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Just-in-Time Marketing: Bolstering the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Your Insurance Marketing Strategy


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Most insurance marketers acknowledge they’re not able to deliver the right messages to the right customers at the right times. The result is wasted investment and ineffective marketing. As this new report explains, just-in-time marketing can fix this. It examines why just-in-time marketers outperform those using conventional marketing practices. It’s not that they spend more on analytics or digital – their operating model and skills mix are different.

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Just-in-Time Marketing: Bolstering the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Your Insurance Marketing Strategy

  1. 1. Just-in-Time-Marketing Bolstering the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Your Insurance Marketing Strategy
  2. 2. 2 A wide chasm stretches between insurers’ growth goals and their marketing executives’ confidence in hitting those targets. Growth has always been a top priority for carriers, but only about half of their chief marketing officers (CMOs) believe they can meet their growth objectives, according to Accenture research.1 How can insurers bridge that span? Just-in-time (JiT) marketers in various industries around the world are demonstrating how: by eliminating wasteful and ineffective marketing practices, creating customer opportunities and shaping the customer experience. These marketers focus on the right kind of investment tradeoffs, principally by using the most appropriate channels to reach in-market consumers—those who are most likely to make a purchase soon. These consumers are offered the products and services they desire at an attractive price, thereby meeting or exceeding their demands and expectations. As a result, JiT marketers’ revenue growth is significantly out-performing their peers’. As Accenture explains in its survey report, Building the Just-in-Time Marketing Organization, JiT marketers—unlike their peers—have abandoned three main tenets of conventional marketing wisdom. These are the same tenets that largely guide insurance marketers: The greater the marketing investment, the greater the consumer awareness and interest of the offering will be. There are limited opportunities to engage with consumers. The marketing function is limited to a tactical and supportive role for its organization’s lines of business. Before spending, study where an investment would create the greatest incremental value. This includes understanding and accepting when an audience is too broad to justify an investment. Create opportunities and constantly remain relevant by considering consumers’ needs and activities. JiT marketers drive and shape the evolving customer experience across channels and offerings by taking a leadership role within the enterprise. Conventional marketing tenets JiT marketing tenets Introduction
  3. 3. 3 With their updated set of marketing principles, JiT marketers differentiate themselves from their peers by: • Collecting and interpreting actionable consumer data to plan and execute effective marketing strategies. • Establishing the marketing capabilities needed to optimally communicate and execute their value propositions. • Making their organizations more agile than competitors’ by executing a marketing mix that tailors value propositions at the right time and price to reach only the most likely in-market consumers through channels they prefer. Among JiT marketers across all industries worldwide, more than 60 percent are very satisfied with their ability to target only in-market customers, and a similar number are very satisfied with their ability to deliver the right message at the right time, Accenture research shows. In comparison, approximately 40 percent of non-JiT marketers globally feel the same on both counts. Looking specifically at insurance marketers, the findings are similar.2 In the evolving, increasingly digital consumer marketplace, the JiT approach significantly improves marketers’ odds of providing a superior consumer experience and meeting and exceeding consumers’ increasingly liquid expectations and demands. A by-product of the digital marketplace, consumer expectations increasingly are becoming liquid, seeping over from one industry to entirely different industries. The impact that the JiT approach has had on its converts’ growth is eye-opening. Across all industries, these marketers report significantly higher growth rates than their peers: JiT marketers were at least three times likelier than their peers to realize annual growth rates of at least 26 percent in both the past year and past three years.3
  4. 4. 4 To appreciate why CMOs at some companies have been comfortable adopting the JiT approach, insurers need only examine their own marketplace. Accenture’s 2016 JiT survey4 found that only 17 percent of all consumers reached across all channels through the conventional marketing approach were in-market customers. As a result, only about one-third—36 percent—of insurance marketing executives were very satisfied with the value-for-money of their marketing efforts. It’s also not difficult to understand why only 53 percent of insurance marketing executives—less than in any other surveyed industry—felt assured they could meet the performance objectives of their organizations.5 The evolution of the overall consumer marketplace over the past decade is the main cause of the short reach of conventional marketing practices. Today’s marketplace has been transformed in part by an effect that Accenture calls Big Bang Disruption: Existing products and services are becoming outdated and even obsolete faster than ever as newer, differentiated, customized and cheaper offerings explode into the marketplace. This trend extends into the insurance industry with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT). In the past 12 months, there has been a two- to three-fold increase in the number of IoT-related products, services and pilots focused on homes and buildings, health and fitness, and other wearables.6 Hardly surprising, in the wake of this accelerated competitor-driven obsolescence, is that customers’ brand loyalty is waning: 56 percent of consumers report that the number of brands they consider before making a purchase has increased significantly over the past 10 years. In addition, 46 percent say they are more likely to switch providers today than they were a decade ago.7 All of this means that consumers have grown accustomed to the newer, differentiated, customized and cheaper offerings that the transformed market is making available. The new consumer marketplace
  5. 5. 5 The agility of JiT marketers allows them to negotiate the evolved marketplace environment remarkably well. They are more focused on, and adept at, reaching the right consumers through the most appropriate channels—particularly digital, but most importantly the channels that customers prefer—with messages that resonate and are most opportunely timed. When they proactively engage customers, JiT marketers deliver content that is relevant, meaningful, and compelling on a real-time basis to respond to customers’ changing demands and liquid expectations. These high-growth companies understand that today’s digital customer expects a relevant and appealing experience at all times and across all channels. Among all industries, 89 percent of high-growth companies are focused on the importance of the customer experience, compared to only 60 percent of low-growth companies. At 69 percent of high- growth companies, the customer experience is the number one recipient of investments out of 26 options, while the same is true at only 40 percent of low-growth companies.8 It’s not that the JiT marketing function has different building blocks than the conventional marketing function. All have the same elements associated with organization, processes, information and technology. And, notably, JiT marketers’ capabilities are not a function of spending more on analytics or digital than their peers. Indeed, Accenture research shows that their analytics spend is about the same: 25 percent of their marketing budgets. This applies across industries as well as to insurance. What’s more, while all of those groups are expected to increase their analytics budget allocations over the next three years, JiT marketers expect to increase their commitment slightly less. Similarly, the average of JiT marketers’ digital sales as a percentage of their total sales is slightly greater than the global average and even further ahead of their peers’ and the insurance industry’s. In three years, however, the percentage for all four groups likely will increase and reach nearly identical levels. In marketing activities such as customer acquisition, customer retention and deepening customer relationships, the average degree of digitization varies only marginally when JiT marketers are compared with their peers, the insurance industry and the global average. It ranges between 50 and 60 percent for all of those groups in all three categories.9 But despite the similarities among these groups in their core investments and digitization, JiT marketers have notably different operating models compared to conventional marketers. One important point of differentiation is that JiT marketers do not isolate their digital marketing efforts from the rest of their marketing organization. For example, they do not set up separate dedicated teams for mobile, social, analytics or the digital customer experience. Instead, they unify their digital and traditional strategic initiatives and execution. Fifty- eight percent of JiT marketers described their digital and traditional marketing initiatives as “very highly integrated,” while only 19 percent of their peers using conventional marketing practices reported the same.10 The success of that integration depends on establishing the appropriate marketing operating model with the appropriate mix of digital and analytics skills. It’s an important point of differentiation between JiT and conventional marketers that, research shows, does not typically involve additional investment. JiT marketers embed What JiT marketers do better
  6. 6. 6 people with these talents in all their marketing teams, regardless of whether those teams focus on specific campaigns, customer segments or product or service categories. JiT marketers also embed dedicated centers of excellence to make digital and analytics capabilities readily available in all of their marketing strategies and programs. Notably, many insurers lack the required competencies to transform into digitally mature organizations. A Forrester Consulting study, conducted on behalf of Accenture Interactive, found that only 9 percent of insurance digital- experience decision makers believe they are exceeding their customers’ expectations. That indicates very few insurers believe they have mastered digital to a point of differentiation from their competitors.11 JiT and conventional marketers also manage their technology investments differently. Fifty-six percent of JiT marketers said they independently choose or invest in their IT solutions, while only 14 percent of their more traditional peers reported the same. This independence could be a reflection of the more collaborative relationship between JiT CMOs and chief information officers. This relationship generally works best when the marketing function is able to define and communicate its requirements to the IT function, which then has the option of either delivering within an agreed timeframe or allowing marketing to directly meet those requirements elsewhere.12 Significantly, many Accenture survey respondents cited a lack of the right technology for the job as a major barrier to managing their marketing investments more effectively and efficiently. The above survey findings suggest that a too- rigid technology infrastructure could be among the problems they face, along with a legacy infrastructure, insufficient IT know-how to deliver against business needs, and a lack of resource capacity and competency. The Forrester study shows that a minority of insurance marketing respondents “completely agree” that they have the technology (38 percent), the operational processes (25 percent), and the organization (30 percent) to execute their digital strategies effectively.13
  7. 7. 7 To fully support a shift to JiT marketing and deliver a differentiated customer experience, insurers would need to develop several competencies. They should: 1. Invest in data platforms that capture and leverage information across all customer touchpoints. 2. Build actionable customer segments and extract insights from them to inform a go-to-market approach. 3. Enable real-time, on-demand personalization and customization of content that is contextually relevant. The execution will differ for direct-to-consumer and agent intermediary models. 4. Deploy channel capabilities that support customization of modular content. This is content that can be easily tailored based on customer-specific information, such as purchase intent, online behavior, sentiments, product mix and market competitive dynamics. Again, execution will have to vary depending on the insurer’s distribution model. 5. Integrate with partners that will provide access and knowledge to an in-market audience; deliver, augment, or expand the insurer’s offerings; and provide new capabilities or new- to-market innovations. Participating in this ecosystem will make insurance solutions more compelling and play a more active and engaging role in customers’ lives. 6. Develop an integrated and balanced customer- centric operating model, which would enable all of the above. (That model would require insurers to take several measures – see Elements of the Operating Model For Just-in-Time Marketers on page 8). All of this means that the insurance marketing function has to move beyond providing only a tactical and supportive role to its organization’s lines of business. CMOs will need to drive and shape evolving customer experiences across channels and offerings by taking a leadership role within the enterprise. Supporting JiT marketing
  8. 8. 8 To fully support a shift to just-in-time marketing, insurers should implement an integrated and balanced customer-centric operating model. To that end, they must: • Focus equally on the tailored solutions that address customers’ needs, passions and interests in a contextually relevant manner, and on the evolution and competitiveness of insurance products and services. Issuers have traditionally focused more on the product and less on the customer. • Develop an integrated go-to-market strategy from demand generation to closing the sale. Insurers typically develop and manage marketing and sales strategies in silos. • Develop a geographically integrated marketing and sales strategy. These programs should be aligned at the national, regional, and local levels. Some local marketing programs are not coordinated or supported by the broader national marketing efforts. • Achieve cross-channel integration of marketing and sales channels. Some insurers execute digital marketing efforts outside of the marketing function, leading to sub-optimal performance and higher costs. Elements of the operating model for JiT marketers
  9. 9. There are no easy fixes for eliminating the waste inherent in the conventional marketing approach. But that should not delay insurer CMOs a moment from beginning to build a JiT marketing function. Research shows that competent JiT marketers help enterprises reach their growth goals by engaging only in-market consumers with relevant messages at just the right moment, significantly reducing the substantial waste and ineffectiveness common in conventional marketing. Beyond a significant increase in cost-efficiency and effectiveness, JiT marketing also should provide customers a more delightful experience. Those hidden values should add up to a sustainable competitive advantage. To build this marketplace advantage, insurer CMOs will need to take a leading role in reshaping the marketing function. Analytics and digital capabilities must be integrated throughout the marketing function. Marketing and sales strategies must be coordinated geographically and across all channels. And the marketing function must be able to help shape and inform the technology spend needed to accomplish all this. Companies in various industries across the globe have generated far greater growth than their peers by adopting a JiT marketing approach. Insurers can, too. Conclusion 9
  10. 10. Copyright © 2016 Accenture All rights reserved. Accenture, its logo, and High Performance Delivered are trademarks of Accenture. About Accenture Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With approximately 373,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at Contact the Authors To learn more about how Accenture can help your organization, please contact the authors: Author Julio J. Rivera Senior Principle, Global Marketing Transformation Lead, Accenture Financial Services Distribution and Marketing Contributing Author Josh B. Bellin Research fellow, Accenture Institute for High Performance Join the Conversation accentureins accenture-insurance References 1 The Digital Insurer—CMOs: Time for digital transformation. Baiju Hah, Glen Hartman and Brian Whipple. Accenture. 2 Building the Just-in-Time Marketing Organization. Joshua Bellin and Paul F. Nunes. Accenture Institute for High Performance. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid. 5 The Digital Insurer—CMOs: Time for digital transformation. Baiju Hah, Glen Hartman and Brian Whipple. Accenture. 6 Accenture Distribution and Agency Management Survey | Reimagining Insurance Distribution. Erik Sandquist, Jean-Francois Gasc and Robert Sollmann. Accenture. 7 U.S. “Switching Economy” Up 29 Percent since 2010 as Companies Struggle to Keep Up with the Nonstop Customer. Jan. 21, 2015. Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Research. 8 The Digital Insurer—CMOs: Time for digital transformation. Baiju Hah, Glen Hartman and Brian Whipple. Accenture. 9 Building the Just-in-Time Marketing Organization. Joshua Bellin and Paul F. Nunes. Accenture Institute for High Performance. 10 Ibid. 11 Digital Transformation In The Age Of The Customer: A Spotlight On Insurance. November 2015. Forrester Consulting, commissioned by Accenture Interactive. 12 Building the Just-in-Time Marketing Organization. Joshua Bellin and Paul F. Nunes. Accenture Institute for High Performance. 13 Digital Transformation In The Age Of The Customer: A Spotlight On Insurance. November 2015. Forrester Consulting, commissioned by Accenture Interactive. This document is produced by consultants at Accenture as general guidance. It is not intended to provide specific advice on your circumstances. If you require advice or further details on any matters referred to, please contact your Accenture representative.