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A New Formula for Winning in the 2021 Insurance Market

For Insurance and Wealth Management marketers, the prevailing trends that existed before the pandemic were not sidetracked but, instead, were accelerated by an industry that took stock of the unparalleled change caused by the pandemic and generally took the opportunity to re-think strategy. This year’s Customer Experience Imperatives highlight some of the most important changes in the areas of data transformation, digital transformation and organization adaptations, each of which must be considered as essential ingredients with the others.

Transform Your Data to Achieve New Levels of Insights

Gone are the days where monolithic databases requiring six-month build timelines are at the center of your marketing strategy. Today, it's all about bringing the right data together “just in time”. This new approach can be best characterized as a data fabric that includes three primary components: data collection (such as a cloud-based data lake), identity (especially focused on zero and first-party data) and then the provisioning of that data to the necessary experience technologies or analytic environments. This new approach has been enabled by new cloud technology in the form of cloud-based environments (AWS, Google, Azure) and software-as-a-service (i.e. Salesforce, Adobe and Google). When combined with maturing AI-driven capabilities, an entirely new level of timely insights and improved attribution are the payoff. In addition, enhanced personalization that can truly move the needle on customer relationships is now realistically possible. In a world where an insurance buying signal can trigger a deluge of contact from multiple carriers, your message has to stand out. For that to happen it has to be personalized and relevant, otherwise your marketing is just noise to an overwhelmed prospect. For both digital and offline experiences, the business benefits of such capabilities at maturity are improving the percentage of known customers, increased speed to market, and essentially moving from correlation to causation.

Moving from Transactions to Conversations

With data transformation as the foundation, digital transformation is a fast follower. Digital transformation is often brought to market through the lens of customer journeys. But, if we’re honest about the journeys we create, they are often just idealized flows of how we want the customer to move through our buying process. However, true customer journeys are about outcome-based experiences based on the user’s goals and the interactions we have with them on the way to achieving their goals. To act in this more customer-centric way, journeys need to start on an audience level and be personalized at an individual level. So digital transformation relies upon data transformation, but it goes beyond data and analytics to an emotional level that helps the customer see how you can actually help them get through the insurance buying process to achieve their outcomes with a minimum of pain. We have to acknowledge that most customers don’t exactly relish the insurance buying process and act in a way that engages clients in an interactive and connected experience regardless of the channel. This requires the capability to connect the data and insights into a more experiential encounter with the brand. Content that is organized, well targeted, and delivered at the right moment is the contact point that ultimately delivers the business benefits of improved marketing metrics, increased market share, repeat purchases, and referrals from brand loyalists. At the end of the day, it's ultimately about moving from transactions to conversations.

In the coming post-pandemic marketplace, prospect and customer behaviors have changed fundamentally. As marketers we now need to find out four key things:

1. Where are the ready-to-buy customers?

2. How have their behaviors changed?

3. What do they care about?

4. How do we engage them effectively?

Organizations based in traditional siloed structures are incapable of, or at best ineffective at, answering these fundamental questions. As marketers, our relationships with prospects and customers do not exist in a vacuum. Competitors have revisited and realigned their priorities and modified their strategies in accordance with the new reality. It's critical to understand not only your own competitive advantages but the advantages of your competitors from an objective standpoint. You need to be able to interpret their strategies to assess if they present opportunities or threats. Given that, your organization must be agile, have well defined processes, and establish governance procedures that take full advantage of your current and planned capabilities. With the right organization and alignment, you'll have an ability to implement, react to the dynamic market, and have peace of mind that your strategies and tactics will have the desired business outcomes.

Taken together, these three building blocks ― a strong data foundation, digital capabilities, and organizational capabilities ― represent a trinity of what it takes for modern markers marketers to effectively compete and win in today's marketplace.

Want to learn more? Download your copy of Merkle’s 2021 Customer Experience Imperatives here.

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