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Very good question. There is a truck load of research, and any amount of empirical evidence to suggest that selling products with a long term pay-off is very difficult. However, marketing long term benefits lies at the heart of superannuation, life insurance and encouraging people to take action to mitigate climate change.

Here are my initial thoughts on how this might best be addressed:

  1. Understand and respond to aspirations

It is essential to fully understand the needs, wants, expectations and aspirations of your customer market and tailor your marketing accordingly. Until we understand why customers buy insurance, and what they want from it, we cannot sell it effectively.

  1. Establish credibility

If someone is going to be involved with you for the long term, it is essential that they believe you will be in business for the long terms and that you will treat them honestly and honourably throughout. No one will willingly buy insurance from a business they think might fall over before they claim.

  1. Make it as easy as possible

The easier it is to act, the better. If you are asking for a big effort, then the rewards will have to some sooner. If it is easy to engage, customers may be more patient. Filling out forms to buy insurance or having to buy equipment to protect the environment is too hard.

  1. Engage advocates and influencers

The further away the reward, the more important it is to have today’s decisions validated today. Influencers and advocates that the market relates to can be very effective sources of validation. Engaging a 65-year-old person to sell superannuation is naff. 20-year olds do not relate to them.

  1. Build in prestige

Making it prestigious to engage can be a very effective strategy for attracting engagement by providing immediate rewards. Prestige can be that reward. I can be made socially responsible to act now. Having two bins in the kitchen to facilitate recycling is now accepted as socially responsible behaviour.

  1. Establish a tribe

Bring together people with common values and demonstrate to those customers that you have the same values and actively champion those values as a leader. We all want to be members of a tribe, We want to belong to a group of people who think like us.

  1. Put the long -term rewards in context

Detail the nature of long-term rewards, the pathway to those rewards, and provide a context that creates a solid understanding of the returns that the outcomes can deliver. Before I give up plastic, I need a clear understanding of the implications for the world my children will live in.

  1. Report without the bullshit (on mobile)

Report as frequently as possible and as simply as possible, with no effort whatsoever required on the part of the customer to receive updates in language they understand.  I will not and have not ever read a 3-page report on my superannuation. A page is too long. Get it down to a line.

  1. Set short term goals and celebrate success

Set short term goals and celebrate the achievement of those goals. Make it clear to the customer that their involvement is delivering dividends they can talk about and be proud of now. All big objectives in superannuation or climate action involve achieving small goals that can be celebrated.

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John Carlson Changed status to publish February 11, 2019
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