A practical take on how Indie Insurance Agencies and Brokers should engage with the millennial and gen z demographic. An excerpt from our soon-to-be-released book: iBroker.
As an independent insurance professional, whether you sit at the helm of an agency with dozens, even hundreds of agents or work alone, It is not quite enough - in these digital times - to simply tell folks how great it would be to have insurance coverage or go on and on about all the great features the plans you offer have.
Instead, agents around the country are finding it more effective - from a marketing/prospecting perspective - to address some of the changes they, your prospect, may be facing that would cause them to need to speak to someone like you in the first place.
Use the main pillars of value to build interest in your offer. What are the main pillars of value? Well, when it comes to millennials and Gen-Z, you want to offer:
Convenience: Go out of your way to make getting coverage for your clients a simple, easy-to-do process. This is key when marketing your insurance services to younger audiences. Your agency should invest in a modern website-
One that while providing critical information, should not be overwhelming. 24% of millennials and Gen-Z say that they are more likely to purchase insurance products from a vendor with a modern website that allows many ways, other than a phone call, to communicate.
Affordability is a super important value proposition when connecting with a younger client base. Although as an agent/agency owner, pricing of your product offerings may not always be up to you, we have found, based on years of experience selling life and health insurance products, that there are several ways to present yourself as being on the same page and empathetic to the price-sensitivity of your clients.
And to present real solutions to their challenges in this area. We clearly communicate to our clients our unique approach that offers flexibility in pricing.
We also do our best to recommend products and solutions that while offering ample coverage and benefits, meets their desire/need to save as much money as possible.
For example, we find that in North Carolina, a 30-something-year-old who does a lot of traveling, looking for an individual health plan with all the bells and whistles but doesn’t break the bank, is best served by enrolling in a Bright Health plan.
Our process is to always put value and benefits ahead of brand, compensation, or anything else when interacting with younger folks. And appreciation, for this system, has always been expressed on the part of our clients.
Reputation: You do not need me to tell you how important what folks say about you and your organization is in business. Reputation is everything in commerce, right? This is the reason larger firms like McDonald's, Walmart, and Starbucks spend so much money to build their reputations as being one thing or the other. For Starbucks, the idea is to present itself as worldly, cool, and inclusive, among other things, I am sure.
McDonalds says “Hey, we don’t just sell burgers and fries, we care about the community as well”, right? Comedian, Roy Wood Jr. Has a whole bit about how black folks’ view of McDonald's as a brand is very different from anyone else’s.
He – Roy Wood- delves deep into how the Chicago, IL-based company goes out of its way to reach out to black folks in ways that pay dividends in terms of goodwill, but also add to their bottom line.
You should check out his routine on this topic. It can serve as a MasterClass on branding.
My point is that managing your organization’s reputation is super important – has always been. Even more so these days as younger folks look to a company’s online reputation to determine whether or not to do business with said company.
For perspective, 28% of millennials and Gen-Z folks look for an insurance provider with an active social media presence plus positive ratings when looking for coverage.
49% stated that they would choose a provider with a reputation of “good service” as the catalyst to do business with them.
As I am sure you have deduced by now, maintaining a positive social media presence and overall reputation will go a long way to help you connect with the desired audience.
Although, I would posit that it is not nearly enough to have a “good” reputation. I feel that if you are going to invest the time and resources to manage your reputation/brand story, you might as well decide what you want the word on the street to be about your insurance agency.
Heck, you might even want to part ways with the traditional, mundane “purveyor of insurance products” brand image that we all seem to settle into - by default - when we get into this line of business.
I mentioned Starbucks earlier. So let me use them as an example. The Seattle-based coffee chain, sells coffee, right? Well, among other knickknacks, but mostly coffee, correct?
Well, somehow, they have managed to create a feeling around their products and services. An infectious feeling that inspires their customers to take all sorts of actions that one wouldn’t typically associate with a coffee house. I mean, I am sure you have stopped for coffee from some random coffee cart/vendor on the street at some point in your life, right?
Especially if you live in a big city. You were probably on your way/running late for some early-morning meeting and said, “I’ll just grab a coffee, any kind, and head on up to this thing”, right? We have all done it. Well, let me ask you this: Do you remember the name of the cart or gas station you went to? Of course not.
You were just there for coffee. Starbucks sells coffee too. But they have managed to become so much more to their customers than just a place to grab a cup of Joe in the morning.
The Starbucks Foundation awards $1.5M in Neighborhood Grants to advance racial equity.
More than just a broker
It is entirely possible for you to position your agency to those you seek to do business with using some of the techniques the big guys use.
Doing so will require that you strategically incorporate every aspect of your organization’s policies and assets into your overall brand story - From the type of images you use on your website, to the name you pick for your organization, and so on.
My advice to you is to start by trying to invoke a "feeling" in your customers as opposed to just peddling products and services. Effective branding tries to make folks feel a certain way about an organization in spite of its products and/or services.
Start with a resonant mission statement and work your way from there. Younger audiences, especially, are super sensitive to how brands make them feel, where their favorite brands stand on the social issues of the day, and so on.
I always say that “younger folks don’t like bland brands.” Good one, right? Keep this in mind as you work your way through your overall marketing strategy for your insurance agency.