5 ways advisors can bet on mobile without betting the farm
By Paul Tyler
Fidelity & Guaranty Life
In a recent study, LIMRA found that in just four years, producers’ ownership of mobile devices with Internet access grew from 22 percent in 2008 to 62 percent in 2012.* Ownership is highest among the most important demographic group of our industry -- younger producers.
So, what's the best way to make a bet on mobile technology in your firm without running the risk of banking on the wrong platform?
1. Encourage your employees and agents to bring their own devices to work. IT departments bristled just a few years ago about the idea of employees wanting to take “random” technology to work and then hoping to link to the network. Yes, opening your doors to a range of devices can drive up costs and create security concerns. If done thoughtfully, though, it will lead you to email, networking and storage solutions that are independent of this year’s hot device and probably give you an unexpectedly better disaster recovery plan.
You will also end up with a more mobile-savvy workforce that will bring you new ideas on how to leverage mobile for new business opportunities.
2. Make all of your websites mobile-friendly. Most of the time, we’re just happy when our website looks good on a desktop and we stop there. But we all need to recognize that it’s more and more common for people to access sites from either tablets or phones. Many of the most popular website hosting and content management systems will offer mobile-specific renditions of your site. I’d actually recommend, though, that you first start by simplifying the menu options on your website and streamlining the content. Do you really need seven navigation buttons at the top of your page?
3. Treat your marketing materials like portable assets. In today’s content-hungry world, your ideas are worth their weight in gold. But the collateral needs to be designed so it’s accessible in a variety of ways. When you introduce a new prospecting idea or a better way to present a retirement funding plan, don’t just stop with a PowerPoint. Think about how you can take the idea and convert into a video, a podcast, a blog, 10 tweets and a graphic.
Don’t just put it on your website, put it on Web applications like SlideShare that people can access on LinkedIn. This way, you can react quickly to changing platforms when content is independent of systems.
4. Find good partners who can share in the development expenses. Don’t walk the mobile path alone if you don’t have to. Reach out to your carriers to see what they are doing in the space and how you can leverage it. Many companies are piloting beta projects and would like to find partners who are eager to try new technology and give active feedback.
5. Talk to your clients and see what they expect. When it comes to technology, consumers historically haven’t been good predictors of future demand for devices and technology they haven’t seen. However, this wave of technology has been driven truly by them, not us. Do a quick online poll and ask them what mobile services and features they will expect from an insurance professional in the coming years. Then listen closely and act quickly!
* From Connected to Mobile: Producer Use of Technolog by by Mary M. Art; Norah Denley, 8/17/2012, LIMRA