Best Practices for 'Trigger' Marketing

Savvy insurance marketers can wow customers and prospects with near-real-time, precisely targeted, relevant messaging thanks to an abundance of data.

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Many marketers in the insurance industry are feeling the pressure of operating in a highly competitive business environment where huge marketing and branding budgets are essential. While the industry is focused on building brand dominance through broadcast, online and print media marketing, savvy insurance marketers can wow customers and prospects with near-real-time, precisely targeted, relevant messaging thanks to an abundance of trigger and life event data.

While the availability of trigger data is immense, actually leveraging it internally, or with a partner, to obtain the greatest value can be a challenge for even the most experienced marketer. How one navigates this virtual sea of information can be the difference between success and failure.

Let’s take a look at some of the best practices that can help insurance companies build and deploy smarter, more effective trigger-marketing campaigns. 

Close the back door

In a hyper-competitive market like the insurance industry, retaining existing customers is job number one! While many consumers don’t realize they can terminate policies without waiting for a renewal date, insurance marketers know they need to be watching diligently to identify customers who may be looking to exit, regardless of where they may be in a defined coverage period.

Many companies, across all industries, use first-party data, like website traffic, demographic and CRM data, to stay on top of customers who may be shopping for new products/providers. 

Savvier marketers will take that first-party data and pair it with third-party life event triggers, as life events are often a strong motivator for consumers to upgrade existing policies or seek new insurance providers altogether. For example, consumers may increase the value of life insurance after having a baby or getting married, add a vehicle to a policy after relocating or buying or selling a home or combine policies of two individuals into one after getting married. The combination of first-party data and life event triggers offers valuable insights into customers' activities and allows identification of risks associated with these events at critical inflection points so marketers can reengage customers with a series of timely and pertinent marketing messages geared toward retaining business.

See also: The Promise of Continuous Underwriting

Triage the triggers

No two triggers are quite the same, so neither should your marketing outreach strategies. First and foremost, it is important to understand which triggers are the most immediately actionable for certain products and which triggers may have a longer marketing curve. For instance, an expectant parent trigger might be a more long-term nurturing opportunity to sell a life policy for the child or to take out a larger policy for one or both soon-to-be parents. Meanwhile, someone planning to move will have a much more urgent need that demands a much more aggressive approach. That is a bottom-of-the-funnel, top-of-the-priority-list situation. Treat the most pressing triggers immediately.

Prioritize your channels

Much like assessing the value and urgency of triggers, it’s important to do the same across multiple channels. For instance, consumers conducting early-stage product shopping may be best nurtured via programmatic display and paid social, while those indicating greater intent could be effectively reached by direct mail with the support of email and other digital media. Of course, these aren’t hard and fast rules, but assessing the mix is vital to delivering an effective, efficient omnichannel strategy.

Leverage “FOMO” in your messaging

The fear of missing out, or “FOMO,” as it applies to trigger marketing, can instill in customers a sense that perhaps they may not have made the best choice or that there is a better option. A misstep in insurance can translate into tangible – and costly – consequences for consumers, so the motivation is there to find the right partner. Marketers can develop creative ad messaging that encourages customers to question their current insurance policies and wonder ... Are they getting the best rate? Do they have the right amount of coverage? Have they engaged with a company that will support them when disaster strikes?

One word of caution as it relates to messaging around life event triggers; make your messaging targeted but not intrusive. Getting too specific can make consumers feel “Big Brother” is looking over their shoulder. Aim for relevance; We’re here for you through life’s stages. Avoid creepiness; Congratulations on your pregnancy!

Drive alignment

A strong brand is built through years of messaging. The insurance industry has some of the strongest and best-known brands and messaging in advertising and the best trigger marketing touchpoints consistently ladder up to a provider’s core principles and mission. It’s vital for insurance marketers to make sure campaign messaging lives up to a company’s bold brand identity and hits the mark with consumers’ current needs.

Team alignment matters, too. The speed and responsiveness of trigger campaigns require marketing, outside vendors and sales teammates to work in parallel to build a process that keeps communications on brand and compliant, delivering effective marketing outreach at the earliest possible opportunity to reach consumers first!

See also: 2-Speed Strategy: Optimize and Innovate

Monitor your metrics

Not only does trigger marketing provide valuable insights into consumer behaviors and trends, it’s far more quantifiable and provides faster reads than most other campaign types, making it a darling of CMOs and CFOs. The ability to drill down into conversions and revenue metrics based on consumer triggers in near real time allows marketers to make quick adjustments and finetune strategies on the fly, which enhances the likelihood of a strong ROI.

For more information, download a free copy of The Insurance Marketer’s Guide to Life Event Marketing.

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