I am not a big fan of Barack Obama as president. I know I hide it very well. In my opinion, he has made a series of stupid decisions from the day he was inaugurated. He is living proof of the theory that there is a difference between being popular and being wise.
I learned that fact when I ran for student counsel. In America our elections are national popularity contests. Obama & W were both popular but they were popular idiots. My generation was spoiled with, at least, semi-intelligent presidents, Reagan, H.W. Bush & Clinton. Although each of them had the flaws, they at least protected American interests both militarily and economically. In my opinion W. & Obama sought to use the power of the presidency to satisfy their own personal agendas.
What does this have to do with insurance? Absolutely nothing, but it does feel good to get that off my chest.
In fairness to Barack Obama I must grudgingly admit that he has done one good thing for business. I’m certain it was not his intention for business people learn from him. Never-the-less, he has succeed in emphasizing the use of technology.
He cannot help himself. He is addicted to technology. One of the first things we learned about him after he was elected was that he insisted on using his Blackberry phone. Last month he recorded a web video instructing people how to use www.healthcare.gov. Everything he has “accomplished” so far has been put on a government run web site.
His justification is to promote “transparency” in the government but the “closed” sessions he had with the Democratic congressional leadership and his inflexibility in the face of criticism for his decisions have proven to me, at least, that he is not interested in “transparency”. He is addicted to technology.
Technology is neither good nor bad. In itself, it has no moral compass. Just as “guns do not kill people, people with guns kill people,” technology does not sell people, people use technology to sell to people. They always have.
My parents are part of The Greatest Generation. They were raised before TV. Mom can remember listening to Bob Hope, Burns & Allen and The Shadow on the radio. In her generation, radio was used to promote products and services.
By the time I came along, TV had replaced radio as the # 1 choice for advertiser but it soon became cost prohibitive for the small business person. Often they had to find alternative ways to promote their business.
My kids grew up playing computer games. My son, the aerospace engineer, was the stereotypical pasty faced geek in high school. To be fair, my friends will confirm that in high school before it was chic to be geek I was a nerd. I even had a nerd poster on my closet door. When I awoke in the morning and still groggy I often did not know if I was looking at the mirror or the poster.
Although the internet has been around for a comparatively long time, business people had to wait until a huge chunk of the population gave in and joined the virtual world.
Members of The Greatest Generation are in their 70s and older now. While there are some exceptions, for the most part they avoid the internet. They embraced TV when they had children in their houses who made them but the popularity of the internet came after their children had grown and left. Although many of them have computers and feel comfortable with email, there opinions are still formed primarily through reading newspapers and books, watching TV or talking face-to-face with their friends.
Your ability to market them on line is very limited but not impossible. Believe me, I know. Medicare supplement insurance is one of my lines of business. I know how hard it is to approach seniors on line.
If you are marketing to seniors I would recommend that you add an email newsletter to your other marketing efforts. While, as a group, they do not use Facebook, Twitter or any other social media, they will respond to email.
Their children, my generation, are a little more receptive to change. Some of us still think the internet is a fad. Although not all of us have embraced the virtual world, many have. In the last year the fastest growing segment of Facebook has been from Baby Boomers. Personally, I am still learning how to maximize the free Business Page that Facebook allows me to have in addition to my personal profile.
If your target market includes Baby Boomers I would encourage you to build a presence, both personal and professional on Facebook. It doesn’t cost you a dime to use that social site to stay in front of your prospects.
Like Facebook, I am still learning the powers of Twitter. While it is much smaller than Facebook and, in my opinion, not as flexible, it is a newer social media site and like Facebook and My Space before it, the first group to embrace it is young adults.
If you are marketing to younger people (that is younger than me) I invite you to learn how to maximize Twitter with me. On the surface it looks very chaotic to me but the more I learn about it the more I see the logic and potential in it.
Recently, I discovered a program called Tweet Deck. It allows me to publish and share ideas and promotions to all 3 of the social media programs I am a part of, Facebook, Twitter & Linked In.
I am far from being an internet guru. I am still learning how to use all those programs. I’m afraid that by the time I learn everything, something new will come along. Already, I have heard rumors that Google is going to release a program to rival Facebook in the coming months.
I invite both legitimate gurus and amature geeks to share how an insurance agent can use technology to help them with their business in the comments section of this blog. Let’s all learn how to succeed together.