Evolution of Marketing
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.