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    Joe’s Special

    A little of this and a little of that with hopefully something that you might find interesting, enlightening, or outrageous.  As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.  Let’s keep the conversation going…

    Preaching and Tweeting

    Check out this article from the October 30, 2009, Chicago Tribune on churches and social media.  The two most compelling statements for me are:

    • …more large Chicago-area churches are creating interactive ministries to connect with new members, even the coveted young-adult demographic.
    • “We went from being an insider-focused, exclusive church to being a church that’s outsider-focused.”

    I’d love to hear how you are putting social networks to work in your society…

    Web Presence Key to Cross Selling – and Cross Selling Key to Success

    A recent report from Forrester contains what I think is good news for fraternals.  The three key findings that resonate for me are:

    • Product ownership grows with age and online usage – The older consumers get, the more financial services products they purchase. No surprise there. The more important finding is that consumers who use online banking (an increasingly large number of young and middle-aged folks, by the way) show a greater affinity to own more financial products. That lends an enormous amount of credibility to NFCA’s retail banking initiative – the effort to provide the opportunity for member societies to offer their members and prospects online banking services through a fraternal-owned bank. I’m convinced that including online banking services in the fraternal product mix will help fraternals “grow younger” and recruit a whole new generation of members.
    • Credit unions beat the big banks when it comes to cross selling. What do credit unions have that we have? An affinity with their members! We can use that same type of affinity to successfully cross sell products and grow our membership.
    • And USAA beats everyone when it comes to cross selling – another organization with an affinity (i.e., a credit union serving active and former military personnel). You think there might be something to this?

    Modern Woodmen of America Program Rewards Volunteers

    You’ll want to read this very positive news brief (scroll down to third brief from the top) from a recent edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that reports a Modern Woodmen of America’s volunteer reward program and provides a great overview of what MWA – and the entire fraternal system – is all about.  Do any other societies out there have similar programs?  If so, I’d like to learn more about them and how you are promoting them to members and agents.

    NFCA TPA Webinar Accessible on the Web

    In case you missed it last week, you might want to replay the NFCA Webinar on outsourcing and third-party administration.  Please contact Allison Koppel, Vice President of Membership and Marketing, if you would like to obtain the web link on this recording. The case study on the impact of outsourcing on the Independent Order of Vikings is worth the cost and demonstrates that at least for one fraternal, this strategy is an effective option to a merger.

    Inter-Company Marketing Group Annual Meeting

    The Inter-Company Marketing Group (ICMG) exists for one purpose: to bring together insurers and vendors for the purpose of building relationships and creating strategic marketing alliances.  I attended the ICMG Annual Meeting earlier this year and was struck by the dedication to their mission.  Several NFCA members were also represented at the meeting and were there to seek out potential marketing partners.  I was so impressed by the meeting that in 2010 NFCA will become an ICMG Gold sponsor in an effort to enhance the visibility of the fraternal system among the life insurance marketing community.  The ICMG Annual Meeting will be held in Arizona in February.  Here’s a link where you can find more information about the organization and the event:  www.icmg.org.  You might want to consider sending your marketing staff…

    On the Nightstand…

    I’m just finishing up “The Ascent of Money” by Niall Ferguson.  It’s basically a history of finance written in a way that’s easily understandable by a non-financial person (that would be me).  Can sometimes be a bit tedious but overall quite a good read.

    Next up is “A Traitor to His Class,” an analysis of FDR and the New Deal.  It’s a monster of a book – 800 pages – and one that I am reading for a book club (a group of 10 guys who try hard to convince themselves there are more important things to read than the sports page).  I’ll let you know how it goes.  If anyone out there has read it and wants to give me a sneak preview, I’m more than willing to listen.

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