Integrity First: Digital Marketing Manifesto

Insurers can be far too cavalier about digital marketing, when they are otherwise so conservative about how they do business.

Insurers have one asset that is first among equals, that is too rare to risk and too rich to easily replace, that is too abstract for actuaries to calculate and too valuable to actualize with numbers alone, as if an extra comma here and another zero there can create worth without effort—if insurers look beyond their respective balance sheets, they may see the result of centuries of history, laws and tradition. They should see that there is no substitute for integrity. Insurers should also know, and I am here to tell them for the first time or however many times it takes, that the wrong digital marketing campaign can ruin what they cannot recover: their livelihoods, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Dramatic words, but a truthful description just the same. Melodramatic words, too, but a nonetheless accurate account of the damage that the inexperienced can cause, that the incompetent can sow, that the inept can spread in seconds. That insurers can be so cavalier about digital marketing, when they are otherwise so conservative about how they do business, must no longer be standard operating procedure. See also: 5 Accelerating Trends in Digital Marketing   According to Erez Kanaan, founder and president of Kanaan & Co., digital marketing must never be the domain of the novice and a means to deter clients from asking questions. He says: “Digital marketing is a ‘science’ to the extent that we can measure the efficacy of keywords, ads and website traffic, among other things. Overall, however, digital marketing is more of an art than a science. It has the veneer of science, but it requires the soul of an artist to craft a message that resonates with a specific audience.” I agree with that comment, not because I think it is right, but because I know it is; because there is too much junk online; because there is too much noise in almost every medium; because there is a surplus of mediocrity and a scarcity of excellence, from the ads we see (and do not read) to the posts, tweets, texts and alerts we have to see before we can see what we want. Insurers need to accept these facts. More importantly, insurers have to act in accordance with these facts. They must not compromise what they can control, only to lose control over how they present themselves and how clients perceive them. Digital marketing, then, is a power that belongs to the few—that should be the property of the talented few whose work is as exceptional as the work ethic of each designer, writer, advertiser and SEO specialist, for whom it is a privilege to be a digital marketer. See also: 5 Digital Predictions for Agents in 2019   Call it a service by the few for the good of the many. Call it a service that exists, but one that must expand so we can render the unprofessional unacceptable and the unethical extinct. Call it a digital marketing policy for insurers and policyholders alike. Call it a new chapter in the union between insurers and digital marketers.

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