Marketo recently launched a series of online interviews, designed to give you insight into the world of marketing and technology. When DJ Waldow, Marketo’s Digital Marketing Evangelist, sat down with Porter Gale, the former VP of Marketing at Virgin America, we got some great insight into how technology is shaping our lives and the way we market. Financial advisors, take note—the 21st Century Producer needs to understand the benefits and the pitfalls of emerging technology.

Six Degrees…to Three

Technology, Gale noted, is reducing the traditional “six degrees of separation” to about three. Now that we’re all connected on social media, our networks are larger and we come into contact with more people. Before the advent of social media, our personal networks held about 20-25 people. Now, that number is closer to 150. But with greater opportunity, do we also risk overexposure?

Technology: When to Go for It

Technology helps you make connections. LinkedIn is evidence of this. You can meet industry leaders at NAIFA or MDRT events and add them to your personal network, where you can benefit from their expertise on a daily basis. In the old days, a handshake and a business card were all you got. Now, you can add someone to your LinkedIn network, see their connections, read their updates, and follow the thought leaders they look to for advice. That kind of insight is priceless…and it’s all thanks to technology. If you’re not a LinkedIn power user yet, click here to download our free guide with 10 great tips to build your LinkedIn presence. Another way to take advantage of technology is to fill your other social networks with thought leaders you don’t have access to through LinkedIn. For producers, this means marketers and SEO experts.  Porter Gale suggests developing your own “mastermind group” of 4-5 marketers. Choose the people or companies who consistently bring you good advice and actionable pieces of information. Make them your go-to sources when you need to know what’s happening now. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+  and bookmark their blog in your browser or add it to your RSS reader (such as Feedly). Gale also talked about a new and interesting way to connect using technology. Have you ever used the “Connect” app? It tells you who, among your social connections, is nearby. You can reach out and ask if they’d like to meet up.  Whether you meet up with a mentor, a prospect, or a partner, you’re never more than a few clicks away from using your time wisely.

Technology: When to Use Caution

Of course, there’s a dark side to some of these emerging technologies. How do apps like “Connect” know where you are? They use geotargeting, which tracks you based on your GPS location, your IP address, or zip code. Based on your location, these apps can show you different content based on your location. It’s a potential gold mine for marketers. For example, a coffee shop might send you a coupon for a free cup of coffee if you’re within a three-block radius. For consumers, however, it brings up questions of privacy and potential misuse. However, since geotargeting isn’t likely to help us sell more life insurance policies, we’re probably on the consumer side of these apps. That means it’s our job to know how our information is being used, and to monitor all the permissions we give these apps. Whenever you start using a new app, don’t just skip over the privacy policy. Read it and understand it before you install it. A second potential downfall of technology immersion is that it can take us away from being present in the moment. For example, if you’re in line at that coffee shop checking email on your phone, you might miss the chance to strike up a conversation with the person behind you. What if they could be a new connection, or better yet, a prospect? According to Gale, everyone involved in sales or marketing needs to be open to talking to people. Face-to-face interaction, especially spontaneous interaction, can change your career…as well as you, personally.


So how do you balance the positive effects with the negative ones?  Use technology where it makes sense. LinkedIn, for example, makes sense for advisors. It gives us access to people and information we need to do our jobs.  Does a geotargeting meet-up app give you that? If you’re on the road a lot, it might. But if a particular piece of technology doesn’t make it faster and easier to grow your business, it’s okay to pass. We’re taking a big step to help you incorporate technology into insurance sales. Insureio is a robust new insurance sales system that lets you manage, market, and build your business. From built-in quoting and field underwriting to marketing automation and built-in nurture campaigns, DataRaptor is one way we’re bringing insurance-specific technology to the 21st Century Producer. See Insureio Now