusing, and it’s scary. Three things that cause extremely strong “run-away” reactions in most animals, especially humans.  We might as well come to grips with it.

Extremely important information that changes my future forever… boring, NEXT!

Ooohhh… Cat Videos!!!! 

Why do you think the loudest, most memorable insurance ads have nothing to do with insurance?  Marketing good insurance is both extremely difficult and extremely expensive. So, let me be Debbie Downer and say, if you are incredibly creative and have an unlimited marketing budget, Go all in on digital marketing and kill the gecko.  For the other 99.9% of the insurance agent community, your time and money is much better spent taking your clients and referral partners to lunch and asking them about their dog.

2- The Big Bad Big Data Assumption.  Data analytics, in all its consumer marketing power is based on one gigantically humongous assumption, “The customer knows best.”  This assumption works incredibly well when dealing with clothing, home design and children’s play things. However, the customer’s knowledge is disturbingly lacking in things like complicated legal documentsrisk and well… the future.

NEWSFLASH:  Insurance is the service of handling risk of future events using complicated legal documents.  

Anybody see a problem here?  

Least likely insurance marketing message:

Survey says low price is the most important customer driver when purchasing insurance.  

We say… You’re wrong.

We can’t trust the general public to make decisions on how best to handle their insurance decisions.  They need you as their consultant. Unfortunately, we won’t sell many policies walking around yelling, “Sorry general public… You’re wrong!”

3-The Prevention Paradox. We all notice the one idiot driver that cut us off while never giving any attention to the other 5000 drivers that went by exactly as they should.

But yet, drivers here suck!!  

Think for a moment about your ideal client.

Most agents would say this client:

-trusts them enough to be honest about all of their risks

-takes their advice to purchases policies that will cover everything

-implements risk control and prevention techniques and never have claims

-always pays their bills on time and service communication is smooth and easy

What do all of these ideals have in common?… NOTHING happens.  No uncovered claims, no billing problems, no angry customers, no frustrated employees… Just simply business as usual.  

This is known as the Prevention Paradox where the clients that have the best experience don’t even notice it.

In contrast, marketing is about one thing… attention.

Marketers crave attention

“Business as usual” does not get attention

The best insurance agents intentionally provide “business as usual”

What a dilemma?!!!

In Conclusion, I clearly see the hypocrisy of using social media marketing technology to propose to the insurance agent community not to use social media marketing technology.  I also see the dilemma that everything I said is, at best, sad and, at worst, disturbing and deflating. That is not the intention of this article.

The intention is to bring common sense perspective to the many agents wandering from one marketing guru to the next without seeing real results.  I’m hoping to prevent more confusion, distraction and deflation.  

Earning your client’s trust is hard.  Use technology intentionally and with care to build trust with your clients and prospects, but don’t expect technology to do it for you.

Until humans can effectively;

–prioritize the boring, scary and important stuff over the fun, sexy and cool,

-tell the future, and

-notice all the stuff that didn’t happen,

We are left doing the hard jobs of preventing problems from the shadows, protecting the innocent and providing powerful resources to an oftentimes ungrateful public.  

Sorry, sometimes the truth hurts. 

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