I've just Googled ‘Life Cover'. 43,400,000 results popped up. Ignoring the sponsored links at the top, protection specialist adviser firms and direct providers get the top spots. (Be honest, you're going to try this now to see who they are. That makes you as sad as me!).
I wondered what a customer would key into Google (all other search engines are equally as good – I should work for the BBC) – here’s some examples:
'Covering my needs if I die' got 415,000 results, while 'What happens if I die? got 688,000 results.
Mmm.. a bit more digging here. I wonder what happens when I start using words that WE use every day, as an industry, in things like Key Facts documents and policy documents, to describe what we do – rather than words that consumers might key in?
- 'Death Benefit' got 4,070,000 results. We’re onto something here!
- 'Life Assurance' got 5,010,000 results.
- 'Death Cover' got 15,900,000 results.
- 'Life Insurance' got 63,500,000 results. Wow.
Time for the big one. The ‘P’ word. “Protection” got 572,000,000 results. Think for a minute about how much our industry must spend on trying to get to the top of search engine results for that keyword? Top of the results list is… Wikipedia!!! Yes – Wikipedia. What’s going on here then?
This got me thinking. For years the industry has discussed educating children on financial needs in school – it gets a mention on a fairly regular basis now.
So Mr & Mrs financial services… off you go to the local secondary school… welcome to class 7B. Thirty people staring wide eyed at you – probably because you don’t wear one of those teachers jackets with leather patches on the elbows. Time to talk financial services. Tell them about the important things. What are you going to say? What words are you going to use? How will you grab their attention?
I’m not a gambling man (unless someone quotes silly odds for Liverpool to win something) but I’m fairly certain that your script won’t include words kids use every day… LOL… WKD…
How are we going to phrase things when we discuss the important things in our financial life with today’s kids? Are we going to carry on using the same words to describe what we do? Words like ‘Life Assurance’ and “Death Benefit”, or are we going to come up with something different? Who’s going to do the writing? Should we ask someone outside the industry to do it? Playing with search engine results proved one thing – we don’t say things in the same way as customers might. Kids… they’re another story!
(PS – it’s nice to be back!)
Andy Milburn is Head of Marketing at Munich Re (UK Life)
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