Tag Archives: carpe manana

Destination 2020: Adventure or Disaster?

Today, GPS makes getting directions easy. A successful trip, however, is much different and a greater challenge than just good directions. Today, as a passenger on Planet Earth, you are heading to 2020 with more than 7 billion other folks. Our destination is known – what we’ll find when we get there, is not.

Your starting point is January 2017. You destination is January 2020. The journey is your road to tomorrow. There will be numerous hazards along the way. These are the difference between your current reality and the change that is tomorrow.

The bad news of change is best defined by Machiavelli, “There is no more delicate a matter to take in hand, nor more dangerous to conduct, nor more doubtful to success, than to step up as a leader in the introduction of changes. For he who innovates will have for his enemies all those well off under the existing order of things, and only lukewarm supporters in those who might be better off under the new.”

See also: 8 Exemplars of Insurtech Innovation  

The good news is that in the hyper-competitive world that will be tomorrow, well-prepared Davids can compete with the Goliaths of yesterday. This requires innovation – anticipating customer (prospect) needs and providing FAST, HOT AND CHEAP delivery.

“Different isn’t always better, but better is always different.” (Dale Dauten)

Consider these sign posts you will need to spot on the super highway to tomorrow:

  1. Who will be your customers?
  2. What will be your offerings?
  3. What will customers be buying?
  4. How will you communicate?
  5. How will you compete?

Who will be your customers? Your renewal customers will be older. Your new prospects will be younger, smarter, diverse, tech-savvy and less verbal than they are today. Fewer in your data base will be members of the Greatest Generation and the Boomers.

Buyers may be less enamored with your 40 years of experience because they are only 30 (Millennials). The “old boys club” will have closed; decision makers will be more diverse (gender, age, culture/ethnicity, expertise, etc), may speak a language other than English and will make decisions as a team – not as one boss. Having your marketing team more closely “mirror” them in tomorrow may be a good first step.

What will be your offerings? Today, we can use a 3D printer to “manufacture” an ear. With the possibilities in technology, your products sitting on shelves and the slow manufacturing process of today may not be enough for tomorrow. Also, with more data capture and artificial intelligence, many customers will understand the price/cost structure of your offering and those of competitors. You may not sell on price, but some will buy that way. Your value proposition must include a “differentiator” that brings value to the buyer.

In 2020, health insurance may be part of a single payer system, or you may wish it was. The ACA is not sustainable. At current rate trends, this one product will be sucking out a majority share of every family’s income to cover premiums. Healthcare expenses may include unintended consequences in the pricing of workers’ comp and liability policies.

What will customers be buying? With a global market and unlimited competition and less regulated competition, it is possible that consumers will find new solutions to traditional problems that don’t include the products you’ve offered in the past. You may find yourself tomorrow selling against what you sold yesterday with something tailored to a single client.

How will you communicate? My generation used speedy memos, the phone, Rotary Club and PTA meetings and lunch at the City Club as relationship-building and communication opportunities. Today, text messaging, Facebook and other social media platforms are used to bond and communicate. If you don’t believe me, call a Millennial and see if he calls you back.

How will you compete? This is one area of tomorrow that is out of your control. Competition will be defined by the marketplace. Your question is how to respond to the demands and expectations of this new world.

See also: Spending on Agents Beats Spending on Ads  

My guess is that, for agents, many products and service offerings today will be the commodities of tomorrow. Your success will be in what you do differently from the unwashed masses. Offering to facilitate the strategic planning for your best clients may keep you ahead of your competitors. You’ll have arrived when your clients invite you in on most, if not all, serious issues in their lives. Trust will matter.

Success will be in your ability to gain and retain client intimacy by exceeding their expectations and the offerings of competitors. Look who is gone and who is prospering in today’s world. Will you be good or gone in tomorrow’s bazaar?

Carpe Mañana!

Are You on Your Game, or Is Your Game Over?

Weeks ago, Jim and I met for coffee to solve all the world’s problems. We didn’t, but he did hand me an article about Sudoku and said, “There may be a story in here.” He was right. I just didn’t realize how quickly it would appear on my computer screen.

Later that day, when I was driving down Main Street in New Iberia, La., I saw mobs of “geeks” (the politically correct term is “millennials”) playing Pokémon Go. My wife works Sudoku puzzles. I had read about Pokémon Go, but I have never even seen it played before.

See also: Pokémon Go Highlights Disruptive Technology  

I was impressed with the marketplace’s embrace of Pokémon Go. One hundred million devotees in less than a year is a game-changer.

If, like Sudoku, your business is manual, local- and pencil- and paper-dependent, your universe is limited to yesterday. If you are global and virtual like Pokémon Go, there are no boundaries — only opportunities. Your future depends on the choices you make, local or global, manual or virtual.

Now let’s quit playing around and get serious about the insurance industry and your place, if any, in tomorrow’s world.

Whether you prefer the metaphor of revolution or evolution, our world is changing. The change is going to be structural, revolutionary and transformational. The reason is that when one thing is different it’s change; when everything is different it’s chaos.

In terms of natural disasters, think 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, the Japanese tsunami, etc. For economic crises, consider the 2008 economic collapse, the stock market crash, the GM bailout, the demise of AIG, Lehman Brothers, etc. — and then remember the past and current reshuffling of the retail and distribution systems in our world (Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, Expedia, WebMD, Netflix, etc.) I could go on, but I won’t. I can’t remember all the changes, nor can I outrun the pace of change.

These changes from yesterday were triggered by systems, big data, technology, global competition and corruption, the internet and a marketplace that has evolved over time — from the corner store, to Main Street, to strip shopping centers, to malls, to box stores and even to a virtual presence in cyberspace. The big change now and tomorrow is not place but rather people and pace.

See also: Look Up, Look Out, Think New!

Our industry was built for a “father knows best” world. The youngest of the Greatest Generation are now 70 years old. Their progeny are the Boomers, who are 52 and older. Those in Gen X are age 32 and above, and the Gen Y and millennials are somewhere between 12 and 34.

In tomorrow’s market, age doesn’t matter — wiring does. Every preceding generation was born to analog; these Gen Yers/millennials are digital natives. What we “old” folks see as aberrations, they see as the norm — and they and the market ain’t going back ever again. By 2025 (which is nine years away) millennials will be 75% of the working people. The next nine years may bring more technological advances than we’ve seen in our collective lifetimes.

Our options are simple: We can go enjoy a smoke and a Sudoku on the bank of the nearest tar pit and wait for a meteor to end our pain and frustration, or we can shift into high gear and catch up with the roaming hordes of Pokémon Go folks and play in — and with — the world as it’s going to be!

THE MARKET IS CHANGING BECAUSE BUYERS CHANGE!

Change or die! Carpe mañana!