Data and Audience
Start thinking about marketing and audience strategies in terms of end-consumer preferences and build campaigns around data-centric insights.
The pandemic has created some steep challenges for the insurance industry. It’s nearly impossible to say which challenges are temporary or which are likely to linger and have a ripple effect in the years to come. What we do know is that Deloitte research found that 48 percent percent of insurance executive respondents said the pandemic “showed how unprepared our business was to weather this economic storm,” while only 25 percent agreed their companies had “a clear vision and action plan to maintain operational and financial resilience” during the pandemic. As it stands, carriers are in a make-or-break moment to reenergize growth and profitability as we look to turn the corner on COVID-19.
In an industry beset by consistently low pre-pandemic interest rates, the last year offered even more setbacks. A surge in interruption claims and increased credit risk, added pressure on sales due to reduced activity, and the disappearance of face-to-face channels were all issues that drove the industry into a panic. As the race to normalcy comes into view, the ever-evolving needs of policy-holders have to be top-of-mind, as will achieving the best understanding of prospects
Marketers need to be nimble, but the industry’s hopes of a fast recovery may be tied to its inability to produce results when compared to other industries that have embraced data-backed processes and technology. For companies marketing today, and investing in growth strategies, they’re woefully behind the times. That problem primarily boils down to a lack of quality data.
Getting Data In Order
Out of all the forward-looking companies looking for a competitive edge, now is the perfect time for carriers to review their data strategies to engage with consumers. The first — and perhaps most important — step in creating personalized and connected customer experiences now is to strengthen the focus on first-party data.
Carriers have first-party data just like most businesses. But there’s currently far too much untapped value and analysis that needs to be gleaned from this type of key policy-holder information.
What’s worse, while they have access to that data within the walls of their organization, carriers don’t have the ability to get after that data as quickly as other, potentially external solutions can. Despite the forced rapid digitization of insurance companies wrought by the pandemic, anachronistic processes still comprise the foundation of the industry. Entrenched, legacy systems mean they may have tons and tons of data, but it’s very siloed, not agile, and produces disjointed insights at a time where when successful campaigns are imperative.
To meet personalization demands while emerging from the pandemic with customer-first growth strategies in mind, carriers must be willing to use as much data as can be available to them for a competitive advantage. Yet to make use of such a valuable commodity, insurers need to pin down what they want to use data for and how to make that data functional.
Getting a specific view of a specific customer with relevancy and speed means getting first-party data to be able to put it to good use in areas like cross-selling and reducing churn to improve retention. The insights gleaned from robust first-party data can then be appended and enriched with third-party data from a variety of sources to both achieve a complete view of current policy-holders, but also connect with prospects through advanced data modeling and personalized campaigns.
The combination of sources should form the foundation of all forward-thinking marketing programs. Without this crucial step, carriers won’t be able to give policyholders the solutions they need to help them wherever they are in their journey.
Insurance marketers continue to struggle with how to use data and how to truly understand what they can gain from it. While siloes persist, and the industry as a whole has been slow to adapt, the pre-and-current pandemic reality will force carriers to migrate to data-backed, omnichannel strategies out of necessity. There’s no going back now. The battle for customers is always ongoing, and the smart carriers will be the ones that harness technology to smartly utilize data.
To combat these main problems:
- First-party data is living in disparate, siloed systems
- There is a lack of data governance strategy
- There is an inability to make data functional
Carriers must take the following actions:
- Identify the sources of first-party data within your organization, where they are stored and who owns them.
- Look for areas of overlap and work with key stakeholders to determine parent/child relationships where a single source of truth exists for each type of first-party data
- Audit the data for gaps and accuracy by engaging a third-party data source to verify and augment where possible
- Review privacy laws such as the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) and the General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR) in the European Union for compliance and ensure internal teams are trained
- Start thinking about marketing and audience strategies in terms of end-consumer preferences and build campaigns around data-centric insights.
- Engage outside consultants or service providers for help if needed.