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Reach your customer through mobile, social, and digital media: Day two at the LIMRA Annual Conference

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

How technology has transformed life insurance: Recap from day one of the LIMRA Annual Conference

Marketing to the masses is no longer effective. In the social media era, insurance companies need to be personal and authentic, and they need to engage customers at the local level.

Bob Kerzner (President and CEO LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global, Inc.) kicks off the 2013 LIMRA Annual Conference.

That was the overarching theme from the LIMRA Annual Conference in New York this week, where Hearsay Social mingled and traded social business stories with customers, regulators, and partners. Additionally, as LIMRA’s Elite Strategic Partner, we were honored to support the event!

Bob Kerzner (President and CEO LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global, Inc.) kicked things off on Monday morning by jumping right into the theme of disruption. From AT&T to Netflix, every sector has been transformed by the rise of technology and big data analytics.

The life insurance industry is no different. Up to and during WWII, death was a daily fear, but that’s not the case anymore. People don’t have an inherent understanding of the value of life insurance like past generations did. That’s not to say, however, that people no longer need life insurance. “Our customers still need our products,” said Kerzner–that hasn’t changed. What has changed is that we need to figure out a way to reach the new generation in the way that they want to buy.

Large companies in other industries, like Coke and NFL, have experimented with technology to approach their customer differently. Insurance companies need to do the same.

Kerzner pointed out that 41% of life insurance sales happen in tandem with a life event (getting married, buying a home, or having a baby). Why not tap into technology to surface those life events, so you can reach out to customers and prospects at the right time? Big data can help in a myriad of ways to help spur sales.

Thankfully, as Kerzner concluded, many companies in the life insurance industry have begun diving into mobile and social platforms, and many are already seeing the benefits of those efforts today.

Mobile and social go together like hand in glove

Another big moment at the conference on Monday arrived when Greg Bailey (conference chair and VP Marketing at Pacific Life, @bigtimemarketer) announced Pacific Life’s new mobile app for producers. Bailey, citing a Forbes study that found 91% of people had a mobile device within arms reach 24/7, said that his organization wanted to capitalize on overwhelming trends that point to the growth of mobile. Pacific Life’s new mobile strategy will help life insurance producers tap into mobile for sales and service.

Hearsay Social COO Michael Lock and Jim Kerley, president of LIMRA Services, at the 2013 LIMRA Annual Conference.

Dipayan Gupta (Director of Social Media Marketing, New York Life Insurance Company), Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih, Maurice Springer (Assistant Vice President, Management Development, Agency, New York Life), and Stephen Selby (AVP Social Media, Audit, Govt. Relations, LIMRA) at the 2013 LIMRA Annual Conference.

Jim Kerley, president of LIMRA Services, and the Hearsay Social team at the 2013 LIMRA Annual Conference.

Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih and Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics at the 2013 LIMRA Annual Conference.

Financial services executives and Hearsay Social converging on LIMRA Annual Conference in New York


After a busy week meeting with you at events across the country, including the NYSE CMO Summit, Deutsche Bank’s Women on Wall Street, Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit, and SIFMA’s Social Media Seminar, we’re already excited for our next destination: the LIMRA Annual Conference.

Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih and Jim Kerley, president of LIMRA Services, at LIMRA’s Social Media Conference for Financial Services in August. Photo courtesy of Corina Roy (@CorinaRoy)

As LIMRA’s Elite Strategic Partner, we’re excited to hear from keynote speakers Robert A. Kerzner (President and CEO, LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global, Inc.) and Eileen C. McDonnell (President and CEO, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company) as well as breakout session speakers from AXA Advisors, New York Life, Northwestern Mutual, and other major life insurance firms.
In between sessions, be sure to stop by our booth and say hello!
Additionally, we’ve planned something extra special for those of you interested in upgrading your social media presence. During exhibit hours, we’ll be hosting a Social Media Lounge upstairs where you can get a professional photo taken and learn expert advice on how to upgrade your LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter profile. It’s a social media consultation, so come with questions!
If you want to learn more about social media and life insurance, check out our recaps from LIMRA’s conference in August: