To boil the 2018 Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario convention (IBAO) down to a single blog would do the entire event a disservice. IBAO 2018 was so much more than what we are going to cover here. From the people, content, awards, education, vendors, and hospitality parties – make no mistake – IBAO 2018 was a must attend event for brokers or those who service insurance brokers in Ontario.

However, we wanted to focus our recap on the overriding themes that we heard at our booth (PS: don’t forget to watch or listen to the recap podcast here).

Yes, we easily had 300 people stop by our booth this year. And while some of them came for our awesome swag (camo hats, shakers, and calendars were the rave), many came to discuss digital strategy, digital marketing, and marketing automation. After more than 250 conversations, we can safely say these were the hottest three topics direct from the show:

  1. Brokers are ready to tackle digital, but they need help doing so. We didn’t speak to one broker that was on the fence about digital. Not one owner, partner, board member, or senior leader told us that they weren’t sure why they needed a digital strategy. This is a stark contrast to the ICTC event we exhibited at 3 years ago. The brokers at IBAO agreed they need to have a digital strategy, with many of them regularly trying digital tactics. Now these brokers are ready to develop a long term digital roadmap to plan their path for digital transformation and in general digital adoption. In addition, many see the value of having a partner like Goose Digital to bring senior guidance to the table and augment their internal teams for digital marketing and marketing automation tactics.

  2. Brokers don’t want to wait for the insurance companies or their BMS provider. More and more brokers are recognizing the need to engage their prospects and customers digitally and that they’re missing opportunities to do so. Remember, ~90% of a customer’s buying cycle is done before they reach out to you. If you lack an online presence, don’t participate in online channels, and aren’t creating content with a strong broker message – you’re missing opportunities to find your next customer. Similarly, having a strong digital communication strategy for your customers will amplify your value proposition and keep you top of mind to support retention and growth opportunities.

  3. It’s early days, even for larger brokers. We spoke to several sizeable brokers and larger vendor companies who are already putting larger investments into digital strategy and re-tooling their digital platforms. Even these companies can use help and recognized that without a sound strategy, roadmap, and partners these projects can easily get away from internal staff.

At IBAO we really felt the sense of urgency that now is a great time to move into digital more strategically. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution out there – certainly no silver bullets. We are very excited to continue the conversations following IBAO and are busy setting up those meetings.

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