- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

Insurance Digital Marketing: Data Primacy, Channel Challenges

There is conflicting evidence about the current value/importance of digital or data-driven marketing for insurance. However, there seems to be consensus on a few elements: Data comprise the currency, and Channel assumptions will be challenged.

Our questions: How well prepared is the insurance industry for changes that are coming in data driven marketing? How well prepared do you feel you are?

The Conflicting Evidence

In her recent post on Social Media (SM) and Insurance Brokerages, Catherine Kargas, VP at MARCON, noted that there is increasing evidence  that members of the general public are continuing to sign up for and use social media. As a result,  marketers are  following suit, using the various social media for marketing.

However, Kargas raises several cautionary notes:  First, the majority of SM users are passive, only looking, but not adding their individual content.  Second, Kargas cites a recent survey that found “44% of SM users ‘are less enthusiastic today than they were 12 months ago’. The reasons: lack of novelty, privacy issues, and realization that online friends are not ‘real friends’.”

Data As Royalty

In spite of these conflicts, marketers are demonstrating that SM data, combined with internal data, are critical to service the new customer.

This blog has devoted a fair amount of attention to data, big data, and analytics for two simple reason:

  1. Practitioners from marketing, claims, and underwriting are demanding more and better information to survive and, perhaps, thrive, in a very competitive market (see, e.g., Analytics Investment Increasing for Business Generally, Insurers Specifically).
  2. Customers are coming to expect their service providers will learn their preferences in order to serve them better, along the lines of Amazon (see, e.g., Consumerization of Insurance and IT: Who Are Your Role Models?)

Commentators are suggesting that we must learn how to integrate data to create real information in real time.  Eric Openshaw, vice chairman and U.S. technology, media and telecommunications leader at Deloitte, noted in a recent InformationWeek column that SM monitoring tools can be most effective when they are used to integrate external (SM) and internal data to provide operational ‘flow’ metrics which “can help managers not only anticipate operating performance — and in turn financial performance — but also help them take corrective action.”

 Challenge to Channels

SM do not form a new channel. Rather, they comprise a vehicle that the consumer uses which challenge previous assumptions about existing channels.

John Lee, SVP of the Insurance & Wealth Management Practice at Merkle, customer relationship marketing agency, writing in Insurance&Technology, noted that consumers are coming to expect that insurers will understand channel context and respond appropriately.  In April, we blogged on this phenomenon, quoting Matt Lehman, mobile business leader Progressive Insurance:  “As we build out certain (on-line) capabilities, clearly we are looking for those to be channel agnostic. When you look at the servicing and claims’ capabilities … we want those to be available to all customers regardless of how they choose to work with us.”

Where Does This Take Us?

Lee concludes his post by saying: “Many of the key ingredients of our traditional marketing solutions are still present in today’s marketing solutions. We have not left one world and ventured into a completely new world. We are just in a place where we must be able to react to larger data volumes, anonymous identities and immediate interactions.”

No small task.

Our questions to you:  How prepared is the Canadian insurance community to react? And, if you are willing to answer, how prepared are you?