Today each customer needs a context-content-media combination for the relevant message: Manish Dubey, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance

Amidst the ongoing pandemic, Manish Dubey from ICICI Prudential Life Insurance sheds light on the evolving consumer trends in the digital world, the role of influencers, and the tech-savvy millennials in the new normal.

As ICICI Prudential Life Insurance completes 20 years in the industry, Manish Dubey, the Chief Marketing Officer from the brand takes us through some interesting insights and behind the minds of the millennials and Gen Z consumers for the brand, the relevance of digital in today’s age and time, influencer and marketing strategy on the road to 2021.


What is it that the millennial expects from BFSI brands? Decode an average Gen Z BFSI consumer for us

The millennials are the first digital native generation. Their savings and consumption habits have shown a marked departure from previous generations given the exposure to a growing economy. Therefore BFSI brands play an important role in their lives. With newer habits, come newer expectations.

Whether it is loans, payments, purchases, offers, or insurance, millennials want all services to be fast and convenient, offering added value. They prefer brands that can offer these through digital mediums.

Gen Z is at the next level in their digital lives. As the first cashless generation, they are rapidly shifting away from physical modes of financial transactions. Having been born in a world that has seen a lot of digital disruption, they have experienced only the digital version of many services. They are social media, UPI, and App citizens.

Together, these two consumer segments are the most technologically savvy, socially aware and significant economic forces of our times. Since they are technologically progressive, they also have very little patience for anything other than a seamless and immersive digital experience.

In such a scenario, brands need to adapt to their needs in a big way. At ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, we are continuously responding to the changing needs of our young customers. Our aim has been to serve each need of the customer by taking steps to facilitate digital purchasing and servicing. Our website is mobile-first and we have enabled 24X7 digital servicing options.

Our endeavor has been to connect better through new-age and relevant content on social and professional networking sites, influencer platforms, review sites, news, business, and finance portals.

Creating awareness, curiosity & leads in Millennial – how can it be done?

Millennial customers are very tech and time savvy in their marketing content consumption.

Their online consumption behavior includes gaming, social media, OTT, hobby content, networking, and other digital platforms.

While their diversified presence makes it challenging to reach them, holding their attention is another leg of the challenge. Research suggests their average attention span has reduced from 12 to 8 seconds. For brands to stay relevant and create higher recall, it is important to engage and connect with them in the most contextual way.

When it comes to their information search, the young shoppers does not depend only on brand speak. Reviews and ratings have become an influential part of a millennial customer’s purchase journey.

This makes it important for a brand to have a positive online footprint across review platforms. Relevant and trendy content on social networking sites, review sites, Q & A platforms, OTTs, news, and finance sites helps in keeping them engaged and interested.

Effective use of influencers to put across the brand’s messages also helps a lot in creating awareness and interest.

Use of AI, VR & other technology in marketing to Gen Z. What works best?

We are living in the times of relevant customization.

Today, each customer needs a context-content-media combination that is unique to them and brings the most relevant message.

Modern marketing has evolved to facilitate many of these. While the journey of technology-based personalization is still evolving, we have progressed significantly in the last few years.

There is no one technology that works best. I am of the view that technology is the vehicle to deliver value to the customer. We have been using various digital technologies to make our marketing more powerful. Our machine learning models help score leads on a real-time basis. We have also invested in speech recognition and conversational AI tools to serve the digital customer better. As marketers, we are open to using all forms of technology to reach out to the millennials.

While Influencer Marketing is a great way to reach out to millennials is it a suitable fit for BFSI brands? Why?

For brands wanting to reach out to Gen Z and millennials, it is important to understand what this generation actually cares about, where do they spend most of their time and who do they trust.

A larger portion of younger population follow influencers.

Influencers are a strategic way to reach these young customers, as they tend to turn to social media to learn about new products and trust these groups of people.

The BFSI sector especially has a huge responsibility to stay transparent and establish trust amongst its customers. Based on this insight, we create content with influencers that is reliable and which resonates well with customers.

We also reach out to a wider set of audience by creating content in the native language of customers thereby helping us stay connected and relevant in the most natural way.

This increases reach, builds trust, and helps maintain a positive online footprint.

Also read: Marketing condoms in India is a tricky business: Joy Chatterjee, Mankind Pharma

How does your recent campaign cater to the Gen Z needs? Explain the objective-result fit

The pandemic has brought about a change in the outlook of the younger population towards health and security. It has resulted in a positive change in their sentiment towards life insurance.

Customers are inquiring and wanting to know more about life insurance which is reflected in their online search behavior.

They are looking out for comprehensive life insurance plans which meet their expectations and provides them with multiple benefits.

The idea behind our recent campaign was to communicate to customers why our offerings are ideal for them. It also puts across the idea that while they are doing a lot to protect themselves in the present, during these testing times, they should also think about safeguarding their future. The campaign has been designed to keep their behavioral changes in mind as well as our larger goal of serving the customer’s needs by being the brand they can trust in these uncertain times.

Making BFSI trendy – how can this be achieved? What does the brand do to achieve this?

Today, any category needs to be relevant and trendy to find favour with younger customers. The more the brand offerings fit into the lifestyle of the millennial customer, the faster it will get their preference. One thing that I can share about our practices is that we are always in touch with our customers and listen to them carefully.

Continuous engagement through digital mediums and ensuring that our communication with them is two-way enables us to understand what our customers are thinking, their behavior, and the latest trends impacting them.

With the increased use of analytics, we constantly monitor data and try to gather relevant insights from it. These insights help us in aligning our communication to our customers’ needs and help us engage with them in a contextual and relevant manner.

From the time we started in the last 20 years, the customer has evolved a lot. Our initial campaign of Sindoor was one of the first ad campaigns in the industry. From then on, we have constantly been at the forefront of branding in the BFSI sector. Chintamani, Jeetey Raho, Retire from work-not life, Achche Bandeh have been some of the iconic campaigns in the category.

Over the years, we have attempted in innovating and adapting our marketing program to the changing customer needs and the journey continues.

From the days of the speed talking disclaimer in ads to now celebs sitting on benches and selling BFSI brands – how has marketing in the BFSI sector changed or evolved with time, especially in 2020?

Change in customer needs and trends along with technological advancements have been few of the most disruptive factors over the years. With the advent of technology, people are now more aware and consequently are expecting a lot more from brands. They prefer and choose brands that they trust and have had a good experience with them in the past.

Services in general and financial services in particular have the power to convert customer intent into action. It is possible to deliver the product and the experience digitally. This is the area where marketing has seen a lot of progress over the years.

Customer interaction with brands is now moving from physical channels to digital and phygital (combining the convenience of digital with the trust of the human factor) ones. This evolution got accelerated during 2020 where no-contact services became very important. Accordingly, our communication and services became even more focused towards the digital medium.

While the medium of interaction has moved towards digital, the fundamentals of trust and reliability have become even more important.

During 2020, we saw customers moving to trusted brands as they sought quality and assurance. Marketing in BFSI is evolving to now deliver the fundamental values of trust, quality, and assurance through no-contact digital mediums. On our part, we have been taking steps to help people cope with the pandemic and the uncertainty that it has brought along. 

Based on our philosophy of customer-first, personalisation and customisation have been given utmost importance. We believe, it is important to communicate to our customers through messages delivered at the right time, on the right medium through the right channels.

There is an emphasis on communicating messages by keeping it short and simple thereby explaining products as easily as possible, without making it too complex. To ensure this, we send out multi-lingual communication makes it easy for customers to relate to and consume.

To sum up, the key lies in understanding customers and gaining their trust first, to create and reinforce a positive customer experience. The idea being — create compelling messages that speak to our customers and that can be delivered at a mass scale in an empathetic manner. It is important to convey to customers that we understand their needs, their emotions and are there with them at all times.