According to the most recent sales reports from LIMRA, annuities have had an impressive showing over the last several years. The sale of indexed annuities, one of the more popular long-term savings products lately, has now seen eight straight years of growth. Annuities have long been a popular asset among those with the need for a reliable savings vehicle that can provide a constant cash flow. With the latest annuity products available, however, that is just the beginning of the possibilities available. One of the best ways to inform clients of these products is with a high-quality annuity marketing team.
To find out what makes annuity marketing work, LIMRA researcher Todd Giesing authored a study that looked into the strategies used by annuity producers and brokers to turn interest into signatures. From LIMRA’s research came some surprising conclusions on the benefits of an all-encompassing annuity marketing campaign, as well as how the industry can learn from each other.
According to LIMRA’s research on annuity marketing, the right campaign could translate into a huge return on investment for annuity providers. On average, for every dollar a company spent on marketing annuity products, that company earned more than $1,700 from annuity sales. That’s impressive considering LIMRA also found that the amount typically spent on marketing talent and resources was very reasonable. The median total expenditures for annuity marketers in 2014 was $3.5 million. This figure could go as low as $450,000 per year including salaries.
The average annuity marketing department is tasked with a wide variety of roles, almost all of which are handled in-house, according to the LIMRA study. The vast majority of annuity marketing departments handled key responsibilities like organizing sales campaigns, product launches, wholesaler marketing support, content creation and social media. Annuity providers seem willing to keep these core responsibilities within a specific annuity marketing group, rather than another department. Most of these duties also aren’t outsourced for the most part. Video is perhaps the sole exception to this rule, with 24 percent of companies surveyed saying they contracted video work out to a separate company.
Social provides possible in-roads
The LIMRA study also asked annuity providers about their social media strategy, which has become a hot-button issue in the business world at large. While many are quick to tout a social media presence as an essential quality of successful marketing campaigns, others have questioned the real ROI or added value of such strategies. As it turns out, the tide may be swinging in favor of social media, and in a big way. LIMRA found that more than half of annuity marketing departments were already utilizing social media as part of their overall strategy, and 23 percent planned to do so in the future. However, that still leaves about a quarter of annuity marketers who are not using social media.
LIMRA found that social media could be beneficial in reaching out to professionals as well as final sales. A number of marketers reported frequent use of social networks to reach both advisors and consumers, but their strategy for each group was not the same. To reach advisors, most marketers rely on LinkedIn, widely recognized as the go-to social network for professionals. Sharing content on LinkedIn is a good strategy to earn attention from industry professionals and thought leaders, thus increasing the value of the brand. On the other hand, annuity marketers primarily use Facebook to reach end consumers.
By understanding the prevalent trends in annuity marketing, financial professionals can learn how to craft and optimize their own strategy for growth and success.