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Dan Gersten

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Market Research Shows Meaning is Critical to "The Good Life," Regardless of Age

Posted by Dan Gersten

Mon, Aug 02, 2010

Insurance market researchA MetLife Mature Market Institute study conducted by Chadwick Martin Bailey finds “Meaning” is critical to The Good Life and the young and old have similar priorities.  The study finds meaning, particularly the importance of family and friends, is a primary component to living The Good Life for all age groups. Plus, the study found that most adults want deep relationships and to feel that they belong, in addition to a sense of purpose, financial freedom and good physical and mental health.

Still, while family and friends are of relatively equal importance across all ages and most adults want deep relationships and to feel they belong, one has to wonder how those aspects of “meaning” and the “The Good Life” manifest themselves by age, especially in this day of social media, virtual relationships and friendships with those one has never met face-to-face. 

Insurance market researchPersonally, as the father of a 22-year old Facebook user I have to feel they’re different.  And, the MetLife study supports the premise of “different strokes for different folks,” or, in this case, age groups, revealing that older adults (45-74 years of age) are more likely to belong to at least one (offline) community organization, attend a community organization function, socialize with neighbors, engage in volunteer activities and donate money or goods to charitable causes than are younger adults (25-34 years of age).  Plus, Facebook, which “helps you connect and share with the people in your life” still hasn’t caught on with older adults as it has with those younger (9.8M users 55 years-of-age and older vs. 25.6M users 25-34 years-of-age) per istrategy labs.

So, what are the implications for marketers? 

To begin with, it’s important to recognize that pursuit of meaning, purpose and The Good Life are pretty universal and span generations – and would make for a great resonating headline/tagline.  Secondly, it’s critical to understand that how those goals are defined and pursued is generational, or perhaps more accurately, lifestage-driven.  Younger adults are more likely to pursue “The Good Life” by generating a salary and “using their abilities to accomplish things that matter” while older adults are more likely to “smell the roses” and enjoy their surroundings and personal interests.  So, one headline/tagline…different executions!

Posted by Dan Gersten, an Account Director/Consultant in CMB's Financial Services, Healthcare, and Insurance Practice. Dan is a published author and former reality TV contestant on American Inventor. You never know what Dan will come up with next!

Consumer Spending Report 2010

    Topics: insurance research

    Create a New Tomorrow! Looking towards the LIMRA Marketing & Research Conference

    Posted by Dan Gersten

    Wed, May 26, 2010

    LIMRA logoSo, where are you going to be tomorrow?  I'm not sure but I know that over the period of June 2-4, I'll be at the LIMRA 2010 Marketing & Research Conference in Orlando, FL.  Its provocative theme is "Create a New Tomorrow", which kind of makes me wonder "how can they know what the June 3rd program will be if, on June 2nd, we're creating a new tomorrow?"

    Seriously though, while I'm all for creating a new tomorrow, I recognize it's easier said than done because it requires one to change the way they currently perceive and behave.  And, in the case of life insurance companies, it requires them to re-examine how they regard themselves and more importantly, the marketplace. No, not easy at all.

    As I've written in previous posts, one of the challenges faced by the life insurance industry is that its very concept forces people to acknowledge their own mortality and many people become "uncomfortable" contemplating the end of their or a loved one's life and it can be downright awkward for both the insurer/agent and the prospective insured.  Yet it is this prevailing notion that basically dictates the way life insurance is sold today.

    As we think and look toward the future here and at the LIMRA conference, I'm hoping to see signs of a shift from the way life insurance companies currently position and market themselves to how they will need to position and market themselves to be successful and customer-centric in this new tomorrow.   

    We're currently witnessing a movement of generations as they age and move through life.  Boomers, who place high value on "Family" and "Tradition" are being "replaced" by younger generations who have their own defining core values, which might not be as "life insurance-friendly" as are those of Boomers.  And the way that people evaluate and buy all things, including insurance, is in the process of being completely revamped.

    Even though there have been significant shifts in the positioning of life insurance providers over time (see videos below), the question remains:  how are life insurance companies going to position and market themselves to these younger generations? 

    I'm looking forward to LIMRA where there will be several sessions related to Gens X & Y, the real new tomorrow to get a sense of where we're headed and where we need to go.   Stay tuned...

     

     

     

     

    Posted by Dan Gersten, an Account Director/Consultant in CMB's Financial Services, Healthcare, and Insurance Practice. Dan is a published author and former reality TV contestant on American Inventor. You never know what Dan will come up with next!

    Topics: conference recap

    CMB Research: Selling Life Insurance to the Under-30 Crowd

    Posted by Dan Gersten

    Tue, May 11, 2010


    Life Insurance: The investment product that protects more than just one's money

    I previously blogged the purchase of life insurance is driven by the values one holds important and not just by socio-economics and life-stage events, and that many in the "life insurance world" feel that life insurance is not bought; rather, it's sold by motivating people to want to take care of their loved ones or put another way, by appealing to their values of protection, family and tradition. 

    I also wrote this sold-not-bought orientation is primarily due to the notion that life insurance forces people to acknowledge their own mortality, something which people in general, and young adults with their whole lives in front of them in particular, would rather not contemplate.

    A recent online study Chadwick Martin Bailey conducted among 1,500 U.S. consumers this past February, showed people seem to transition from not being insured-to-being insured when they enter their 30's.

      

    Intuitively this seems to make sense and basis CMB's study:

    • 43% of adults first marry between the ages of 30 and 39 years
    • Between the ages of 25-29 years and 30-34 years there's a 27-point jump in the percent having a child 12 years-of-age or younger (19% vs. 46%)
    • The percent of adults considering "Family" an important value increases 7-points between the ages of 30-34 years and 35-39 years (74% vs. 81%)

    So, while adults in their 30's begin to buy life insurance, what can be done to sell coverage to adults less than 30 years-of-age, adults that, per Jack Weinberg, can still be trusted?  Motivate them to take care of their loved ones?   Perhaps, after all, 38% of those aged 25-29 years get married and 19% of them have a child 12 years-of-age or younger.

    Still, I can recall being that age, feeling rather indestructible, and asking this agent "Why in the world do I need life insurance?"  Especially since, if I were to die, my spouse was young enough to take care of herself and there were parents/grandparents around to provide whatever financial support might be required.  So again, "why in the world do I need life insurance?"

    Because, as I later learned, whole life insurance was more than just a way to protect loved ones; it was also a savings and investment product, building cash value against which I could borrow, if necessary, with little questions asked, since I was, in essence, borrowing from myself.  And, largely thanks to this, each of my children graduated college with no debt!

    So, how to sell life insurance to 25-29 year olds?  Per CMB's study, 32% of 25-29 years olds plan to invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, money markets in the next 12 months (ending Feb/March '11), suggesting that an effective approach might be to position and promote life insurance as not insurance per se, but as the investment product that protects more than just one's money!

    Segmentation Best Practices webinar

    Chadwick Martin Bailey's Brant Cruz recently presented Best Practices of Market Segmentationbased on his years of experience he has as CMB's segmentation guru working with clients like eBay, Electronic Arts, Plantronics, and Microsoft.

    Listen here.

     

    Posted by Dan Gersten, an Account Director/Consultant in CMB's Financial Services, Healthcare, and Insurance Practice. Dan is a published author and former reality TV contestant on American Inventor. You never know what Dan will come up with next!

    Topics: insurance research, Consumer Pulse, market strategy and segmentation

    CMB Research: Who is Buying Life Insurance?

    Posted by Dan Gersten

    Thu, Apr 08, 2010


    It's about more than socio-economics and life-stage events!

    I'd venture to say most consumers and, perhaps, even life insurance agents would tell you those who own life insurance are older than those who do not.  Plus, they'd go on to say a person with life insurance is more likely to be married, have children, be highly educated, be employed, and make more money than someone who's not insured.

    And, they'd be right.  In an online study Chadwick Martin Bailey conducted among 1,500 consumers this past February, we found those with life insurance tend to be older than those without it, with the "transition period", i.e., when a person moves to being insured from not being insured, seemingly occurring in the 35-44 age range.  Additionally, those with life insurance are far more likely to be currently married, have kids 18 years-of-age or younger in their household, have a graduate or professional degree, be employed on a full-time basis, and have an annual '09 household income of at least $50,000 - all of which conjures up visions right out of some 1950's/1960's TV show - older, married with kids, working and appearing to be economically stable.  Only then, it was the male - can anyone say Robert Young? -  who was the "bread-winner", and the CMB study shows that today, women are as likely to have life insurance as are men.

    Still, age is a big determinant in when a person will consider insuring their life with the prevailing thought being that most people don't think about life insurance because it forces them to acknowledge their own mortality and, speaking for myself, and no doubt others, when we're relatively young our own mortality isn't even on our radar screens, or per Alfred E. Neuman, "What, me worry?"

    This reality led CNN Money to feel that life insurance is sold and not bought, and that people had to be motivated to buy life insurance by getting them to consider the needs of loved ones, appealing to their sense of wanting to take care of their family.

    However, as per the #1 Billboard hit in 1963 by The Essex, this is "easier said than done" because, as was found in CMB's research, it's a case of values and goals, the importance of which varies among people.   And, those who currently have life insurance place higher levels of importance on values and goals related to  "protection", "family" and, especially, "tradition" than do those without life insurance - with "tradition" surfacing in many ways including having a greater propensity to speak with an agent or directly call an insurance company when researching coverage options.

    On the other hand, relative to those with life insurance, people without this coverage place greater importance on "indulgence", which links back to the "bliplessness" of mortality among some people.  Further, this greater importance of "indulgence" coupled with the fact that those without life insurance are more likely to live in the Pacific states makes me think a likely candidate for life insurance isn't wearing a wet suit and yelling "surf's up"! 

     

    Segmentation Best Practices webinar

    April 29th at Noon: Chadwick Martin Bailey's Brant Cruz will present best practices of market segmentation based on his years of experience he has as CMB's segmentation guru working with clients like eBay, Electronic Arts, Plantronics, and Microsoft.

    Register here.

     

    Posted by Dan Gersten, an Account Director/Consultant in CMB's Financial Services, Healthcare, and Insurance Practice. Dan is a published author and former reality TV contestant on American Inventor. You never know what Dan will come up with next!

    Topics: insurance research, Consumer Pulse, market strategy and segmentation