In Part 4 of 7 of our Q&A with Steven Holstein, former CMO of Guardian, we’ll find out how critical it is for CMOs of the Digital Age to take advantage of mobile devices. Whether it’s the newest tablet or the most popular smartphone on the market, CMOs will need to utilize these products to push their companies forward.
Everybody has a tablet when we talk to people in the field. However, it might not be the case that the tablet is being used for much more than playing “Angry Birds” or having their kids watch some videos at a restaurant. But I think increasingly we are starting to see that hardware get put toward business use. How do you see mobile technology changing the agent-broker relationship in the field?
Holstein: “‘Angry Birds’” is great on a sales person desktop. If you think about it, what it does is it gets the sales person to start using the device and as with any new tool, any new program, any new application, the first step is just getting usage. And it doesn’t have to be efficient or effective usage – it’s just getting that individual to use something new and different, especially if they’re a more seasoned veteran who has been successful doing things the way they’ve always done them.
The first step in any new device like a mobile device is usage. So ‘Angry Birds’ or any other app that gets them using it is in my book a good thing. Then the question is, ‘How do you unhook them from it?’ And in my mind, the biggest thing to do is to get successful reps who are more tech savvy out there as a part of your development team and have those people [become] part of the rollout program so that essentially their peers see them as becoming wildly that much more successful [and] much more effective in using the device … and all the sudden the rest of the producers or wholesalers coming along with them because they ‘want me some of that stuff.’
So there’s no question that you’re seeing that trend occur. As with any other new technology, it really is those technologically savvy early adopters that you want to corral and get to be a part of your successful solution earlier. You are seeing successes at some of the more progressive firms and some of the most progressive producers. Their view of the world in my mind is, ‘Finally information at my fingertips. Finally I can customize my specific sales pitch to this specific audience that I really want to talk to in a much more intimate, personal way.’ Keep in mind, we’re in a relationship business in financial services – it’s all about that relationship and a tool like a mobile device where you can in fact customize it and make it that much [more] personal. [It] really does make a difference, not just at the first touch point, but as the relationship continues to mature over time.”