Marketing to Millennials: Three key lessons
01/09/2017

How do you engage a generation that can’t see the point of life insurance?

By The Integrate team.

It’s no secret that the insurance industry has a problem selling to Millennials. They’re the demographic least likely to engage with insurance. More than two-thirds of them are indifferent or actively disengaged with their insurers, according to a Gallup poll.

Millennials don’t fit the old models of marketing.

Yet they’ve money to spend: their buying power totals some $600 billion a year in the United States alone, according to Accenture—a figure that’s on the rise. And there are a lot of them: 80 million in the United States, says the same Accenture report. So how can insurers crack this lucrative market?

Lesson one: Start fresh
Millennials don’t fit the old models of marketing.

Their buying habits are different, for a start. They shop online using smartphones, and rely on social media for recommendations. Speed of transaction is vital: quick payment and rapid delivery are high on their list of priorities. And they have their preferred communication platforms: they use Kik, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat as much as, if not more than, email.

Currently, 60% of 13- to 34-year-olds in the United States are Snapchatters. And their use of the platform can be mind-boggling: teenagers have been known to send 40 Snapchat messages per minute.

As such, the app offers a low-cost way for insurers to target the Millennial demographic in one hit. But not many are taking advantage of the opportunity. To see what can be done, take a look at 10 of the best brands on Snapchat.

Instagram offers similar potential. The photo-sharing platform has phenomenal reach. More than 40% of Millennials use it daily, according to Nielsen. The fact that Canadian tennis player Genie Bouchard, 22, can boast 1.1 million Instagram followers is a big draw for corporate sponsors such as Nike and Rolex. Bouchard is ranked only 46th in the world, with no grand slams, but her social media clout helps make her one of sport’s highest earners.

Be warned, however. Corporations must tread carefully on social media. Millennials will quickly satirize brands whose marketing outreach doesn’t cut it.

Lesson two: Understand the complexities
Naturally, there’s huge variation within the Millennial demographic group. Those with children watch just as much TV as their parents; those without don’t. Facebook is their number one source of news overall, but 27% of them use it less than once a week, and 13% aren’t even on it. Media buyers need to take such distinctions into account when planning campaigns.

And there are plenty of myths surrounding Millennials. Accenture’s survey found that their reliance on online shopping may be exaggerated: many actually preferred visiting shops. The study also suggested that the supposed lack of brand loyalty among younger generations could be misplaced.

Lesson three: Think differently
Gallup advises insurers to make sure Millennials can conduct transactions online, pay quickly, and access digital platforms to make policy changes themselves. Sage advice; but there’s more to attracting this complex generation than creating convenient digital experiences.

Right now, the industry is not convincing Millennials of the merits of its core products. Gen Re asked 18- to 40-year-olds why they have no life insurance, and found that cost was not the problem. The reality was that they just couldn’t see the point.

Home insurance is another example. In 2014, young adults in the United States became more likely to be living with their parents than in their own household—the first time that’s happened in 140 years. Home insurance isn’t likely to be on their radar.

Radical new products may therefore be needed. For instance, coverage could encompass all of customers’ high-end gadgets, from their smartphones and MacBooks to their Sonos music and in-car entertainment systems.

All in all, there’s work to do for insurers to fathom the Millennial generation. And once they’ve done that, Generation Z is just around the corner, with a penchant for virtual reality and artificial intelligence chatbots. Watch this space.

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