Archive for March, 2012
I witnessed one heck of a near miss on the highway during a recent Chicago snowstorm. It was late in the evening and there were hardly any cars on the road, so it was a surprise to see a car a few hundred feet in from of me suddenly start spinning and head off toward the median after nearly hitting a car that was next to it. Luckily they managed to get to the side of the road without actually hitting anything, but I’m willing to bet that the driver was incredibly scared.
The near-miss I witnessed was almost a non-event, but the accidents where there is contact are pretty violent events. In addition to smashing cars and slamming into property, people are injured, maimed , and even killed. I got to thinking then, why don’t life insurers address those scary facts when they advertise? The answer I came up with is that they didn’t have to.
Auto insurance is compulsory, so the marketing never really has to address that initial spark of motivation and need to get insurance. Consumers know they need it, so for the insurer it’s a matter of directing the consumer’s choice toward their company, and away from the competitor. They get to compete on price and service, and can create long-term marketing campaigns with fun, long-term characters that the consumers can get to know over time. The marketing can then be funny, and generate good lighthearted feelings toward the insurer.
Life insurance is very different from auto insurance. Aside from the obvious, it’s not a compulsory product, so the insurer needs to motivate the consumer to the need for life insurance first, and then address the company to go with. The emotions life insurers generally use are pretty mild. They don’t go for fear, tragedy, or despair. Neither do they go for happy or lighthearted. They definitely don’t make it funny. To me, life insurance marketing usually doesn’t really generate much of an emotional response at all, although sometimes the campaigns hit on my sense of responsibility, but that’s about it.
It would be interesting if a life insurer tried to market more on the assumption that their product is a universally understood need, and tried to make it sound like a fun product to buy. If auto insurers can make it sound like fun to protect me and my family from financial ruin and the expenses incurred from a sudden loud and violent event that could leave us maimed, burnt, broken, or dead, then why can’t a life insurer do the same thing?
I’ve looked at the top social media marketers in the insurance industry; I’ve decided to review some to the mobile applications insurance companies are launching.
There has been a ton of buzz surrounding mobile broadband services and how companies can maximize marketing efforts through this channel. In 2011, mobile sites and applications grew at a fast pace, and rightfully so. I personally no longer only rely on computers to access the Internet. It’s either my iPad or my iPhone, and I’m in the same boat as about 75 million other smartphone users.
As I embark on my 5th year of competitive intelligence analysis and consulting in the insurance industry, I have watched these channels develop, and though I am only one opinion, my demographic is the intended audience of such marketing efforts.
I plan on digging into some of these major P&C insurer’s mobile functionalities and giving my two cents. Is this channel affective? What are the capabilities? Do people use mobile broadband services for insurance? What are consumers saying? These are some of the questions I’ll address.
We’ve examined the insurance industry pioneers – GEICO, Progressive, Allstate, State Farm, Aflac, and Farmers – so who is setting the bar in the mobile broadband space?
In my eyes, the most important features in an insurance app are an easy quoting tool, policy information, and claim tracking. GEICO has been very active over the past two years, launching a variety of insurance, gaming, and miscellaneous mobile applications. Let’s take a look…
GEICO Glovebox: The GEICO Glovebox has the ability to give an accurate quote and sale for various systems (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, iPad, iPod Touch, and Windows Phone 7). The sales functionality of the Glovebox app has raised the bar for insurance mobile capabilities by giving the consumer yet another way to bind a policy.
GEICO SnapQuote: This app allows prospects to get an auto insurance quote by sending a picture of their driver’s license to an online site.
GEICO App: Based on customer feedback, GEICO redesigned its app, which now has enhanced capabilities. These include an accident guide, taxi/rental car locator, roadside service locator, GEICO commercials, GEICO Privileges, and a Car buying service.
HomeFront by GEICO: This unique app gives military personnel the ability to stay connected with friends and family through video and calendar sharing. Though other applications may be better suited for such capabilities (Skype, GChat, Facetime, etc…), GEICO has put forth a valid attempt to connect with the servicemen and servicewomen of America in this all-in-one app.
Gaming Apps: These apps may not have the long lasting audience as other gaming apps; however, I’m sure certain individuals go through short spurts of these mindless entertainment mobile apps. You won’t see these on my iPhone, but nice effort GEICO.
GEICO BroStache App – “Get a BroStache”
GEICO Guinea Pig Getaway App – “Help the guinea pigs escape to a better life”
GEICO Caveman Photo Crasher “Add the caveman to your photos”
GEICO Football App “Throw the long ball – in outer space!”
GEICO Baseball App “Try America’s favorite pastime – Gecko style!”
As mobile systems have grown, GEICO has been at the forefront of the mobile industry. Though this may not touch every demographic, GEICO has set the bar with mobile capabilities from quote-to-close and managing current customer policies.
Are pods from a science fiction movie invading our airports? No, not exactly. Pod hotels, which are more prevalent in Asian and European airports, are coming to more airport terminals here in the United States. Pod hotels, from Minute Suites, have already debuted at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and Philadelphia International Airport. However, the company plans to open two new facilities at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in the near future. The pod room rates from Minute Suites are priced at only $30 for the one-hour minimum stay and then $7.50 for every 15 minutes thereafter. Rate reductions begin at four hours, including a flat overnight rate of $120 at the Philadelphia location. So what exactly is a pod and what’s offered inside that pod?
The pod hotel concept was originally inspired from Japanese capsule hotels designed for cheap and basic overnight stays. The pod concept provides small rooms to airline travelers, who can then sleep (or work) a few hours away from chaos in the main terminal. This concept is great for a traveler who needs a few hours of shut-eye before that big business meeting to seal the deal, or an hour to polish up last minute changes to a presentation. The pods will not provide any five star hotel amenities, or even basic one star amenities we are accustomed to, such as an in-suite bathroom. However, they are comfortable enough for sleep for a few hours on a layover without any distractions. The 56-square-foot rooms have a desk, internet access, and a daybed. The downside, though, is that users must bring their own food/drink into the room and use the restrooms within the airport terminal. Likewise, there are no showers in the current existing locations. The upside to this concept is that the customer can work, or sleep, in complete privacy. This privacy concept is something that airline lounges cannot guarantee, especially as the airlines search for additional revenue through selling day passes and due to the increased number of guest passes provided to airline credit card holders.
As pod hotels become more common in many U.S. airports, airline lounges might need to start to offer this type of service to their premium customers. This concept will not likely succeed in every airport, but the concept will most likely succeed at hub airports that offer numerous connecting flights along with the corresponding layovers. It appears that Minute Suites, and other competitors like London-based pod operator Yotel, are already negotiating with other airports to make this concept more accessible throughout the United States. This makes me wonder how soon will this concept arrive in my hometown airports of O’Hare and Midway? I know that I look forward to checking out the pod hotels in my future travels.