Our product is researchTypes of researchWhat is MY JOB every dayHow my job helps industry: new direction product how we hire sales people how we distribute products help member company sell ethnic group influence legislationAt end: vast amounts of research – often dry – turn it into a good and compelling STORY
You are all financial communicatorsWorkshop about being good storytellerIFCA asked me to…. You MUST be able to make the data interesting!
It’s about finding the needle…Your job – comms that make a difference to your companyReach customersSell productMotivate sales forceStrengthen brandWherever you get data – make sure you learn to be good at using it.What do you create? Marketing materials, client facing, speeches, advertising, powerpoint, employee comm, articles inter or intranet
Credibility will define you, or your boss, or your company, as an expert.Facts bolster your argument – as long as you use a good source and use them responsibly – more on that in a minuteYou can build an entire news release, article, speech around one great stat.
People are desperate to establish credibility and to sway or sell their audience: Make you see things their way.Start story:How many have heard “We use only 10% of our brains?”
Assumed it was trueMaybe they roundedResearched itStarted 20 years ago – there areClick -- Books , cd’s coursesCover psychicsDebunkedThink about it = head trauma=severely impairedLuckily… bullet… 90% he didn’t usePoint is: stat included means rarely questionedWithin our industry there are voodoo stats too…
Recent example – last fall.Permanent insurance tax shelter for wealthyView could hurt industryWorked with them – cherry picked – clearly wealthy have more premiumMore interesting story this way
Result? Weaken that reporters cred.CLICKIssued, and they printed, L to Ed, stating factsCLICKThat refuted their storyExample of Voodoo stats.
Cover slide, thenWhether verbal or print comms, what can you do to attract attention of audience and keep them tuned it? There are things!Presentations now include speech and visuals. Before PPT, we had to be better ORAL storytellers.Old fashioned speeches
Given spread of PPT – presentations turned upside down“Speech” = mostly what’s on screenProper relation if illustration tool to the speech reversed.Many believe tragically damaged public speakingToday, many can’t imagine doing w/o ppt.
Rely heavily – mtgs big and smallNot just execs – everyone, 12 year oldsOften not used wellOutcome of poorly planned ppt presentation = SNOOZE, and worse with research findings.10, 20, 30 data pointsWhat can you do to PRESENT OR COMMUNICATE research better and more successfully?If you walk away with only 1 thing….
I have created many presentations, and written many speeches over the years. I currently fulfill this function for the president of LIMRA. There are certainly times we battle – he loves every last number in the research, and asking him to leave it off a slide is like asking him to choose between his children, but usually, we get to a good place.
Almost 2 in 3 American households would quickly be in financial trouble just to meet everyday living expenses if a primary wage earner dies. One third would immediately have troubleAnother 3 in 10 could only keep up with expenses for several months Without adequate life insurance, these households may not have enough time to financially recover (by cutting expenses or increasing income) from the death of a wage earner.
About 7.4M households have financial assets of $100,000 or more
A few more things about this market:Over 25% of pre-retirees are not employedPre-retiree net worth exceeds $16 trillionParticipation rates in retirement plans remain less than 50% for private-sector workersPre-retirees hold over $1 trillion in IRA accounts
Worker refers to all individuals who are not defined as retirees, regardless of employment status.29 Percent have less than $1,000
This is a great litmus test to go through as you prepare your material – no matter what forms they take. When I first started at LIMRA, I would go around and meet with the different researchers. They are ALL passionate about their subject matter. So many times, I would hear “I have a new report coming out, and I think we should do a news release, or a podcast on the findings.” When we went through the findings together, I’m pretty sure I offended a few of them early on, when I asked them “So what?” They would look at me with a blank stare, and I’m sure they were thinking bad things about me, but eventually they started understanding that within the pile of findings, 1-2 things are really captivating.
And it’s not just about technology and finding them, it’s about what we say when we talk with them. We have historically talked a lot about money, about risk and reward, and entrepreneurship. The themes don’t resonate with them. They want to be part of a group, they want to work collaboratively with others. What worked with boomers won’t resonate as well with X and Y’ers… If you tell talk to them about the opportunities to network, you probably mention business lunches, social events, golf, and business dinners. The younger generations just don’t respond the same way. Today’s relationships have a digital dimension. They want to hear that you’re offering them cutting edge technology so that their communications can be immediate and direct. The next generation wants to affiliate with organizations that are willing to invest in modern technology to streamline all of their business practices. Will you give them 24/7 connections? They want to use social media to prospect, they have to, that’s where they live. If you are trying to recruit them and tell them they can’t interface that way with people your odds of getting them on the team are small. They don’t go online…. They ARE online…
Is there a disconnect?We asked college graduates and job changers to describe what they envision for their sales careers. There were clear themes.Influence: “I’m making a difference!”Connection: “I don’t go online. I am online.” (want and need tools and technology to grow. Communication should be immediate and direct.)Stability: “I feel supported.”Variety: “I hate monotony.”BUT when we talked to recruiters from across THIS industry, they described their view of a sales career:Money: “You have the potential to make a lot!”Connection: They focus on face to face: build a network, meetings, golf, lunches, handshakes (Gen “Next” want to social media here)Entrepreneurship: “You can be your own boss.” (They don’t want this – they want a team)Risk and Reward: They talk about the passion of sales, fierceness, excitement, competition.
Our news release on this research was titled “Gen X & Y Job Seekers Have Values That Align With a Financial Services Profession — But They Don’t Know That”. They often don’t even get past the recruiter, or the “image” they have of our profession. We also extensively researched their online buying habits, and while the researcher could tell you how often a person who is 32 is likely to go to an insurers web site, and what time of day, and for how long, and what they thought of it, etc, etc.. The “SO WHAT” was this… If you build the capabilities, they will come use them.
This will tell you what style to use, how literal you need to be, etc. For example, even though I represent a research company, given who my audience is today, I’m not actually hoping any of you retain ANY LIMRA research. By understanding what job functions you all have, I’m able to focus on what you want to hear – how to use the data, not which data to use.Here is another way to think about using RESEARCH to understand your audience…. (click to collage..)
In addition to research, we conduct focus groups to discuss different topics. We did a series of them regarding how people feel when they think about life insurance and the process of purchasing it.This research really tells us how our audience is thinking, and how we, as FINANCIAL COMMUNICATORS have to approach them.This focus group was asked to do a collage as prework. This particular woman presented hers, and it really encapsulated what they were all saying. In the center is family, … then at bottom, how they would feel once
It can detract from your message. Sure it’s fun, and sometimes we think it might be impressive to our bosses, but at the end of the day, too much is unprofessional. I like to use the “Fade In” animation, and use it more than any other. And my slides transition is “Fade through black.” A bit on the conservative side, but polished and smooth.
The main message here is…The importance of the speech and the slides getting inverted – if you’re doing slides for someone that plans to actually “present” them, make sure they simply support the points the speaker is making -- even if it’s just an image to look at while they talk. As soon as you put too much data up on the slide… , attention moves away from the speaker, Keep the focus on the presenter, and make the slide something the audience can absorb very quickly.Many financial communicators have some ability to impact the “consumer facing” materials – such as advertising.
This is one big way we reach our consumer audiences. Your companies spend a lot of money …. How research connects with advertisingConsumer sentiment research surveys how consumers feel about the economy, what they want from an advisor or agent, Priorities, worries, how long people have to work in retirement. Let me demonstrate for you, how the use of solid research has impacted how we communicate with our consumers through advertising. Set up clips
So my company produces research, and most of your companies are consumers of this type of research. I wanted to share with you a couple of examples of how your firms have found that “needle in a haystack” and used the research to promote their products or services.
ING recently made a major commitment to expanding their multi-cultural sales efforts in the U.S. They have launched websites, redesigned products, and even looked at their distribution. During the planning of this effort, they partnered up with LIMRA to better understand these markets, and how to reach them. They were able to cite LIMRA research throughout, to give them credibility and help them build a story around the opportunity. My team worked directly with their marketing and PR teams.
NYL was entering a major push on expanding their agent base. They connected this with LIMRA research on low life insurance ownership levels and the widening gap in protection.
We frequently partner with our member firms on these types of things. Over the past year, my team has worked these firms among others to help them use our research to improve their financial communications of all types.
Make the numbers sing webinar
Make the Numbers Sing Donna G. Sullivan Director of Public Relations LIMRA, LOMA & LLGlobal
Americans have had an unfavorable opinion of the economy for some time Consumer Opinion of the Economy March 08 49% 33% 13% 4% 1%October 08 66% 24% 6% 2% 2%January 09 60% 28% 7% 3%1% 1% July 09 44% 33% 11% 8% 2% 2%January 10 38% 39% 15% 5% 2% 1% July 10 42% 34% 14% 8% 1% 1%January 11 34% 33% 18% 13% 1% 1% July 11 46% 29% 14% 5% 3% 3%Very unfavorable Somewhat unfavorable Neither Somewhat favorable Very favorable Unsure
Americans have had an unfavorable opinion of the economy for some time Percent “Unfavorable” 90% 88% 82% 77% 76% 76% 75% 67%March 08 October January July 09 January July 10 January July 11 08 09 10 11
Tr ad it io n al r ecr u it in g d o esn ’t reso n at e What do I value? InfluenceGen er at io n Connection – Networking 2.0 “ Next ” Stability Variety What am I offering? To d ay’s Money r ecr u it er Connection – Networking 1.0 Entrepreneurship Risk and RewardSource: LIMRA Report Choosing Careers They Love, 2011 30