MarkTrend Research

Body Guard touches a nerve with over-55sI couldn't resist your invitation to comment on your briefing document.Since MarkTrend had a general public focus group recruited for a client in Edmonton last week, I used the surplus respondents to explore some of...

Body Guard touches a nerve with over-55s

I couldn’t resist your invitation to comment on your briefing document.

Since MarkTrend had a general public focus group recruited for a client in Edmonton last week, I used the surplus respondents to explore some of the issues.

Back data from our Quarterly Public Opinion survey also seemed relevant, so I do not feel totally unqualified to respond.

Is there a market for Body Guard? Yes, but with qualifications.

Our quantitative work shows that Body Guard touches a nerve, particularly with the over 55s.

They are concerned about safety and rising crime rates.

They see travel as a right; but they are scared by what they hear about most u.s. inner cities.

Our qualified endorsement stems from consideration of your strategic objectives.

Undoubtedly you, and your industry, in general, need to do something to freshen up the image of life insurance.

Collage-building exercises in our focus group revealed that older people find insurance increasingly irrelevant as a true investment; younger people find it confusing and untrustworthy.

Your brand may have some useful core values. But strength and solidity are merely the necessary conditions of your market; they are not sufficient to create conversion.

You want Body Guard to keep your existing policyholders happy and make potential customers want to deal with you.

The key is those potential converts. Who are they, where are they going to come from, what do they require?

Based on our focus group, they are not sitting there thinking about switching life policies.

Once the consumer has stared mortality in the face, made all the painful decisions concerning how much coverage, premium levels, and so on, they do not want to go hunting again.

You will have to attract them through some other door.

Which is where Body Guard comes in.

Respondents saw it as a natural adjunct to travel insurance, not life insurance.

When planning a vacation, your life insurance company is not one of the obvious places to seek information of any kind.

But travel insurance (including out-of-country medical coverage) is high on the list.

Make Body Guard a travel-related product and you have the chance to get ‘in the face’ of existing and potential customers.

Even then, however, Body Guard will not be the complete answer.

Given your own interest in niche-targetted media, you will appreciate that Body Guard appeals only to two of the four segments of the market we identified.

‘The Comfort Seekers’ will welcome Body Guard and probably will not leave home without it (to borrow a phrase.)

They have to know where they stand when planning and enjoying a holiday. The information in the Body Guard dossier will give them the reassurance they require.

‘The Organized Planners’ will use Body Guard, but only as part of the information they arm themselves with when they plan and make a trip.

Body Guard is not needed by this group, but that will not stop them wanting to have it.

‘The Free Spirits’ will actively avoid Body Guard.

It threatens to undermine their self image as worldly-wise travellers who derive a thrill out of adventure and risk-taking.

And ‘The Cautious Followers’ will probably not use it either.

Their basic insecurity will lead them to fear they will have to reveal too much about themselves before the dossier could have any real value.

While they would welcome the information (so that they can pretend to be as adventurous as their free-spirited counterparts), they will see the emotional cost as too high.

They are also concerned that you are looking for ways to avoid paying out should someone ignore your advice, enter a ‘no-go area’ and pay the consequences.

So, bottom line?

Press on with Body Guard, but tie it to your travel portfolio.

Aim it at all u.s.-bound travellers and look for media (and creative) recommendations which speak to the emotional needs of The Comfort Seekers and The Organized Planners.

Then, work to leverage their positive experience with you into cross-selling opportunities later.

Who knows, you might even be able to write some new life business as a result.

You will certainly be able to demonstrate all those characteristics of innovativeness, caring and ‘in-touch-with-the-modern-world’ that stem from your strategic goals.

I hope this has been helpful.

Do remember, though, I would counsel investing in finding out more about what your particular consumers need and feel.

Norman Mould is president of Vancouver-based MarkTrend Research.