Kicking off day two of the LIMRA Annual Conference (see our first day recap here), Scot Safon (EVP and CMO at the Weather Channel) continued the focus on how technology has changed the consumer culture.
Leveraging his knowledge built through a career in media at CNN and HLN, Safon shared his observations about how consumers have changed, and what that means for the life insurance industry. From Safon’s perspective, technology has changed the way we buy, discover, connect, and create. And, as businesses adapt to this, he suggests we must change the way that we advertise, present, target, and develop.
— Gary Liu (@garycliu) October 22, 2013
One key change Safon highlighted was that consumers today are “willing to buy anything online.” As an example, he pointed to Amazon’s transition from selling books to selling “almost everything.” Additionally, leveraging an example highlighted by Bob Kerzner on the first day of the conference, Safon described how Netflix adapted to disruption in the media space by essentially offering consumers a new way to consume movies and television shows.
Given his media experience, it’s not surprising that Mr. Safon talked in depth about how advertising has changed in an increasingly digital world. “Consumers have a great tolerance for contextually relevant targeting” he said, however noting “they’ll never admit it.”
Safon used a screenshot from his own Facebook homepage as an example of ad-targeting, highlighting five different advertisements that he said did not bother him because they were contextually relevant.
— Meagan Hency (@mherf) October 22, 2013
The second session of the day was lead by Erik Qualman, social media expert and author of Socialnomics and Digital Leader. With an engaging multi-media presentation, Qualman shared his take on the importance of social media and mobile to the life insurance business.
Qualman encouraged the audience to “Think outside the box. And by box, I mean computer screen.” He stressed the growing importance of mobile technology for today’s consumer. Sharing some impressive facts about the momentum of mobile, he demonstrated the ubiquity of mobile with the following video:
There is a strong relationship between the use of social media and mobile. For example, 90% of tweets come from mobile devices.
— Gregory Bailey (@gbaileycom) October 22, 2013
In order to take advantage of this opportunity, you cannot start with sales. Erik described how leaders must listen first, no matter what they were selling. The right steps should be: 1. Listen, 2. Interact, 3. React, and finally 4. Sell.
— Clara Shih (@clarashih) October 22, 2013
As our CEO Clara Shih pointed out (above), this approach is right in line with Hearsay Social’s methodology: start with “hearing” your customers and then “say,” which includes interacting with customers in order eventually generate business through social media.
On the topic of listening on social media, Qualman shared some best practices for companies. He showed some sample social media dashboards and stressed the value of these reports for understanding the needs of your customers. To close, he pointed out that only 11% of Fortune 500 companies have actually built out similar reports, making it clear that there is a lot of room for improvement in the way leading companies are leveraging social media for business.