Customer acquisition and retention has always been a challenging task for chief marketing officers (CMOs) at insurance companies like you. In a hypercompetitive industry that is beginning to transition from being product-centric to one focused on consumers, you today need to reimagine your customer engagement strategy.
Why? Because, brand differentiation remains a major business goal across the industry, where many customers still consider price as the core attribute of a commoditized product. According to an Accenture study published in August 2015, the number of consumers perceiving most payers as the same in terms of products and services rose by 50% over the preceding 12 months.
The task for you is compounded further by the fact that many people are now purchasing insurance via aggregator websites, instead of reaching out to your company directly or your agents. Almost 50% of customers in developed markets hardly had any interaction with their payers over the annual policy term, Bain & Company’s 2017 survey of retail insurance buyers revealed.
Given this context, how can you transform the way you market insurance products and services to digitally empowered buyers, who are increasingly seeking high-touch, personalized experiences? Let me highlight two specific ways in this regard:
1. Embrace marketing automation
Tailoring communication for individual prospective and existing customers has been a major pain point for insurers. Salesforce’s 2017 “State of Marketing” report showed that 52% of consumers would weigh changing brands if a company fails to personalize communication. It’s high time your function migrates from using manual business processes for this purpose, and adopts automation tools for scalable customer outreach initiatives, lead generation programs, etc.
By analyzing behavioral triggers such as the download of a policy primer by a returning visitor to your website, you could send “thank you” emails, and push relevant offers as part of relationship nurturing. For existing customers, you can roll out educational retention campaigns, wherein an individual signing up for a specific type of insurance – say, auto – receives regular primers linked to the same.
Similarly, you could leverage automation to adapt your marketing programs to the respective stage of the buyer journey, and deliver customized content. With predictive data analytics tools, you can now extract tangible insights from internal and external customer data – both structured and unstructured – quickly, and build bespoke paths for individual leads. What’s more, adaptive marketing can be applied to various engagement channels including email, SMS, mobile apps, social media and websites.
2.Implement next-gen CRM
Many of your peers are overhauling their customer relationship management (CRM) systems to transform the customer experience (CX). A 2016 report released by Strategy Meets Action underscored the renewed interest in CRM, with 85% of North American payers citing CX enhancement as a strategic goal.
The new-age CRM can help you understand each of your policyholders in a granular manner, and equip your staff with the requisite contextual insights for them to anticipate customer requirements, and proactively address the same. You can use these advanced systems, which are underpinned by cloud computing, mobility and analytics, to incorporate new dimensions like location, delivery preferences and social networks into your customer relationships. By harnessing contextual customer data intelligently, you will be able to market personalized, relevant offers to the consumer, resulting in better retention and higher up-selling and cross-selling.
As marketing, like other business functions, undergoes a fundamental transformation in the 21st century, you need to leverage disruptive technologies effectively, if you are to deliver on your core mandate. Be it boosting product awareness, enhancing lead generation and nurturing, or maximizing customer lifetime value (CLV), you will be able to achieve these goals only by orienting marketing around data-driven insights and scalable, flexible processes.