Live at LIMRA: the law of numbers online
By Steve Savant
Ash Brokerage Corporation
Down in the Big Easy overlooking the mighty Mississippi, the annual Life Conference was held by industry joint sponsors: LIMRA, LOMA, SOA and ACLI. The topics were as hot and as spicy as the Cajun-Creole food enjoyed by those of us who ate it. Believe me; it takes a little bravery to take on this cuisine when the Scoville unit approaches 10,000 on the heat index. And keep in mind, that’s only half way up the chart. But enough about my culinary adventures; it’s on to my journey of banners and booths in the sponsorship display area.
Interestingly, it was not a carrier convention, but was instead made up of a subculture of support services so distinct in their respective niches that I recognized very few of them. And as I toured each booth, I collected various memorabilia from toys to pens (and my favorite, chocolate-covered almonds and M&Ms). Everyone was trading business cards like baseball cards. I have a rather unique black business card that borders on plastic, with rounded corners — something Paladin would have used if he were a businessman back in the old west.
Paladin, you ask? Oh, the protagonist hero of the hit 50s and 60s TV series, "Have Gun - Will Travel." I guess I fancy myself as a hired gentleman gunfighter of sorts, a mortality mercenary in twenty-first century jargon. But I’m not at the Life Conference to talk about my product expertise (shockingly). But I’m here to talk about tweets and blogs and all things odd when it comes to online video and social media in a workshop environment.
So I began my presentation with example after example of our videos, tweets, blogs, articles and commentary on industry news, visiting one website after another where my postings were displayed. I mean, why talk about social media and video, when you can just click play? But after the online tour of several snippets from our three video productions, my audience was a bit overwhelmed, so I began unpacking the marketing use of high definition online video supported by social media communication. By un-bundling the integrated campaigns we use, I was able to introduce the components of social media communication and their various distribution channels across the Internet. I had a sense that my delivery was creating a bit of shock and awe with my audience, as if I was some online sales genius. So I decided it was time to fess up to the facts that I haven’t altered anything that I’ve been doing in our industry for 30 years. And that I was hijacked and taken prisoner to a virtual reality by the millennial generation.
Two-and-half years ago I was approached by a couple of IMO businesspeople, who were both at the time under 30 years of age. They wanted to build a show around my career and build it out on the Internet. They told me that conventional marketing with email blasts and webinars were archaic methodologies. and technologies. They told me that online video with supporting social media was not the future — it was the now. They said, “It’s about the law of large numbers online.” I had no idea the size and scope of the reach online. The viewership was targeted for financial professionals who use insurance products in their practice, but 18 percent of our audience was consumers.
Is all this just the Hollywood of insurance pipe dreams or is this the Holy Grail of marketing? Is it just anecdotal PR or is there some real target premium production behind all this? Think about the last five years of economic distress. Consider that my sponsor went from a top 100 IMO to a top 10 IMO in that period. It’s video. It’s “edutainment.” It’s the law of large numbers online.