The Connected Agency - Designing Business For Today's Consumer

Posted by Michael Jans on 6/21/16 10:00 AM

Point of Difference #10: The Connected Agency - Designing Business For Today's Consumer

A client recently said, “After four generations, I thought our family brokerage would die with me. Then we invested in marketing automation. Now my son, in his mid-twenties, said, ‘I thought insurance was boring. It’s not. It’s a blast.’ I think having my son join our firm means more to me than the money I’m making from marketing!”

You might say, “It’s not your father’s agency anymore.”

Agency or brokerage structures that were created in, possibly, the 1970’s – and worked just fine in the 1990’s – were designed for a different era.

As the consumer connects differently, today’s retail firm must connect with them differently.

For more than 20 years, Agency Revolution has studied one question: "What makes some agents & brokers more successful than others." While some things change - tactics, techniques, even consumer behavior - others remain the same. Leaders must constantly assess the shifting insurance environment and adapt to remain competitive. Agency Revolution has compiled some of its key findings about success in todays insurance world, which will be published in a new eBook, "11 Points of Difference: What Fast Growth Agencies & Brokerages Do That Others Don't (And Why They Will Own The Future." Put yourself on the waiting list for a free copy by clicking here. You'll be notified as soon as it is ready. This blog post is an excerpt.

Business is about the customer first

If Drucker was right (and he usually was!), today’s firm must be structured differently than yesterday’s firm.

Yes, you’ll probably still need most or all of the same positions. CSRs. Producers. Administrative support. Managers and supervisors.

But there are two compelling reasons to make sure that – once you’re committed to ‘connecting with today’s consumer’ – you have the systems to support it and the people who are committed to it:

  1. Consumers demand that you communicate with them digitally. It’s an expected part of business today. (Like it…don’t like it. That’s not the point. Arguing with the marketplace is wildly unproductive. Besides, they’ll gladly accept and absorb the content of a value-rich email. But don’t call them every month!)
  2. It’s cheaper. Not only would today’s consumer resist (or reject) excessively intrusive phone calls and visits. You can’t afford it. The economics of personal lines and small commercial lines don’t support it. (And the middle market accounts that your team does visit, will welcome a digital communication stream that adds value. If you’re not doing that, ambitious competitors are.)

Yes, it takes resources to communicate. And nothing gets done unless someone is assigned to do it.

Leadership must make the core decisions:

  • What value do we add?
  • What communication platforms will we use?
  • How often should we communicate? (And so forth.)

But, as firms get larger, leadership doesn’t need to do. They simply need to make sure it’s done.

(Of course, as the anecdote at the top of this section points out, there’s a secondary benefit. Insurance is an aging industry. And the gap between the millennial generation and the retail firm is growing fast and wide. Using modern technology attracts younger workers. And that makes it easier to connect to younger consumers.)

Topics: Insurance Marketing

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One More Thing! What do you think? How will you and your peers use this to grow your agency or brokerage? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and *please share this article if you found it informative.