Brian Tervo is president and CEO of TIE Kinetix, North America
Quick, name the best known insurance carriers on the market today. Are Progressive, GEICO and Aflac the first that come to mind? That’s no accident. These ‘new kids on the block’ have gone to great lengths to make their companies household names.
In addition to flashy TV ads featuring geckos and ducks, these companies are also taking advantage of key disruptive technologies—mobile, telematics, social media—that lure business away from the likes of older and more established insurers. As such, the current state of the insurance market is in flux for many carriers.
One of the drivers behind the market shift is the ever-changing digital landscape. It is more common now than ever for customers to shop for insurance products and services online and quickly switch to carriers that deliver the most enjoyable digital user experience balanced with a manageable price. This gives the advantage to the customers, allowing them to shop around and compare prices more easily, which naturally leads to more churn and instability for the carrier. Thus, those providers that heavily invest in digital media are in a commanding position to increase market share.
For carriers that are slower to the digital game, customer retention and acquisition currently hangs in the balance. The time has come for insurers to react to opportunities and threats quickly, rather than surrender to their ‘business as usual’ routine, risking customer loss and drops in revenue. If the above description sounds all too familiar, take a look at the recipe below and follow it closely to help you stay ahead of the game.
Begin with Rich Digital Content
Traditional insurance carriers usually have an enormous amount of rich content assets sitting on the “virtual shelf space” of their own websites, but unfortunately, this content does not appear where it needs to be—on your agent and affiliate websites where prospective customers are orienting themselves to your products and services. These same content assets can be easily made available and fully integrated into a content syndication platform and reassembled into microsites, campaigns, and other digital promotions that can be instantly converted to drive traffic, leads, and optimize sales processes right at the agent website—without any large investments and time in distributing and managing content with partners. Content syndication providers are experts in crafting micro-digital content spaces with your existing content streams and placing them in consumer channels that drive conversion.
Stir in a Content Syndication Base
Think about it: distributing digital content, collateral, and other key selling assets through agents and brokers is difficult, time consuming, and expensive. But, with SaaS-based content syndication solutions, insurance carriers can seamlessly deliver personalized campaigns, assets and tools to an intermediary partner’s website. This type of marketing automation allows insurers to control, track and analyze exactly how their brand is communicated through the channel.
Imagine sending over 25,000 customized messages a month while also continually acquiring new customers and developing marketing materials – staff and budgets can get overwhelmed quickly. Content syndication can help make the most of a limited budget by minimizing time to market and offering carriers access to new sources of revenue and information. As a result, carriers can enhance both the brick-and-mortar and digital consumer experience.
Insurance carriers leverage social channels to create dialogue that informs and communicates to consumer channels, yet it’s a constant struggle to personalize messages and localize content that brings the agent community into the conversation. Social syndication solutions push your targeted content through local intermediaries and stimulate interaction directly with the consumer without alienating your partners. Messages and conversions on content can be tracked by the carrier, which benefits the agent through increased mindshare, opportunity and leads.
Sprinkle in a Dash of Analytics
Once you have a content syndication strategy in place, it’s time to optimize it for performance—this is where analytics comes in. Using the analytics dashboard that comes with many content syndication solution packages, digital strategy, marketing, and management departments are able to directly analyze consumer behavior and adjust business strategy in real-time. With some agent and broker communities numbering well into the thousands, SaaS solutions can effectively unlock big data by using business intelligence and data collection tools that, if purchased separately, would quickly break any operating budget. SaaS customers benefit by using a “share” of the combined technology, delivery services, security, uptime, and expertise at only a fraction of the expense (yet still derive all the benefits).
Season with the Cloud
Carriers selling through intermediaries that are looking to update their digital strategy need to find the quickest, most effective path to success. In the past, that journey began in the IT department. Now, with the growth of SaaS solutions, decision makers are able to focus on strategy and precision by leveraging marketing solutions in the cloud. This takes the pressure off IT and streamlines the technological landscape.
Cloud solutions dramatically cut expenses and processing time when crunching and interpreting enterprise level data. This gives decision makers information in minutes rather than days. The cloud also removes impediments that block traditional insurance providers from combining the local and digital experience, such as information silos, differences in technologies, processes, and expertise. SaaS solution providers are able to connect disparate systems and employ agile software delivery methods, providing the insurer with more time to focus on enhancing timeliness and effectiveness.
Now that the recipe is out there, it’s up to insurance carriers to close the technology gap and regain market share with digital “shelf-ready” SaaS solutions that can help them focus on their business, stay ahead of the curve and concentrate on the bottom line. We’ve already seen how successfully these marketing, business intelligence, and integration solutions have been deployed by some of the more savvy insurers. Traditional carriers can make themselves more marketable as well—making it easier to keep up with the GEICOs and Aflacs of the world. Best of luck during your digital content into ‘dough.’