Mythical Millennials: How to Market Insurance to Today’s Business Leaders

Posted on April 19, 2016 by Julia Burns

It was only a couple of weeks ago that I realised I’m one of these seemingly mythical creatures: ‘millennials’. So often they are talked about as if they’re a new phenomenon that we all need to look out for in the future, but I hate to break it to you: we infiltrated the world of business some time ago. People aged 18 to 34 are already key decision makers in small businesses and our influence can only increase. Moreover, the oldest amongst us will hit the peak age for starting our own business this decade, making the face of your customer distinctly millennial.

Much has already been written about how to market to millennials – don’t miss IBM’s research To Buy Or Not To Buy? How Millennials Are Reshaping B2B Marketing or this Mic slideshare, Millennial Disruption Insights 2015. But how can insurance companies in particular appeal to millennial decision makers in SMEs? This question is being raised with us time and again, and to find the answer, it’s revealing to unpack some of the most common millennial myths.


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Myth 1: Millennials are narcissistic

Admittedly, I didn’t bolster my argument by starting the article by talking about myself, but stick with me.

Since the term ‘millennial’ was first bandied about, there has been an insinuation that this new group of workers is entitled and self-obsessed, expecting the world but being unwilling to put in the effort. Time’s seminal The Me, Me, Me Generation issue has the data to back it up.

Millennials may like to talk about themselves (case in point) but psychology tells us that everyone thinks about themselves almost all the time. What is different is that millennials are in the unfortunate position of being the first generation to be able to indulge so easily and visibly.

In fact, when it comes to buying, there is much evidence that millennials tend to be values-driven, far more likely to be interested in doing the right thing than progressing their own agenda. They will carry out in-depth research to ensure they make a decision that balances cost and quality with kindness. As many as 84% consider brand social values before buying[1].

So what does this mean for insurance industry marketing? Your ideas will certainly have to work harder.

Today, successful B2B campaigns need to be relevant on three levels:

  • Macro – Issues of national or international relevance
  • Micro – Issues relevant to business or industry
  • Me – Issues relevant to the individual

In this way, businesses can talk about the big talking points of the day and make them relevant to their clients on both a business and personal level.

For millennials, contrary to popular belief, B2B marketing shouldn’t shift the focus to ‘Me’, but continue to work across all three levels. Despite what some would have us believe, millennial decision makers aren’t only interested in themselves and will need a compelling business reason to make a purchasing decision, especially about something as important as the insurance used to protect everything that they have worked so hard to build.

In addition, campaigns for millennials will have to work across a further dimension, tapping into the values of the generation in order to increase purchase choice.

Myth 2: Millennials are obsessed with social

Many would have us believe that every millennial loves social media and traditional news media will die as a result. But while millennials are clearly more likely to be active online than previous generations, they consume other media ferociously too.

For 85% of millennials, it’s important to stay up to date with the news[2] and even the youngest (18-24 year olds) are only 2% less likely to read a newspaper than the general population[3]. With so many media and content options available – including everything from brand websites and price comparison sites to podcasts – the buying process is much more complex.

For the insurance industry, this means that your marketing ideas need to be better than ever in order to stand out in the crowd. If you’re talking about ostensibly the same products and services as everyone else, you won’t cut through to an audience which consumes content so quickly via so many channels. Instead, insurance companies need to focus not on their products but what they enable millennial business leaders to do.

The right cover and consultancy is a parachute that allows them to take calculated risks, be nimble and innovative, take advantage of new opportunities and not bet the farm every time they sign a new contract. By developing ideas that tap into this and that are sophisticated enough to work across multiple channels – and are useful for all-important brokers – insurance firms will be set to stand out. Find out more about how to develop these ideas in our ebook No Idea? The Marketer's Guide to Generating Ideas that Sell.

Myth 3: Millennials are the future

As I said at the start, millennials are already here, with this generation set to account for 75% of the workforce by 2025[4] and hit peak entrepreneurship in just six years' time. It’s time to take action to update your marketing strategy to be relevant to decision makers in this demographic today.

Julia Burns, Senior Account Director

[email protected]

[1] Perceptions, Millennials and CSR: How to Engage the New Leaders of Tomorrow, Cone Communication

[2] How Millennials Got News 2015, American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Centre for Public Affairs Research

[3] Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next, Pew Research Center

[4] Big Demands And High Expectations: The Deloitte Millennial Survey, Deloitte


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