January is a month full of predictions and dire warnings… and while not wanting to just jump on the bandwagon, there are a few key marketing strategies that will be essential for any company to embrace in order to succeed in our hypercompetitive world. Brokers, Carriers and MGAs who are willing and ready to make these changes have an excellent opportunity to really differentiate themselves from their competitors so many of whom continue to operate in the same way they have for years.

  1. Real Referrals. 2018 was the year of fake news and as a result, we are now far less trustful of what we read – unless it comes from someone we know or a truly reliable source. In fact, people are 4x more likely to buy a product or service when referred by a friend and 84% of people surveyed said that this was the MOST trustworthy source of recommendations (Nielsen). So why aren’t brands using referral marketing more often? One answer is that it can be a lot of work to follow up with every satisfied customer and ask for a referral. The better answer is that for companies without a marketing automation platform it can be a big effort. Brokers who will succeed with word of mouth marketing from their satisfied clients will have referral marketing as a critical aspect of their marketing strategy, implemented via a platform that makes enables this process to be largely automated, repeated and measured.

  2. Personalized Content. This has been a hot trend for a while, yet consumers still don’t feel brands are getting it right. Either there is not enough personalization (adding a first name is NOT true personalization) or consumers feel an invasion of privacy (remarketing on every web visit for days on end). Yet, 31% of consumers still say they wish their shopping experience was more personalized (Infosys) and 57% say they are willing to provide personal data in exchange for that relevant and customized experience (Salesforce). Challenges such as having the right data, access to it, plus a platform that allows for a strategic application of personalization at a mass scale are what hold most companies back.  The insurance industry has many advantages as they have relevant customer data on their policyholders stored in their own BMS’s. Building a plan of how to use the data to better serve their customers for renewals, policy updates and cross-selling and pulling actionable data into a marketing platform will provide them with a scalable way of delivering the personalization their clients are looking for.

  3. Removing Internal Silos. When consumers look at companies, they see one single brand. They don’t understand why customer service doesn’t have access to sales history and why account managers can’t see the record of service calls. And telling customers that the departments don’t use the same systems only serves to increase the frustration, potentially to the point of risk. An integral aspect of digital transformation is breaking down these barriers, sharing data and aligning towards common and unifying corporate and customer experience goals. (Mercury) Brokers who use a single system of record with a data strategy and governance adopted by all teams can significantly reduce customer churn. And best practice use of a CRM, BMS (and blockchain in the not-so-far-away-future) will not only deliver on delighting customers but will improve operational efficiency and reduce costs.

 

2019 is shaping up to be an exciting year. I am looking forward to seeing who will make take advantage of these game changers!

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