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A Calculated Future

 

In 1969 I carried this worn logarithm booklet to my physics class in a briefcase along with my trusty bamboo slide rule. As I slid the scales and adjusted the cursor, I was able to interpolate the results they displayed. Back then this was cutting edge technology!

Forty years later the equipment was not only replaced, it was forgotten. The same science that calculated the orbital trajectory to the moon and back, now seems as outdated and as unworkable as my mother’s Ouija Board.

Today the insurance industry is facing transition brought about by other technical advances. These changes not only involve the way we calculate premiums, they force changes to the way we approach new prospects and communicate with our current customers. Just as mathematics has seen quantum advances in the calculations that can be done in milliseconds, social media is shattering the boundaries of the networking infrastructure and with it, obliterating the distinction between business and personal space.

As instant information becomes embedded into our lifestyle, our consciousness will be presented with almost unlimited data. Businesses will work to position themselves as trusted solutions in the mountains of date included in social media platforms. Some of these information sources will be found to be reliable, while others will be “problematic”. How a business distinguishes itself in that cascade of information will decide whether or not it will be successful.

Years ago universities coined the term “Extension” to describe educations programs that were expanded into communities. The people who provided this information became known as extension agents and became trusted sources of information. If you wanted to sell a new product, the extension agent would be the first one you would have to impress.

Search engines are quickly assuming the role of the extension agent. They not only pool the information, they also rank the information in importance.  How the information your company provides ranks in that particular search can make or break your business. Making sure your company’s reputation is fairly represented in the search results has become all important. Search engine optimization (SEO) is now a full time job.

Not too long ago, insurance marketing was as easy as purchasing a yellow page advertisement and choosing a company name that began with a series of A’s. If a business was really aggressive, newspaper advertisement could be added or mailing lists could be purchased containing the names of potential clients. Unfortunately these methods of promotion have gone the way of logarithm charts.

Unless insurance agents adapt to the changing times and pay attention to search engine optimization it won’t take an Ouija Board to read the scales and cursors of our future.

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