Creating a Personalized Experience: What Insurance Marketers Need to Know about Personalized Marketing Strategies
We have good news and bad news.
The good news is that more personalization in marketing means that more policyholders will feel heard, understood and valued. Rather than being flooded with messaging that doesn’t relate to them and ads they aren’t interested in, they’ll receive marketing that is relevant to their lives. The bad news is that insurance marketers have to work harder to create personalized marketing campaigns.
Or do they? Maybe the bad news isn’t really that bad. After all, a wealth of customer information, analytical tools and marketing technology is available today to help financial institutions reach their clients with targeted messaging and flexible offers, right when clients need them.
Personalization is the future of marketing, especially in industries like insurance and financial planning. It allows insurers to better qualify and nurture prospects, all the way through the funnel. Keep reading to learn how to make sure your marketing messages don’t get lost in the shuffle.
Realize the Benefits of Personalized Marketing
Marketing campaigns that are generic, undifferentiated and impersonal aren’t good enough anymore. In today’s insurance landscape, new customers need a variety of touchpoints and campaign messages to be nudged toward engaging with a brand; existing policyholders need to hear from their insurer or financial institution at the right time and with the right messaging to remain loyal. Both audiences need personalized marketing.
Luckily, personalized experiences help companies reap major benefits, including increased customer satisfaction and retention, stronger ROI, and more opportunities for customer acquisition, upselling and cross-selling.
But personalized marketing doesn’t just appear out of thin air. A successful personalized marketing strategy requires a 360-degree view of your policyholders, allowing you to target them at the right moment with solutions to the problems that keep them up at night.
Consider this example:
A woman (let’s call her Alicia) has kept the same bundle of insurance policies for about as long as she’s had her home and car. She also has a group life insurance policy through her employer, but she never thought much about life insurance until the pandemic. Unfortunately, the last few years have been tough on Alicia and her family. She’s had to adjust her hours at work, work harder to find options for childcare and consider whether relocating to be closer to family would be a good idea. She also had a bad experience with her auto insurance company following a recent fender bender. She’s shopping around for lower rates on auto and homeowner’s insurance, as well as a supplemental life insurance policy, so she can feel more secure and spend a little less money each month. As the pandemic wanes, Alicia may also be thinking about finding a job that’s more fulfilling or buying a new home close to her aging parents.
What would it look like if Alicia’s insurer used the customer data they’ve collected to reach out to Alicia—in an empathetic, human way—and give her useful information about her policies? U.S. auto insurance customers tend to start shopping approximately 60 days before their policies expire. What if Alicia’s auto insurer sent her a letter around that 60-day mark, addressing the negative experience she had, offering a direct line to a dedicated account manager for any future issues, and offering a discount for renewing her policy early? What if Alicia received direct mail or personalized emails from insurers with relevant information about her homeowner’s policy, or about purchasing supplemental life insurance for her family? How much more effective would those marketing efforts be than a generalized marketing campaign that looks like every other insurance ad out there?
We can tell you the answer: a lot more.
Retailers provide a model for this kind of personalized strategy. They gather information around their customers’ shopping habits—their views, clicks, abandoned carts and purchases—and then kick the personalized marketing into high gear, targeting them with ads and offers based on what they’re already looking for.
Of course, retail marketing efforts aren’t always fail-safe. Too many emails or targeted SMS campaigns can begin to feel spammy, and shoppers can get turned off if they feel their customer data is being misused. However, when personalized marketing is done well, it deepens client relationships and opens the door to new opportunities.
How to Use Policyholder Data to Develop Personalized Marketing Campaigns
Financial institutions and insurance companies can utilize the information they already have on their policyholders to implement personalized marketing. Here’s how to start:
Step 1: Map out customer journeys that align with your insurance products.
Any big change in a policyholder’s life can present both challenges and opportunities for insurance marketing teams. For example, reaching out to a policyholder who is about to move or leave their existing job to start a new business can help with retention, upselling and cross-selling. Before you can determine which customer journeys to focus on, you need to understand how your policies can address clients’ unmet (and sometimes unspoken) needs. Classify the customer journeys you want to target, and then create personalized campaigns to address the pain points of those audiences, with messaging focused on benefits to the client.
Step 2: Identify customer signals you can respond to with targeted messaging.
Using technology, insurers can analyze behavioral data for key signals and create campaigns that are triggered by those signals. If policyholders visit a real-estate website, for example, or read a blog post about supplemental life insurance, those actions can trigger ads, emails and other marketing tactics that include messaging around corresponding insurance products.
Be sure to consider the best response for each trigger to optimize the customer experience. For example, a prospective client who fills out a “get more information” form on an auto insurer’s website should receive more than a generic canned email response. Instead, the form submission could trigger a personalized series of emails with key information that will nurture that lead over several days.
Step 3: Create personalized content for different channels and along different points of the customer journey
As you consider the different stages of the marketing funnel, be sure to develop additional or follow-up content to reach clients at different points of their journey and across multiple channels. A well-timed piece of direct mail, for example, may remind a client to respond to email marketing. Social media marketing that humanizes your brand while boosting your credibility may just prompt a potential customer to choose you over the other guy. As a policyholder moves from reading a blog post or exploring a landing page to requesting a quote, your messages to that client should evolve, too.
Step 4: Measure results and adjust as needed.
Executing a variety of personalized marketing campaigns allows marketers to see which techniques yield the best results. A/B testing can also help marketers fine-tune marketing messages and formulate best practices. At this stage, having the right marketing tools, as well as a team that can handle creative, analytics, and execution is crucial.
Rich Data and the Right Marketing Technology Make All the Difference
In addition to accessing quality, real-world data, financial institutions can harness the power of advanced marketing automation tools to supercharge their personalized marketing strategy.
Just having the automation technology isn’t enough, though. You may have capable analytics tools and a cloud-based automated marketing platform, but if you’re only using it to send generic marketing campaigns, it’s probably not enough.
Consider how much more effective (and cost-effective) your marketing campaigns would be if you supplied that platform with better data and a better process—one that uses campaign logic to execute targeted campaigns in response to specific customer behavior.
Marketing tech is only getting better. Newer tools like artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning are disrupting the industry, allowing insurers to sort through vast amounts of consumer data online, understand policyholders’ interests and behavior, and reach them with the information they need at just the right time.
The right partner can help you leverage the marketing technology that’s currently available.
Let FM Engage Help You Create Personalized Campaigns that Boost Brand Loyalty
Policyholders need to know that their insurers anticipate their needs, understand their concerns and can offer the right insurance solutions. Are your marketing efforts doing enough to convince them?
With today’s marketing technology and reliable data, personalized marketing is not out of reach for your brand. We can help.
As industry leaders, we have the experience and expertise to deliver an effective personalization strategy to your target consumers. The insurance industry is a crowded, competitive space. Let us help you retain existing customers, nurture leads and cross-sell new policies with personalized marketing that cuts through the noise and reaches your audience.