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Transformational Thinking in Insurance Marketing

Sam Medina
Insurance Experts' Forum, April 3, 2014

Transformational thinking isn’t just about ‘intelligent thoughts’. It is about converting transformational concepts into practical steps that will accomplish real enterprise transformations. (For a good definition of transformational thinking vs. legacy thinking, see my first blog.) This week we focus on how insurance marketing efforts have to transform to add value.

Insurers know that growth in revenues, profits and market share are dependent on their ability to attract and retain customers, increase the speed to market of new products and services, and excel in product and channel management. They also know that today’s consumers utilize more powerful devices and are digitally connected, with greater access to product comparisons and reviews. Most insurers grasp that the emergence of new technologies and the impact of social media has given birth to insurance digital marketing.

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Insurance Digital Marketing

A new era of consumerism will require new marketing strategies. Insurance marketing professionals will need to develop digital marketing strategies that include data gathering from real-time monitoring of blogs, news, tweets and other social media. They will need to leverage that data using predictive and prescriptive analytics and visualization tools. On top of that, they will benefit from incorporating the latest research on consumer attributes, propensity to buy, and decision-making patterns. They will need to solicit information from product development teams, underwriters, and sales and distribution teams on product and service performance to identify trends within their current offerings.

Leading insurers are already taking advantage of telematics devices, data capture from ‘always on’ devices, mobile tools for their sales teams, and changes to their processes and systems that will enable them to increase the number of product launches in shorter timeframes. They are seeking new business models that will take advantage of how business will be transacted in the digital future where ‘everyone’ is connected. However, developing a digital marketing strategy is not an easy task.  To be comprehensive and yet actionable, it will have to be developed from a transformational thinking perspective. A comprehensive strategy will require comprehensive input from several functional areas in an insurance organization – specifically: Product Development, Customer Service, Underwriting and Actuarial Services, Claims, Operations and Information Technology.

Transformational Thinking

Insurers need to shift towards transformational thinking with respect to insurance marketing.  The initial steps to do this are as follows:

Reject these ideas:

Don’t think small enhancements or step-by-step refinements to existing marketing processes will address the fast-changing dynamics of the insurance industry and how business will be transacted in the future.

Accept these ideas:

According to recent studies, there are as many as 12 billion connected devices, with 3 billion more people soon to be connected by smartphones in India, China and Indonesia. Payments conducted via mobile devices will soon reach and surpass $1 trillion per year.

Insurance marketing professionals who can truly help their company succeed are those who can master the science and art of data gathering, conversion to information, and distribution to where information can be put into action.

Creating and implementing a digital marketing strategy is a major transformation program and, is inevitably, a strategic initiative requiring the right kind of cross-departmental push.

Lead with these ideas:

Start with a single, executive sponsor. Create collaboration with several functional areas to drive a customer-focused culture across the company. Include the following items in your marketing strategy:

•    A consumer decision map (see below)

•    A marketing approach map tied to the decision map

•    An information distribution map that will enable the sharing of information across the company in real time

 A consumer decision map

Map a consumer’s decision-making process from being a prospect to becoming a customer. Do this for every target market and target client segment. A simple example would look something like this:

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Mapping the marketing approach to the decision process

For every step of the decision-making process, create a marketing approach and identify the subject matter experts needed and technologies that can be leveraged to influence the decision.  For example:

•    Leverage mobile devices, and social media data gathering and leveraging tools, predictive and prescriptive analytics in steps (a) through (d) described earlier.
•    For step (e), leverage mobile applications to deliver virtual education and training to both consumers and sales teams; and create virtual insurance advisors that a consumer can access online.

•    Provide data visualization and decision-making tools to both consumers and sales professionals to assist in steps (f) and (g). Utilize different approaches for complex products that require consultative selling by a sales professional vs. products that consumers can self-purchase.

•    Work in close collaboration with Underwriting and Actuarial Services, Customer Service, Claims, Operations and Information Technology to create customer-focused systems of engagement for steps (h) through (k).

Completing the cycle is best accomplished through an information distribution map that will enable the sharing of information across the company in real time so that institutional learning and valuable trend tracking is a continuous source of fuel for growth.

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About the Author
Sam Medina is a global business transformation executive at TCS, who specializes in advising insurance and healthcare executives on transformational thinking and leadership.

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