Never Heard of Mar-Tech? Read On! "Our greatest barrier to future success is our legacy. This has been a fat-cat industry."

With those fightin' words, Lynda Smith, CLU, ChFC, LLIF, challenged a roomful of insurance marketing executives to learn the new discipline of marketing technology, i.e., "mar-tech." Smith, director, client solutions at the Roanoke, Va.-based DSC-FastForms, told those attending LIMRA's Agency Management Conference this spring that two things would sustain life insurers in the future: technology and the creative application of that technology. "Marketing is about data. Technology is about efficient data management," she said. Bringing together these previously separate but complementary disciplines: the mar-tech manager.

Just to scratch the surface of the capabilities of marketing technology available today: providing state-of-the-art sales presentations and up-to-the-minute compliant illustrations to the field, and distributing, viewing, faxing, printing, and completing forms--including applications--electronically. This kind of efficiency, Smith says, improves agent recruiting, training, and retention; increases productivity; helps to ensure market conduct; and reduces underwriting time. "In other words," she says, "it means bottom-line profitability."