Apparently I can get life cover for as little as £5 a month…

But to be totally honest, I don’t care.

‘Why not?’, I ask myself, ‘surely it’s a great deal, I mean it’s less than two pints in my local, plus I’ve got two kids (both under six) and a reasonably large mortgage and currently no protection in place.’  So why is it that price led protection ads just wash over me?

Right, I need to be careful here because I’m about to criticise my own occupation. I’m not an Actuary or IFA. I’m actually a marketer and I think it’s about time we – as marketers – put our hands up and admitted we’ve failed to deliver on the fundamental principle of marketing – the creation of the need.

The importance of communicating the need for protection has been overshadowed by the obsession of marketing teams’ obsession with products and, dare I say it, ‘Brand guidelines’. It’s a problem that exists both in internal marketing teams and creative agencies. Why? Because it’s easy to list product features and obsess about logo positions, typeface and pantone colours. The industry needs to shift emphasis and focus on message. Now, before I get arrested by the brand police, I’d just like to say that I am a great advocate of visual consistency, but let’s not forget that brand guidelines are the servant of a strong commercial message and not a replacement for one.

The truth is that human beings are eternal optimists. We all think we’re going to win the lottery at odds of 24 million to 1. Yet, faced with a 1 in 3 chance of being diagnosed with cancer, we all think we’re going to live forever.

To respond to this inertia protection marketing will need to get braver and develop much deeper customer insights. Brand will need to get an attitude and learn to disrupt the audience.

I’ve never responded to an ad. because of the position a logo, but I have responded because of a brave message. So, maybe all of us protection marketers should spend a little more time worrying about what our work is saying rather than what it looks like. Maybe we should start getting passionate about identifying messages that will force audiences to interrogate priorities and confront the consequences of not protecting their loved ones.

So my point is that you can shove product benefits and price down my throat till the cows come home, but you’ll never get me to buy protection until you force me to evaluate what it is that needs protecting in my life. You see, like most adult males, I give my own mortality little air time. But get me to think about my two boys, convince me that I can protect them, well then you can forget your £5 a month for life cover because I’d happily pay much more than that. And I’d be eternally grateful to the provider who opened my eyes to the need for protection.

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