Opinion: Let us not sell insurance as a commodity but as a customer delight

Insurance Marketing

Vinit Kapahi, Head of Marketing, Aviva India shares how with these changing times, the ‘Spray and pray’ approach will not help in insurance marketing. He sheds light on taking a data-driven approach, to drive the marketing objective.

Life insurance is often treated as a commodity and not a basic necessity. With 27% financial literacy in the country, discussions about well-structured personal finance plans are the need of the hour. It is the role of the marketers to provide accurate and easy-to-understand information to the masses amidst the clutter of misinformation on the internet through insurance marketing, so that people may choose the right life insurance products to cover the financial risks for themselves and their family members.

As a marketer for a private life insurance company, I am passionate about understanding customer psychology and trends via technology and firsthand conversations.

My most significant learning from these conversations over the years is that consumers need to spend time understanding why they need life insurance and what kind of products suit them.

Most often, their choice of products and insurers relies on one or two factors. These factors could be a combination of premium amount, benefits offered by the plan, sum assured, and if a friend or family member endorses the product. With limited knowledge and bandwidth, they can only comprehend life insurance as a commodity, applying the principle of the lower you buy, the better off you are.

The situation puts the onus on the marketers to bridge the knowledge vacuum and empower the customers to evaluate various life insurance options as services that bring delight by providing them peace of mind, financial security, and the confidence to take significant steps in their lives.

Here’s how marketers can bring this change, especially in insurance marketing

Living The Brand Values

As per a 2021 study by the global consumer think tank IPSOS, 70% of consumers surveyed across the 25 markets agree that they tend to buy from brands that reflect their values. Therefore, brands need to have established values and use these as the elevator pitch to their audience.

Even if a potential customer is confused about which life insurance provider to choose, the best way to stand out is through your brand values and not just a policy that promises attractive money back over the years. It is also essential for the brand to take tangible action that reflects its commitment to live by its values.

At Aviva, our core values are – Care, Commitment, Community, and Confidence. We care about our customers and aim to be empathetic towards them. With Commitment, we stand up for our beliefs and aim to be an agent of change. As a community, we believe we are stronger together, and our rich legacy gives us the confidence to honour relationships with our clients and agents, and respect and understand them.

I recall the famous words of American Ad Guru William Bernbach, “You can say the right thing about a product, and nobody will listen. You’ve got to say it so people will feel it in their gut. Because if they don’t feel it, nothing will happen.”

Living by your brand value is not an event. It stands for something beyond profit as a continuous process of inner reflection and commitment.

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Personalize Customer Experience

The most challenging part about explaining the importance of financial planning and life insurance is that consumers should be able to visualize their future in the present.

Therefore, for a 23-year-old who just received their first salary, it is a hard choice to make between “Living each day as it comes” lifestyle or being frugal and buying a life insurance policy that will benefit them in the future. Similarly, for someone in their early 40s, it’s not easy to choose between a life insurance policy with a lower premium or the one with a better claim settlement ratio.

Thankfully, technology enables marketers in the life insurance space to provide a personalized experience to customers and help them overcome such dilemmas. For instance, Life Insurance companies can create an online simulation, where a person can create their digital avatars, make their financial decisions at different stages of life, and it shows them the potential outcome for each decision. Wouldn’t that be fun and educational at the same time?

At the very least, a Life Insurance provider can customize the user experience on its digital assets like websites, apps, and social media handles for customers, depending on their past relationship with the brand. For example, a new customer could go through an interactive questionnaire that helps the insurer understand his financial needs and showcase the best products from its bouquet that fulfil this need. For existing customers, timely reminders can be sent to notify them about policy renewal, provide a pre-filled interface for renewal, and suggest to them the right insurance products based on data-driven insights about their financial journey. There are many touchpoints where we can personalize the customer experience, help them learn about life insurance, and follow it up with a positive behavioural change.

Content Is A Long-Term Strategy

In the internet age, Customer Loyalty is earned through content backed by unique experiences. Therefore, content is a strategic investment for Life Insurers who face the daunting task of simplifying a complex landscape for consumers. The content strategy of a life insurance brand is the first reflection of its relationship with existing and potential customers.

Good content should adopt an empathetic, educational, positive tone, and not instil fear of potential negative consequences in the mind of the customer.

This inspires customers to engage further, explore the brand, and open an avenue for a long-term relationship. We create communication that focuses on assurance, reliability, and financial security.

With these changing times, the ‘Spray and pray’ approach will not help the marketers.

Brands can go a long way with a customer-centric marketing approach to inculcate financial literacy among the masses. They must keep a finger on the customer’s pulse and offer relevance, simplicity, and comfort with a personalized experience. It’s time to sell insurance as a customer delight rather than a commodity.

The insurance marketing article is authored by Vinit Kapahi, Head of Marketing, Aviva India, you can connect with him here.