Insurance for the Generations: Marketing to Boomers and the Millennials
The two largest generations today are the millennials (86 million) and baby boomers (77 million). Americans aged 50 and over will represent approximately half of the U.S. population and control 70 percent of the nation’s disposable income by 2017. And by 2025, millennials will account for 75% of the global market. These are two generations that represent huge opportunities for insurance companies. By understanding their distinctive traits and implementing these insights into the sales cycle, prime prospects can be turned into profitable customers.
Nielsen recently conducted research evaluating insurance ownership by the generations. Not surprising, auto insurance ownership is fairly consistent across generations, exceeding 80% for each group. Millennials however are less likely to have homeowners/renters insurance and life insurance.
Marketing to the Millennials
According to the Nielsen research, Millennials are the least likely of each generation to use a local agent, preferring to go online to acquire a new policy, review statements, make billing inquiries, and file a claim. This disengagement with their carriers causes major challenges for insurance companies. A Gallup study reports that, “engaged insurance customers are less sensitive about pricing when selecting and retaining a primary insurance carrier. They spend more and buy a wider variety of products, including financial offerings, from their insurer than do actively disengaged customers. They also stay with the company longer and are more likely to recommend it to others.”
To overcome the challenges of this disengaged generation, insurance companies must think strategically when implementing strategies to acquire and retain millennial consumers. The Gallup study revealed some important findings about how millennials choose and purchase insurance. Family is key, and these younger consumers are far more likely than other generations to choose an insurance carrier based on who their family members use. By building brand loyalty with older generations, insurance companies can boost acquisition and retention of millennial family members.
Millennials are also twice as likely compared to other generations to purchase and interact with insurance companies solely online. This means carriers must have a strong online presence. This includes social media sites, both interacting with millennials and targeting them through social display advertising. Websites must also be mobile optimized and user friendly to provide a positive experience whether a millennial is simply researching, asking questions, filing claims, or actively seeking to purchase a new policy.
Marketing to Baby Boomers
Insurance companies tend to be heavily focused on marketing to millennials, but one of the insurance industry’s most significant segments is the Boomers. While devising strategies to target younger generations, be sure to implement strategies to appeal to older consumers as well.
Baby boomers tend to prefer face-to-face communication over any other generation. According to a study by Gen Re, among those that met with a professional, over 65% had a one-on-one meeting. In another study by Gen Re, older consumers prefer live communications at some point during the insurance purchase process.
However, just because boomers seek live conversation at some point during the decision process, don’t think that they aren’t online. According to ImmersionActive.com, this age group is actually the fastest growing demographic online. Immersion Active also shared that, “the Internet is the most important source of information for Boomers when they make purchasing decisions.” Insurance marketers should have plenty of online content that is informative, easy to read, and straightforward. Traditional social media sites such as Facebook are also great platforms to incorporate into an online strategy. According to research, baby boomers are the fastest growing age group on Facebook, “with an 80% surge in users between 2010 and 2014.”
Most of us have seen the Esurance commercials: “I unfriended you” or “That’s not how it works! That’s not how any of this works!” Unfortunately the commercials have missed their mark with this generation by depicting boomers as “old and senile.” The key message is DO NOT treat boomers like seniors or call them old. They don’t grow old – at least according to their standards. They lead active and healthy lifestyles so what worked in the past doesn’t cut it for this age group today.
Whatever the age group, the bottom line is that consumers want to feel valued and appreciated. They are seeking seamless customer experiences. Both generations are in the insurance market now and will be so for some time to come.
To learn how to target popular segment groups with data to acquire new customers, download this free Insurance Marketing Data Solutions Guide.