Evo­lu­tion of Mar­ket­ing

Insurance - - FORSIDE - In­sight by Mr. Amir Ghaf­far | Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent ACE Jerneh In­sur­ance Ber­had

What are some of the sig­nif­i­cant changes in the evo­lu­tion of con­sumer in­sur­ance mar­ket­ing and how has it changed the in­dus­try?

The In­ter­net is chang­ing the way in­sur­ers en­gage with con­sumers, but tra­di­tional chan­nels re­main im­por­tant. The way con­sumers want to in­ter­act with in­sur­ers is evolv­ing as there is now far more in­for­ma­tion avail­able to al­low in­di­vid­u­als to com­pare prod­ucts and prices and to ob­tain in­de­pen­dent opin­ions be­fore pur­chas­ing. At the same time, new ge­o­graphic mar­kets are grow­ing sig­nif­i­cantly as eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment cre­ates an in­creas­ingly large and af­flu­ent mid­dle class with money to in­vest and as­sets that re­quire pro­tec­tion. With all these changes tak­ing place, in­sur­ers can no longer rely on re­ceived wis­dom about what con­sumers think and how they be­have. The chal­lenge is to re­ally un­der­stand what drives con­sumer be­hav­ior to­day, not yes­ter­day, in all the ge­ogra­phies, sec­tors and dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels an in­surer op­er­ates.

How does so­cial me­dia play into this? Please elab­o­rate.

Con­sumer be­hav­ior is chang­ing rapidly and the sin­gle big­gest change is in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy. The growth of on­line and so­cial me­dia chan­nels are and will con­tinue to drive fun­da­men­tal shifts in cus­tomer’s ex­pec­ta­tions in terms of how prod­ucts are mar­keted, sold and ser­viced and how com­pa­nies are per­ceived. Pure In­ter­net businesses have set new stan­dards – in terms of cen­tric­ity and en­gage­ment that raise the per­for­mance bar for in­sur­ance com­pa­nies in the con­sumer in­sur­ance sec­tor.

How do in­sur­ance com­pa­nies gauge the ef­fec­tive­ness of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing? Pro­vide ex­am­ples.

The cus­tomer-cen­tric na­ture of pure In­ter­net businesses is in­flu­enc­ing cus­tomers’ ex­pec­ta­tions. A few no­tice­able ex­am­ples: • Most con­sumer businesses are built on cus­tomer data, that rec­og­nizes each cus­tomer as a unique in­di­vid­ual en­abling the of­fer of prod­ucts and ser­vice sug­ges­tions based on the cus­tomers’ past be­hav­ior and known pref­er­ences. Many con­sumer businesses also build on in­de­pen­dent data as part of the of­fer­ing, invit­ing cus­tomers to re­view what oth­ers’ thought of their pur­chases and mak­ing it easy for con­sumers to com­pare pric­ing and of­fer­ings. • In­dus­tries rang­ing from con­sumer fi­nance to air­lines and ho­tels, have to re­spond to the wide­spread avail­abil­ity of In­ter­net price com­par­isons and in­de­pen­dent qual­ity rat­ings, of­ten com­piled by their own cus­tomers. These de­vel­op­ments help cus­tomers buy with more con­fi­dence — and set an ex­pec­ta­tion the businesses have to meet. This trans­par­ent, in­for­ma­tion-rich en­vi­ron­ment has fed an ex­pec­ta­tion among con­sumers that they will be able to do more in­de­pen­dent re­search for their pur­chases. There is a grow­ing trend of in­sur­ance com­pa­nies track­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing but the amount of ac­tual in­sur­ance pur­chased over the In­ter­net re­mains low in many coun­tries and varies con­sid­er­ably be­tween de­vel­oped and emerg­ing economies. We see cus­tomers lev­er­ag­ing the In­ter­net and so­cial me­dia to do more re­search , even if they ul­ti­mately rely on con­ven­tional chan­nels for pur­chase.

What dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing trends have posed the most chal­lenges and how has your team ad­dressed this?

A com­mon find­ing be­tween dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and con­ven­tional chan­nels is that con­sumers are will­ing and in­deed pre­fer to buy more prod­ucts from com­pa­nies that they trust and that can make the pur­chase ex­pe­ri­ence easy and con­ve­nient for them. Whilst most com­pa­nies are able to give that level of ad­vi­sory ser­vice at the time of ac­quir­ing a cus­tomer, the chal­lenge re­mains in pro­vid­ing the same level of ser­vice at re­newal or ma­tu­rity as the cus­tomers’ needs change over their life cy­cle. At ACE Jerneh, we have de­vel­oped pro­cesses that demon­strate our in­ter­est in re­tain­ing our cus­tomers’ busi­ness while we make rel­e­vant and ap­pro­pri­ate sug­ges­tions about other prod­ucts that would be ap­pro­pri­ate to our cus­tomers’ needs. We are also lev­er­ag­ing data an­a­lyt­ics across our touch-points to en­sure we stay on the pulse of our cus­tomers’ re­quire­ments and pref­er­ences.

Tell us what’s in store for the fu­ture of con­sumer in­sur­ance.

There isn’t any one the­ory which will de­ter­mine the fu­ture of con­sumer in­sur­ance busi­ness. The con­sumers’ needs will con­tinue to evolve in terms of their prod­uct re­quire­ment, how they pur­chase it and how they wish to be ser­viced. With tech­nol­ogy play­ing a vi­tal role, lis­ten­ing to the voice of the cus­tomer is still the most fun­da­men­tal as­pect in driv­ing con­sumer in­sur­ance. I be­lieve that by get­ting the cus­tomer in­ter­ac­tion right, whether on or off-line, there is op­por­tu­nity to do a bet­ter job of at­tract­ing cus­tomers, re­tain­ing them and ul­ti­mately cre­at­ing loy­alty. The fu­ture of con­sumer in­sur­ance will hinge on con­tin­u­ing to gain deeper in­sights into con­sumer be­hav­ior and get­ting a bet­ter sense of what drives their de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

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