Sequence of Contacts and Off Holiday Marketing
Christmas. Done. New Year’s. Over. We are through the first month of 2015 and time is only moving faster. If you are like us, you are back in the swing of things, back in crunch mode, drumming up new business and building on your client base.
Those end-of-the-year holidays are good times to reap on your year’s efforts and place big marketing pushes. With Christmas and New Year’s seeming like ages ago and the rest of your year to think about, you may feel like you are starting over fresh. New numbers to hit. New objectives. New budgets. New challenges. No big holidays.
This is where using off holidays in your marketing and prospecting structure can help.
What are off-holidays?
Holidays are tied to commerce and vice versa. Christmas, Thanksgiving, and even New Year’s, are great times of the year for many industries. These are high-profile holidays that have a lot of build up to them and many industries expend much of their marketing effort around this time of the year. Off holidays are those that, while still important and culturally relevant, don’t see the same kind of attention and commerce. Holidays such as:
- President’s Day
- St. Patrick’s Day
- Mother’s/ Father’s Day
- Memorial Day
- Grandparent’s Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
What does this mean for the financial services industry?
These off-holidays give you an excuse to make contact. We know that the average consumer has to be “touched” 5-12 times before they buy, so these off holidays give you reason and context to make serial contact with consumers. While you might not want to send a client Valentine’s Day card (or maybe you do) you can still use the context of this holiday when reaching out to prospects or leads. Same thing goes for Memorial Day or the Fourth of July and so forth.
Off holiday marketing is not an especially radical concept. Retail stores and car companies have turned these lower profile holidays into monthly boosts and promotions. What is radical is it’s use in the financial services industry, where this concept has been underutilized. Because the practice is so underutilized by advisors and agents, this actually gives whoever is using these opportunities a huge advantage.
Getting the most out of your off holiday marketing is the same really as any marketing and prospecting efforts—make sure your message is tailored to your target market and the appropriate platforms are used.
For more information about Off Holiday Marketing, check out our latest whitepaper “11 Tips for Effective Off Holiday Marketing.”
Off Holiday Marketing Guide
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Genworth Discontinuing Genguard UL
Genworth has announced that it will be discontinuing sales of its Genguard UL product. The Genguard UL has been a flagship product for Genworth for a number of years. Effective February 16, 2015 the product will no longer be available.
Equitrust Income Rider Change
Equitrust has announced a change to its income rider that will take affect February 13, 2015. Currently the income rider can roll up for 15 years. The new rollup period will be 10 years. In addition to this there will be an updated income rider disclosure that will need to be used.
Off Holiday Marketing
Off holiday marketing can be a great reason for a contact with a client or prospect. Staying in front of consumers throughout the year not only leads to more potential business but more potential referrals. Download our 11 tips for off holiday marketing.
DIA Sales Increasing
According to the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute, deferred income annuity year-to-date sales ending Sept. 30, 2014 hit the $2 billion mark, an increase of 35% over the year-ago period. The Treasury Department allowing people to shift a portion of their 401(k)s or individual retirement accounts (IRAs) into DIAs to give retirement investors a guaranteed-income option is partially credited with the increase.
North American MYGA Increase
Effective February 3, 2015 North American has increased the rates on its 5 year myga. The product is now paying 2.70% for deposits of 200k or more and 2.50% for deposits less than 200k. Call today for details and state availability.
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Retirement Planning and the 4 Principles of Flight
After a few weeks of offering best practices, this week we wanted to discuss an illustrative yellow-pad concept to convey the basic forces at play in retirement planning. This particular diagram is relatively simple but can do a good job at explaining that retirement planning goes a little beyond accumulation and distribution.
I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the four basic principles of flight. Although there are other complicated factors at play with flying an aircraft, flight can be reduced to four main forces: lift, weight (gravity), thrust, and drag.
In this model, lift, created by the variation of air pressure on a plane’s wings, causes the craft to rise. It is countered by weight, which acts to pull the craft downward. Forward movement is provided by sufficient thrust. This is force is countered by drag, a result of friction and air pressure variances. In level flight, all forces are balanced.
We can use this model as way to explain concepts within retirement planning, especially plans with variable products and direct investments.
Here we see that thrust has been replaced with savings, drag with taxes and fees, lift with positive returns, and weight with negative returns and inflation. As with flight, we see an opposing relationship between the pairs; as one accumulates and moves forward with a retirement strategy, eventually there will be taxes and fees, even if they are minor compared to the movement and are easily overcome. Positive returns compound on accumulated value (hence lifting the aircraft upward), but this countered with negative returns and inflation that can drop the craft downward.
This is not a hard and fast analogy; you can easily adapt to your client’s scenario. But as a way to touch upon different external forces in retirement planning and conveying the importance of keeping a strategy “aloft,” the flight analogy drives home hard the value of a strong plan. In this diagram, it is not enough to get in the air; retirement plans need to be sufficiently structured to fly further and higher.
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Prospecting Versus Marketing
Agents and advisors often conflate prospecting and marketing as one and the same. While both have the same overarching goal—positive dividends for you and your company—the two terms can be seen as distinct activities. Understanding the difference between the two will help you focus your goals, provide for more efficient use of resources, and reap a high return on investment.
Both prospecting and marketing encompass not just one strategy or process, but rather many, often used in coordinated efforts. The problem for many advisors and agents is that they think a piece of marketing can also serve their prospecting needs, or vice versa. While there is certainly some overlap between what you could consider as marketing and prospecting, to get the most out of your efforts, identify one main objective you wish to achieve within the distinct categories.
In broad terms, good prospecting is an active process—speaking with clients, potential clients, referrals, and so forth. It is a direct activity with a level of personal engagement. You are actively seeking out leads and selling your value proposition.
Most forms of marketing can subsequently be considered passive. While you surely hope that an advertisement, bench graphic, or a radio spot would draw a good response for your target clients, the results can vary wildly. Why do this kind of marketing then? Because it builds your brand and reinforces your value in your area. Although you would hope for a direct response, this kind of marketing is passive because it is more effective as an indirect way for consumers to identify your business and services.
So, prospecting—direct, active. Marketing—indirect, passive. These are not strict definitions, but rather a way to filter your communications and lead generation efforts. The more that you filter down to one achievable goal, the more you are able to target your ideal market.
What are my expectations with this [direct mail piece, advertisement, radio spot, seminar]?
What do I want to happen with this activity?
How will I measure results?
Is this activity more prospecting or is it more marketing?
If you can respond to these questions with simple and clear answers, you should find that not only are your expectations reasonable, you will have a better idea on how to achieve them. The big problem with trying to combine marketing and prospecting with a lot of expectations and desired results is that you will have poorly-defined goals and insufficient ways to measure results.
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F&G Chargeback Change
F&G has announced a change to their chargeback policy that will take effect February 14th. Any policy issued on this date or later will now have a 2 year chargeback rule. 100% in the first policy year and 50% in the second policy year.
Equitrust Phone Number Change
Equitrust has changed the phone number for phone interviews on their life insurance policies. The new number is 855-699-3045.
Money for Marketing
As the new year kicks off I wanted to remind everyone of a great marketing program through Legacy Marketing Group. Their Money For Marketing program will reimburse you back for marketing expenses. You just have to submit your marketing invoice and write 250k of annuity production within 90 days and Legacy will reimburse you an additional .25%. In addition to this you will also receive marketing dollars from Legacy Financial Partners. Call today for details.
MetLife Designated As SIFI
MetLife has been designated as a systemically important financial institution. While many don’t like the mantra too big to fail MetLife agrees and has even threatened to go to court to remove the designation.
While many of you think of Genworth for life insurance and LTC don’t overlook their FIA portfolio. They offer 5, 7, and 10 year options with competitive caps, bailout options, and competitive income riders. The 7 year product offers caps up to 5.2% and the 5 year product offers caps up to 4.2%. Call for details.
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Calibrating your Target Market
Last week we discussed core pieces at the heart of an effective marketing campaign, beginning with the bullet point of “Understand Your Target Market.” This week we wanted to expand on this idea further, because of how important this is to developing a successful marketing program.
Having worked with many advisors and agents, we find that most financial professionals identify their target market through simple constraints, such as age and income. This is certainly understandable, because these are two key pieces of information used when generating an illustration and determining possible solutions for a prospect. However there are many other factors you should consider when targeting clients. Considering these other factors and broadening your approach will help you target better and generate more consistent results in your marketing.
Multiple Ideal Client Types
As we mentioned in our post last week, there are multiple ideal client types in different kinds of product lines and consumer profiles. Make sure that you have a good grasp of who are looking for in these different categories. Also think about the common denominator shared by all of these client types that you are looking for.
The Persona Profile
Many companies will develop and target their ideal client by giving a hypothetical prospect an identity, complete with name, age, needs, occupation, hobbies and sometimes a backstory. Developing a “persona profile” can be a good strategy to think of when trying to delve into the psychological identity of a prospect or client type, but you don’t necessarily have to go so far as to develop a whole fictional person. Rather think about your target market beyond “age” and “income” to access a better understanding of who your clients are and what they need. This will help to tailor your specific messages and identify potential client touchpoints.
For instance, lets say you wish to target retirees, or soon to be retirees. You want to target someone with investable income, a hobby or interest that reflects not only their assets but also quality of life concerns, and a need to protect the sum of their life.
So we have:
Retiree – Concerned about financial planning or is open to a financial planning conversation
Hobbies/Interests – Likes cars and sports
Your message can be placed in specific targeted media, like a car magazine or website, and connect the idea of “running on empty” to their financial plan. This is a simplistic example, but it demonstrates how much further you can reach just by thinking about your client’s hobbies or interests.
Let’s say we have someone who his greatly involved in their community and local charities. This person is likely concerned with wealth transfer issues, be it to the groups he or she supports or to their own family.
Mind you, this isn’t radical thinking, but that’s why it matters and why it works. Not only do you expand your idea of a target client beyond age and income, but also you already have a direction in developing and placing your message.
Another reason why thinking about the hobbies and interests of potential clients is helpful is that a person with a passion will likely understand the value of a good financial plan, because money will mean more to them than money; it will be the means to access and maintain what is important to them. Individuals generally don’t see money as cold numbers and figures—they see what they can do with it. So getting away from a numbers and figures approach in targeting will make your messages hit harder.
In the previous section, we are really discussing using what people do as a means of targeting. You can also use what people experience as way to access them. This includes the whole arc of a prospect’s life and the financial concerns that someone experiences at each milestone.
A new parent not only has a shift in financial expenses but also a shift in priorities, which makes them a likely candidate for a cash value life insurance policy. A person approaching retirement will have a whole host of concerns and complicated financial needs—from coordinating employer-sponsored benefits and shoring up other retirement assets. This person may also have interest Social Security and estate solutions. A new job, the loss of a job, marriage, the death of spouse, all of these are major events that have a need for financial services, whether the person experiencing them realizes it.
If you want to increase the ROI on your marketing and produce better results, you need a firm grasp of the market you are going for. The better you understand the variety of your prospects, beyond simple input values such as age and income, the more focused and powerful your marketing will become.
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Legacy Financial Partners Closed
Legacy Financial Partners will be closed Monday January 19th in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. day.
Fidelity & Guaranty Rate Change
Fidelity & Guaranty has announced a rate change that impacts the prosperity elite series and safe income plus indexed annuities. Existing business must be issued by January 29th in order to keep the old rates. Call today for details.
Having The Conversation
The majority of the population is underinsured when it comes to life insurance. There are host of reasons for this with a major one being that many consumers are uncomfortable discussing what happens if they’re not here. Attached is a great sales guide that discusses how to broach this conversation along with other reasons to discuss life insurance.
Great American Discontinues VA Benefit Program
As January 1st Great American will no longer be accepting veteran’s benefit planning cases. Due to this change they have updated their client disclosure forms. Old versions of the form will be accepted through January 30th.
Symetra has become one of the leaders in the SUL marketplace. The product offers competitive pricing, the ability to take large lump sums, and competitive targets. Give us a call today to get more information.
The Six Pieces of An Effective Marketing Campaign
There are many voices and ideas when it comes to marketing. As technology expands, new methods and proponents arise. Certainly there is value in trying new strategies and our organization, Legacy Financial Partners, embraces new solutions as well as traditional marketing tools. But whether you are building a broad digital plan or pursuing consumers through direct mail, there are foundational points that are at the core to all effective marketing campaigns.
Understand Your Target Market
This is about as basic of a marketing principle as it gets. But it is one that is often overlooked or under-considered because of how basic it is. Targeting your audience and understanding your target market goes beyond thinking of age demographics or income thresholds. Many advisors and agents think about their ideal client—stable income, high liquid resources, good health for example—and only promote to this client type, even when advertising outside of their ideal client.
For some it helps to think of not one ideal client, but multiple ideal client types in different product lines, categories, and consumer profiles. Being able to have a more cosmopolitan scan of potential clients will assist your targeting, because you will be able to understand on a deeper (and more effective) level what a new retiree is looking for, what a younger client in his or her first stable job might need, or what solutions will work for new parents and so forth. Draw from your experience, explore research, and offer solutions that are specific.
Timing is everything. We always say that the right message issued to the wrong audience will fail as miserably as the wrong message to the right audience. An ill-timed piece of marketing can nullify a carefully crafted message sent to the right audience. Timing can envelop many aspects of the marketing process. Think about when your target clients begin building their budgets or start working on their long-term life goals. What are the key life events that cause your prospects to need one of your solutions?
This is one we think about quite a bit when developing campaigns with our advisors and agents. What is the right platform or medium for this marketing piece? For instance, what might work for mid-thirties new parents with stable income probably won’t for the senior/boomer market. A generalized approach would have digital pushes for the former and traditional direct mail for the latter. While this splits marketing on a traditional versus digital dichotomy, these generalizations often hold true for these demographics. Also consider that not all message types will be effective in all mediums, no matter the target market.
This is crucial. Being able to track results, with as much specific detail as possible, will help you account for what works, what doesn’t, and help explain why. This aids your analysis and understanding of the three points above–was it the medium, the timing, or a misunderstanding of your target market? Or was it something else out of your control and understanding?
Know Your Value Proposition
What is it that makes you or your services unique? Can you easily identify and articulate this? Not that you would necessarily want to go over-the-top with your essential quality in your messages, but having a good understanding of what you offer clients will help your promotions to be sharper, clearer, and issued with purpose.
A good, time-sensitive offer can inspire great consumer responses while qualifying your prospects. Make sure any offer presented is tailored to your target audience and follows the points above. Give your audience a unique reason to come to you and identify with your services.
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American Equity Incentive Bonus
American Equity has announced an incentive bonus for the new year. Their Fast Track promotion will pay out $1,500.00 for $1mm of paid annuity premium between 1/1/15 and 5/29/15. Call today for additional details.
There have been numerous carriers adjusting their rates going into the new year. Call today to get the most up to date caps.
There are a number changes within the tax code for 2015. These include changes to income tax brackets, exemptions and deductions, gift and estate exclusions, and a host of others. Attached is an updated 2015 tax reference sheet.
A myriad of tax extensions were passed in the ABLE act of 2014. This extension keeps in place a number of popular deductions and incentives for filing 2014 taxes. Available for download is a breakdown of what the act encompassed.
NACOLAH Benefit Solutions
North American has a new fixed index annuity rolling out January 7th In a number of states. This competitive product offers a unique 120, 140, 160 benefit base floor design. This unique feature partnered with competitive caps, nursing home multiplier, and death benefit rider make it an extremely competitive product for clients concerned about income and life’s what ifs. Call today for details and state availability.
Allianz Annuity Changes
Allianz has announced some changes to their indexed annuity product line that will take effect January 6, 2015. The bonuses on the 365i and Masterdex X will be reducing from 5% to 4%. In addition to this there will be a commission reduction that affects several products as well. Call today for details.
AIG Commission Increase
Beginning January 5, 2015 AIG will be increasing the compensation on the Power Select Builder and Power Select Plus Income indexed annuities. The increase will be .50bps and applies to new business at that point as well as pending business that issues after that date.
2014 is coming to a close and 2015 is upon us. How did your business end up this year. What do you want 2015 to look like. What is the one thing that would make a difference in your practice. We have an entire suite of marketing and prospecting solutions available. Call today to discuss next year and set up your marketing plan.
Current Life Volume
According to limra total life insurance premium was up in the third quarter by 4%. Life insurance premium as a whole for the year is down 1% from last year and policy count as a whole is down 3% from last year.
Equitrust WealthPay Life
Equitrust has just rolled out a new single premium index whole life designed to take qualified funds and low tax basis annuities. It offers 3 competitive index options as well as living benefits in the event of a chronic or terminal illness. Call today for details and state availability.