Tag Archives: digital marketing

Integrity First: Digital Marketing Manifesto

Insurers have one asset that is first among equals, that is too rare to risk and too rich to easily replace, that is too abstract for actuaries to calculate and too valuable to actualize with numbers alone, as if an extra comma here and another zero there can create worth without effort—if insurers look beyond their respective balance sheets, they may see the result of centuries of history, laws and tradition. They should see that there is no substitute for integrity.

Insurers should also know, and I am here to tell them for the first time or however many times it takes, that the wrong digital marketing campaign can ruin what they cannot recover: their livelihoods, their fortunes and their sacred honor.

Dramatic words, but a truthful description just the same.

Melodramatic words, too, but a nonetheless accurate account of the damage that the inexperienced can cause, that the incompetent can sow, that the inept can spread in seconds.

That insurers can be so cavalier about digital marketing, when they are otherwise so conservative about how they do business, must no longer be standard operating procedure.

See also: 5 Accelerating Trends in Digital Marketing  

According to Erez Kanaan, founder and president of Kanaan & Co., digital marketing must never be the domain of the novice and a means to deter clients from asking questions. He says:

“Digital marketing is a ‘science’ to the extent that we can measure the efficacy of keywords, ads and website traffic, among other things. Overall, however, digital marketing is more of an art than a science. It has the veneer of science, but it requires the soul of an artist to craft a message that resonates with a specific audience.”

I agree with that comment, not because I think it is right, but because I know it is; because there is too much junk online; because there is too much noise in almost every medium; because there is a surplus of mediocrity and a scarcity of excellence, from the ads we see (and do not read) to the posts, tweets, texts and alerts we have to see before we can see what we want.

Insurers need to accept these facts.

More importantly, insurers have to act in accordance with these facts. They must not compromise what they can control, only to lose control over how they present themselves and how clients perceive them.

Digital marketing, then, is a power that belongs to the few—that should be the property of the talented few whose work is as exceptional as the work ethic of each designer, writer, advertiser and SEO specialist, for whom it is a privilege to be a digital marketer.

See also: 5 Digital Predictions for Agents in 2019  

Call it a service by the few for the good of the many. Call it a service that exists, but one that must expand so we can render the unprofessional unacceptable and the unethical extinct. Call it a digital marketing policy for insurers and policyholders alike.

Call it a new chapter in the union between insurers and digital marketers.

Digital Distribution in Life Insurance

It’s not news that today’s consumer has high expectations when it comes to the buying experience and customer support – and this certainly includes the purchase of insurance. As the industry landscape grows more competitive and new players enter the field, insurers need to set themselves apart now more than ever.

A better experience for the customer throughout the process can help insurers grow business volume and lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. While digital innovation within insurance distribution offers the opportunity for insurers to meet the rising bar of customer expectations, as an industry insurance is late to the game when it comes to digital marketing.

To gain an understanding of the level of education and capabilities in digital marketing within the insurance space, RGAX fielded a survey among small-to-medium-sized U.S. insurers. A summary report, “Digital Distribution: 2018 Pulse of the Industry,” features key findings that provide a snapshot of both the current digital marketing environment and future investments planned among insurers.

See also: Digital Innovation in Life Insurance  

How far have we progressed?

If you’re facing challenges when it comes to implementing a digital marketing program, you are not alone:

  • 43% of respondents stated that their level of education on digital marketing capabilities was “some/little”; 11% reported having no education.
  • 64% of survey respondents reported that they have “some/little” overall capabilities for digital marketing; 11% said capabilities were “non-existent.”

What’s standing in the way?

According to respondents, top challenges to incorporate digital marketing to improve customer experience include: lack of resources, lack of expertise, organizational challenges and lack of strategy.

  • 29% of respondents think it is too expensive to introduce or expand digital marketing efforts.

Where do we go from here?

The majority of respondents are currently testing direct-to-consumer digital strategies to determine the best path forward:

  • 64% reported they are currently testing digital advertising.
  • 50% are testing an online e-application journey.
  • 43% plan to begin testing digital lead generation soon (one to two years), but 32% have no such plans.

How do we get to where we want to be?

Lacking sufficient expertise or resources to build a digital marketing program alone, insurers are looking outside to bridge the gap:

  • 21% of respondents have partnerships in place with startups or external vendors to enable digital selling strategies, and an additional 43% are planning to do so.
  • 52% of companies reported partnering or using vendors to advise them on their digital marketing strategy (partners or vendors include advertising agencies, marketing firms, consultants, reinsurers, lead generation partners and tech vendors).
  • Survey results indicate that using data to enhance insurance sales strategies is an area for growth. Currently, up-selling and cross-selling was the most-used application of customer data, with 39% reporting use of this strategy; customer segmentation overall and by product was next at 36% utilization.

Find a need and fill it

No matter where your company fits within these survey results, the opportunity to catch up to or even lead the industry remains open to all. Untapped digital possibilities in insurance abound, creating space for innovators to grow.

See also: In Age of Disruption, What Is Insurance?  

Strategies to leverage data represent a clear area for improvement, with less than half of respondents using customer data for up-selling and cross-selling, models for accelerated underwriting or customer segmentation. Another area in need of development is administration capabilities, including policy e-delivery, do-it-yourself service processing and online policy transactions completed by a policyholder. And although some insurers have already adopted or are planning to adopt life and legacy planning, identity protection or wellness programs, such engagement and loyalty programs represent yet another growth opportunity.

A streamlined, tailored experience based on a true understanding of the customer journey is no longer a nice-to-have – it is a must. With help from companies like RGAX to provide guidance and support around digital marketing, insurers can define and implement their own digital marketing strategies to better reach their target customers.

5 Accelerating Trends in Digital Marketing

I recently attended the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit (#DMFSToronto). Digital leaders from Citi, Facebook, Wells Fargo, MetLife, Allstate, Salesforce and more were there talking about what is working, not working and what is coming next within digital marketing for financial services.

Five accelerating trends:

1) It’s all about the data.

It has ALWAYS been about the data in digital marketing, but now with so many advancements in programmatic advertising, real-time media buying, CRM, data lake technology and data visualization services, it’s easier than ever to track results, test, learn and optimize your marketing efforts.

Hari Pillai from Invesco spoke on a panel about a struggle many companies have — being data-rich but knowledge-poor. His keys to success were to create a strong infrastructure for your data and an API to simply and effectively leverage your data, so you know where the customer is in the journey. In his words, “Data is the secret weapon to move the customer down the journey.”

See also: Data Science: Methods Matter (Part 2)

2) Customers matter more than ever.

As we all know, the dynamic has flipped to a customer being in charge more than ever in the buying process. Fifty-seven percent of the purchase journey is done before a customer ever contacts a supplier per the CEB, so you need to listen to the key needs of your customers and figure out how to solve those needs.

Ramy Nassar from Architech had a great presentation about focusing on customer needs instead of financial products. My favorite line from his presentation was, “Think about the need, not the transaction. No one wants to buy a mortgage, they want a house.”

3) Social will soon rule the world.

The typical North American adult checks social media 17 times a day. SEVENTEEN!

Combine that with the fact that cold calling and emailing response rates are hovering around 3-4%, and millennials preference for social as the No. 1 method of contact, and social will soon be taking over as the primary communication vehicle for marketing and sales.

Any financial professional or salesperson who does not have a complete LinkedIn profile that is optimized for search will slowly begin to lose their client base.

I spoke on the value of social selling to financial institutions in this new digital world and how to use the power of social media to generate leads and sales.

See also: How to Capture Data Using Social Media

4) Wearables are not going away.

If you are looking for the next big thing, wearables are it. How long is it until our Fitbit we use on a daily basis to track our steps starts feeding that information to doctors? Insurance companies? Retail stores? It’s a matter of time until everyone knows everything about everyone else. Enjoy your 15 remaining minutes of privacy! And be prepared to have everything measured and managed in real-time.

Rachid Molinary of Banco Popular de Puerto Rico presented an informative use case on how the company quickly integrated mobile banking into wearable technology. Now you can check your BPPR account balance in a matter of seconds on your Apple Watch. What was even more impressive was the processes and systems they have put in place to bring this new tech to market in a short period of time.

See also: The Case for Connected Wearables

5) The pace of change is fast (and will get faster).

Mitch Joel gave a fantastic keynote about how fast the world is changing and how every company thinks they are being innovative. However, to truly create innovation is to “create something that the market did not know that it needed, that then becomes adopted (and paid for) in a way in which we could have never imagined our lives without it.” Not many companies are doing this today.

Erin Elofson from Facebook spoke about their roadmap and how VR is playing a huge role in their future. To get a small glimpse of the company’s VR capabilities, check out the first film shot with the new Facebook Surround 360 camera. This is just the snowflake on the tip of the iceberg.

So, how will you and your company react to this new digital world in financial services? These changes are coming sooner than anyone expected. Those that adapt quickly will thrive, those that don’t will struggle to survive.

Related articles