Passing the Baton to a New Generation of Insurance Agents: Is Your Marketing Fulfillment Ready?

By: In: Marketing Production and Fulfillment On: Dec 18, 2014

In a relay race, handoffs are critical. Even a slight miscalculation can slow a team’s momentum and cost them the race.

If you’re an insurer, you might want to think about that as more than 25% of America’s independent insurance agents get set to retire, symbolically passing the baton to a new generation of agents. What does it mean to your company from a marketing fulfillment standpoint?

In the face of such significant turnover, you have two key tasks:

  • First, to convince a new generation of agents of the value of representing your company and its products.
  • Second, to provide the right tools to help new agents sell your company’s products to others.

What will it take?

For one thing, you’ll need to incorporate more digital media into your marketing mix. While retiring Baby Boomers relied heavily on print communications, the Millennials replacing them are the first “always connected” generation. Over 90 percent of them use the internet, 75 percent have social networking profiles, and 94 percent have cell phones. They’re comfortable receiving product information through those media and expect to be able to engage with a company through the channel of their choice.

That’s not to say they won’t still use or respond to print. Even the highly desired 18 to 34-year-old demographic still prefers to receive marketing offers by mail. But they’ll likely go online to learn more about your company and its offers. So think multichannel when it comes to communicating with younger agents, and give them a full array of options for communicating with their prospects and customers.

Whether communicating electronically or in print, as I wrote in an earlier blog, Millennials like to share their experiences and learn about the experiences of others. They tend to focus on stories they can connect with, rather than on brand alone. Millennial agents will want to make and reinforce such connections by creating customized communications, both electronic and print. If your company doesn’t offer customization tools, they may create their own marketing materials or simply direct their business to a company that does provide such tools. If they choose to take the first route, they’ll be losing valuable selling time and possibly putting your brand and company at risk if the materials they create don’t comply with your standards or regulatory requirements. If they choose the second route, you’ll lose business.

Because they’re used to the instantaneous results available through digital media, Millennials will also look for speedy response times. If they find your company consistently slow to send collateral or otherwise respond, they’ll place their business elsewhere.

The best way to address all of these needs and issues is through a fulfillment system that offers:

  • Online ordering and tracking, through any Web-capable device, 24/7
  • The ability to call up files and documents before ordering, to ensure order accuracy
  • Same-day shipping for most orders
  • Electronic delivery options
  • Customization tools for both electronic and print communications
  • Digital printing
  • And, to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and your company brand standards, built-in business rules to:

– prevent agents from ordering materials for products they’re not licensed to sell,

– ensure that all materials contain applicable disclaimers and fine print,

– link materials that must be distributed together, so that an order for one piece automatically generates an order for the other, and

– keep customization within acceptable brand and regulatory parameters by using a template-based design system and pre-approved digital text and image libraries.

If your current fulfillment partner doesn’t offer these important features, talk to Iron Mountain. Our scalable solutions help insurance clients get the right combination of capabilities and tools to get to market faster, save money and enhance results. We’ll help you achieve a smoother handoff to the new wave of independent agents about to enter the industry and keep you on the winning track.

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About the author

Jeremy Suratt

Jeremy is responsible for both product and field marketing for Iron Mountain Fulfillment Services. He has been with Iron Mountain since 2011 and has held several roles in solutions marketing, working with services spanning from collateral pick-pack-and-ship to digital print to data archiving. Jeremy has over 15 years of experience managing and marketing products at leading software and services companies. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from Tufts University. Follow Jeremy on Twitter @jeremysuratt