REPOST: Originally posted in The Intersection, the Insurance-Canada blog here
Data and Personalization: How Brokers Can Drive Value With Customer Marketing
It’s no secret marketing has evolved. Thanks to the digital revolution that’s been under way for over 10 years, marketing’s ability to impact and influence audiences has never been greater. Marketing now has the tools to reach and address leads and customers across the entire buying journey: from initial awareness of your company, products and services to active sales opportunities, through to in-life customer communications.
The Broker Value Proposition
When it comes to customer communications, Brokers have always played a critical role in cutting through insurance complexities and in our current situation they are needed more than ever. Historically though, customer communications haven’t necessarily been seen as a marketing function nor a driver of growth. One of many lessons learned from COVID-19 is that a strong customer communication plan is, in fact, a critical part of a successful marketing plan. By leveraging data for personalization and message relevance, customer marketing can drive value for the Insured and growth for the Broker.
The COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted the need to share information quickly and accurately. Critical bulletins deployed over the last few months included carrier updates, policy changes, weather alerts, promotion of a new application or service tool, internal information and, of course, pandemic related customer service information. Brokers are often reluctant to execute this type of strategy for fear of sending a wrong message due to missing or inaccurate data nor do they want to risk appearing cold and impersonal. However, Brokers do have the necessary data within their BMS to create a warm and personalized message. Simple things, like using the Insured’s first name and signing it from their producer or CSR are a great way to start. Geography, Insurance Product, or other Broker defined elements, like VIP customers, can be used to either tailor the message even more, or include or exclude people (for example, those who prefer a phone call). Using these subtle tactics can drive up digital engagement rates above 50% per bulletin and around 90% over the course of a year.
Cross Sell Strategies
Providing customers with trusted advice on additional coverage (that is tailored to their needs) is a win/win situation. Using digital cross sell strategies, the Insured receives a personalized recommendation for coverage driven by their trusted Brokers’ knowledge of their existing policies and current needs, And the Broker deepens the breadth and depth of the customers’ risk portfolio making their relationship stronger and stickier. Yet, cross selling is rarely prioritized even in good times as CSR’s are so busy, or lack the skills to properly introduce the subject to customer conversations. A successful campaign must be data driven and digitally enabled; BMS data can be used to identify and create segments such as monoline policy holders or business lines customers without cyber coverage. A digital platform enables a personalized multi-step communication stream with customer and sender information, and content and creative to showcase the relevance of the product to the customer.
Traditional cross sell initiatives rarely provide producers with access to reporting to verify if the conversation is even occurring. The right digital platform will make reporting on outbound messaging all the way through to quote and bind rates readily available.
A significant part of a broker’s job is to offer choice and check for the best coverages at the best price upon renewal. However, the renewal review is a time intensive task. A data driven and technology enabled renewal strategy ensures that every customer receives a renewal notice well before their policy is due, using a segmentation strategy triggered by effective date and customized by policy type. Personalized details such as policy number, renewal date and CSR contact information easily included in the emails facilitate the renewal process. For commercial policies where company changes such as employee size, sales volume and location must first be recorded, these same platforms can capture the data and use it to personalize the communication flow. This drives efficiencies and value for both the insured and Broker. And with options including coverage-linked images to text based emails, Brokers can set the right tone to engage with all different types of customers.
A renewed focus on customer marketing presents a great opportunity for brokers. Data enables them to segment on many levels and deliver personalized and hyper relevant information. And, when supported by the right marketing platform, brokers can do more and better for less – driving true value with customer marketing.