April 14, 2015
From Marketing Myths to Truths
by Amy Radin
Five marketing myths are preventing insurers from adjusting to technological disruption and the new buying behaviors of Millennials.
No insurance executive in touch with the marketplace would deny that traditional distribution is no longer a reliable way to deliver dependable sales and enduring customer relationships. The adviser-based model is under threat in most sector categories. Why? There are many reasons, but two at the top of the list are:
- Customers are changing – the Millennial generation shops and buys differently than their Boomer parents, and even Boomer habits and expectations are changing in the digital world.
- Technology has disrupted the distribution model, as it has disrupted everything else in its wake – the experiences, access, transparency, ability to compare and socialize at any moment from any location – dislodging practices that were deeply rooted for decades.
As a result, carriers are being forced to recast not only distribution itself, but also the entire ecosystem that enables distribution to do its job:
- Product – must be simpler, understandable to the average person and offering a real benefit worth the price
- Service – must be always available, accurate and helpful
- Channels – must be consistent on all dimensions – as a client, I want to feel I am dealing with the same company wherever I go looking for you, whether online, on the phone or in person
- Underwriting – must use data in ways that are respectful and pass the test of being reasonable in the client’s eyes
Perhaps most of all, insurers must put aside marketing myths and see marketing as more than an optional cost center that puts sponsorships in place, designs product brochures, supports trade show presence and runs advertising campaigns.
Marketing done right can become the function that unifies your business around the client, and fuels answers to these critical questions:
- Whom do you really want to have as your customers?
- What are their needs, both emotional and rational?
- What are the ways you can meet those needs?
- And how can you do so better than competition, within a good economic and risk structure?
The insurance industry seems to live by a series of unfortunate beliefs about what marketing is and what it is not. These marketing myths stand in the way of putting the huge potential of this function to work to meet your business goals.
To enable marketing to have the impact on your business that it can have, put these myths aside and empower a capable team to help drive growth.
|Marketing Myths||Marketing Truths|
|“Brand” and “advertising” are synonymous.||Brand defines what your company stands for and connects people in ways that help them see you as relevant in their lives … leading to purchase and loyalty. Everything you do is a manifestation of your brand, whether or not you advertise.|
|Marketing is a cost center.||Marketing is an investment. Marketing is a leader in creating profitable and persistent revenue growth, by helping to identify the right customers, gather their needs and provide direction to the organization on how to fulfill those needs.|
|Marketing people are creative types, not business people.||Yes, as in every business function, creativity is demanded. But marketing today is a technology-driven function and drives P&L, so a close partnership between internal tech professionals and external providers is a must.|
|Product builds, distribution sells, marketing supports.||Insurance is an experience business. It’s not just about policy bells and whistles, it’s about the end-to-end experience of engaging with your brand from pre-sale to post-sale to continuing servicing and claims. This means internal silos must be eradicated and collaboration must be a defining attribute of your culture, or your customer will feel the negative effects of self-imposed internal barriers.|
|Marketing decisions are made on gut.||Marketing is a data-driven discipline, requiring a special mix of talent and skills to get the right data and use it to create customer experiences that will drive business results.|