Has the Internet Killed your Industry yet?
If not, it probably will. Or at the very least, it will change it dramatically. Just take a stroll down memory lane for the last 15 years. Look at where the recording industry was 15 years ago. Rolling along, getting over 80's rock and not a competitor on the horizon as far as the eye could see Then, the internet killed their industry. Music went digital, people listened on computers and downloading a song took roughly a day. Despite that, devices changed, downloading became minutes and the number one seller of music in the world is a computer manufacturer named after a fruit.
What about the quest for knowledge business? Britannica had huge market share and was bracing themselves for a formidable battle against a much better funded competitor in Encarta. Britannica turned down a partnership with Microsoft stating, "management did not believe that a CD-ROM could adequately compete or supplement their business." Encarta had better funding, text/pictures were replaced by videos/audio, some of the best researchers money could buy and an already established distribution channel (MS Windows). Britannica had a though battle ahead of it. Then, the Internet Killed their Industry. Britannica has lost the battle, but not to Encarta. Instead, the winner was a free encyclopedia with a funny name created by "amateurs." If someone knew something, they wrote it down, if anything was wrong, readers corrected it. No money exchanged hands, people did it for free and Wikipedia covered over twenty times as many topics in a few short years than Encarta and Britannica combined created in centuries. Britannica is on the brink of going under and Encarta closed down in 2006.
How about insurance, or more particular, insurance agents? Insurance agents used to be considered one of those valued business advisors that you needed in your network. Through them, business owners/professionals could connect to customers, partners, distributors and vendors. Insurance agents were about connecting, not selling insurance. Has the Internet Killed this Industry? Not yet, but after years of neglect, the value-add of many agents is questionable and customers hear from their agent once a year to renew their policy. Buying insurance over the web has become a closer relationship, at least the website emails regularly. Plus, all the information the customer needs to know is available if they are willing to do a little digging. Many insurance agents take a week to get back to customers and when they do, they tell them what is needed rather than educating. Fortunately for agents and agencies that still add value, market-share is there to grab as the order takers call it quits. Blogging and a LinkedIn account with 500+ connections should become a licensing requirement. Plus, the companies and associations that employ these agents have a tremendous opportunity to provide their agents with insurance content distributed to agents websites. This would allow the agent to send specific links to customers seeking insurance info, freeing them up to focus on connections and not just selling insurance. If management doesn't stop worrying about control and start taking the Internet seriously, insurance agents will become a thing of the past, and their products along with them. [Read the full article on LoudClick.net]