March 9, 2020 by Robyn Croll, VP, Goose Digital
Brokers seeking growth during the hard market should explore using digital solutions to help drive additional revenue from existing customers.
Cross-selling products to ensure customers are properly covered, automating renewal communications to maximize retention, or marketing a self-service app are all examples of marketing to drive growth, increase retention and optimize efficiencies. Yet, most brokers are not currently investing deeply into customer marketing programs. Of those that are, few are doing so in a proactive and planned way necessary to realize their full potential.
Data, strategy and technology are key to unlocking this potential. They are also often the main reasons why brokers don’t have these types of campaigns in-market. Let’s take a closer look at each.
The key to success lies in leveraging broker management system (BMS) data, powered by a well-planned strategy and the right technology. BMS data can drive many marketing initiatives, enabling campaigns to reach the right audience, with the right cadence, and with the right message. In most instances, email will be the channel of choice; effective emails rely on relevant and personalized messaging.
For example, using a customer or business name allows for personalized subject and address lines. Segmenting by policy type enables relevant cross- sells and upsells. Triggering messages based on expiry date powers renewal flows at a cadence relevant to the individual and their coverage. Occupation, business type, or geography help tighten value propositions around specific benefits. Using an assigned producer or CSR as the sender or signatory makes the overall message that much more personalized.
Customers expect this level of personalization from their brokers. However, accessing the right data is challenging. Most brokers don’t end up pursuing these marketing initiatives as a result. Those who do are able to connect with audiences better, leading to revenue growth and improved customer satisfaction.
Successful marketing initiatives require a good strategy. For customer marketing, that means identifying opportunities focused on growth, retention and improving internal efficiencies, and tying them back to key performance indicators that measure outcome and business impact.
Will a monoline cross-sell campaign bring in more revenue than marketing cyber products to commercial customers? Does an automated renewal flow free up more internal resources than increased adoption of a self-serve portal? Planning how the programs will be deployed, managed and measured requires careful consideration. The right blend of knowledge and experience is crucial to success.
The primary role and expertise of a broker is managing risk. Building a marketing strategy can be daunting and time-consuming. Put these two realities together, and that often results in customer marketing initiatives falling to the bottom of a broker’s priority list. Frequently, such initiatives aren’t even implemented.
Brokers with a strategy-driven approach, however, are able to prioritize initiatives, create roadmaps, and prepare long-term direction for campaigns. They also work more efficiently when tackling complex projects. Strong strategies dictate tools and tactics.
Having a data plan and a strategy is half the battle. The next challenge becomes figuring out how to build, execute, monitor and measure an effective, professional and efficient marketing plan. That’s where marketing automation platforms (MAPs) come in.
Best of breed MAPs integrate BMS data to power campaigns with personalization and segmentation. The platforms maximize efficiencies with automated nurture campaigns, which enable follow-up emails to non-openers of cross-sell campaigns, right-timed reminders for renewal flows, and multiple benefit-driven emails to drive self-service portal usage, among other things. They also help with inbox placement (or email deliverability) and adherence to best email practices such as compliance to Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) and subscription management.
Many brokers are unfamiliar with the power of MAPs and aren’t aware of their potential to drive growth (along with awareness, lead generation, lead management and more) without adding resources. The promise of marketing automation is to help do more with less. This is a must-have technology.
Brokers who understand the need to integrate data, strategy and best-of- breed technology platforms are more likely to realize the growth potential with their existing customers. Increasingly, they are partnering with vendors who bring the required expertise to the table to bring their marketing strategies to life.
Predictions for the hard market continue through 2020, but it won’t last forever. Brokers who are taking this year to build a foundation for growth, retention and internal efficiencies will be far ahead of the game compared to their competitors when it’s ‘go time.’
Robyn Croll leads the customer insights and data analytics practice at Goose Digital, a full-service digital marketing and marketing automation agency specializing in the insurance industry.