Reframe The Marketplace
The New Majority: They make money. They make decisions. They make an impact. They are smart, aware, and willing to evangelize when a brand targets their wants and needs. They are the future of your business. REFRAME: The Marketplace shows you how to capture them.
Reframe The Marketplace
Separate but Equal
The World's Worst Marketing Challenge
Here's a business and marketing challenge for you: You have a product that's intangible and expensive. It requires monthly payments. If things go well, the money your customer spends on it will be wasted. Both the purchase process and every single payment moment require that your customer confront some of the most uncomfortable truths a person can face. There is no possibility that your customer will ever see any personal, direct benefit from your product.
Sounds a lot harder than selling soda, right?
If you haven't already guessed, the product is term life insurance-the stuff that has no cash value and evaporates once the term is over. Its benefits, however, are significant. It can provide a safety net to your beneficiaries in the event of your death-a safety net that is much larger than you'd be able to afford via a whole life policy (the kind with a defined cash value).
But tens of millions of people in the United States have term life-so it can't be that hard to sell. Although this is true, those existing customers have a culturally mediated understanding of term life insurance and the disposable income needed to make it accessible. For them, it's a plus, not a trade-off.
Naturally, the life insurance industry has long targeted this segment. They're affluent and, for the most part, white. They're a great market, except for one major problem: Because they're already well served, the market isn't growing much now or in the future. This poses a problem for the growth-oriented, publically traded life insurance industry.
There is a woefully underserved market out there, one that has a real need for life insurance and is on a demographic growth spurt. But, naturally, there's a problem there, too. This market has little resemblance to the old stalwarts the industry has long relied on. It is less affluent, more ethnically diverse, and often unfamiliar with-even intimidated by-the concept of life insurance. Reaching this audience means staring that marketing challenge right in the face.
The costs of ignoring this audience are high and growing every day. The challenges in reaching them are vast-and expensive to solve. What's an insurer to do?
The answer is simple. To continue to thrive, life insurance companies must reframe their view of the market for their products, going from a narrow focus on the general market to a broad approach to the Total Market. One company, MetLife, did exactly that, and enjoyed extraordinary results. During the course of a one-year campaign, MetLife saw a 60 percent increase in premiums, fully 40 percent more than its already ambitious goal.
From the middle of the last century until now, advertising and marketing has divided itself into two big groupings: the general market and the multicultural market. Or, to be blunt, we split ourselves into white and nonwhite agencies. Sound familiar?
The white, general-market agencies (GMA) spoke to the mass market-which was and still is predominantly white. The nonwhite, multicultural agencies focused on individual ethnic groups. Hispanic agencies spoke to the Hispanic population, black agencies spoke to the black population, Asian agencies spoke to the Asian population...you get the picture. Given that advertising and marketing is a business of emotional and rational understanding and persuasion, this approach made sense. If you imbue your advertising with a deep cultural understanding, you're likely to connect better to your audience.
For decades, the system worked to a certain extent. The multicultural agencies really did do a better job of selling to their target consumers than GMAs would have done. The whole system might have continued to thrive were it not for human nature. As you've p