Travel sector specialist World Wide Internet Insurance Services (WWIIS) recently announced its investment in marketing automation technology from Force24. But what prompted the decision, what are the goals of such a tool and how could this type of martech change the face of the wider insurance sector? Martech Advisor spoke to the company’s Head of Marketing Tom Dean to find out more…
Very few organisations stand still in the modern business environment, irrespective of the sector. In the world of travel insurance, change is certainly happening at a significant – and almost relentless – rate. The reasons for this are, naturally, multifaceted. But evolving consumer expectations, without doubt, have a huge role to play.
Insurance comparison sites have presented a whole new level of price-competitiveness – not to mention an extremely popular route to market. This means consumers now demand immediacy, affordability and access to insurance like never before, even if this is to the detriment of the cover they really need.
Many brands have taken steps to combat this, by offering attractive discounted premiums for customers that either buy direct and/or are new to the provider – the latter, a technique commonly rolled out across various industries. But this does nothing to safeguard satisfaction levels of existing customers and it doesn’t encourage brand loyalty either.
The introduction of a dedicated loyalty programme was therefore something that, as an organisation, we hoped would shake up what had grown to become the insurance norm. It was obvious that the programme would have to be multichannel to reflect customers’ varying behaviour and communication preferences. And, given the very individualised nature of someone’s loyalty status, all comms would need to be highly personalised. A golfing enthusiast should receive messaging – and rewards – relevant to that holiday-type, for example.
However, it was also acknowledged that campaigns like this naturally create high levels of administration, not to mention a wealth of upfront awareness-raising effort. This was therefore one of the key drivers for an investment in intuitive marketing technology that could help automate the process.
Of course, the benefits of automation extend beyond this specific scenario – not least adherence to evolving data protection legislation (providing a compliant partner is found!)
The important thing to realise too, is that martech helps facilitate processes beyond the realms of marketing. Yes, it aids mass communication on a seemingly personalised and humanised level. And it can uncover engagement statistics and other metrics that fuel data-driven decision making – and therefore more meaningful conversations – moving forward. In an era of machine learning, there should be no need for guesswork.
But the benefits of more considered lifecycle conversations extend further, particularly in the insurance sector. From multi-trip policies, to gadget cover and anniversary purchases, the tech can encompass everything. The transactional side of things may admittedly sound less exciting, but insurance providers are here to provide a service that is fit-for-purpose. Part of this service provision is ensuring it’s as simple as possible to access policy details and make a claim, in the event that help is required.
The industry has, unfortunately, evolved to the point that it has a stereotype for being faceless, and some would argue cut-throat. But this shouldn’t be the case. Many insurance brands do have a sense of purpose, however they need to better communicate that ‘soul’ to customers, for the benefit of reputation and the bottom line alike.
The key is to find martech that is configurable, quick to deploy and easy to use. Ideally, given the size of insurance firms’ databases, brands should secure a fixed monthly fee, even for the distribution of several hundreds of thousands of emails. If the platform is to govern all communications activity, it is also important that it can send transactional information and marketing campaigns from a single source, to ensure the delivery of policy-specific details even if a customer unsubscribes from wider promotional correspondence.
Some insurance teams will have their own in-house marketers who can bring their comms strategies to life with the help of automation – their goal is simply to use the tech to make their job quicker and slicker. Others will need the help of the martech vendor’s creative teams, to ramp up their lead nurturing and customer loyalty efforts. But this is not a ‘one size fits all’ industry after all.