If I’m going to be honest, change has already arrived. It never actually goes away. And LIMRA’s 2015 Annual Conference, aptly named “Pivot Point: Striking a Path for Success,” shows that the leaders of the finance and insurance industries are aware and committed to revitalizing the old-school way of business. Evolving customer relationships, disruptive technology, robo-advisors, and ever-changing political and legal environments are only a few of the changes the industry is experiencing. The organizations that will emerge victorious from this upheaval are the ones who learn from companies like Apple, Uber and Google, who embrace technology and integrate it into every element and interaction with a customer-first focus.
“No one is safe from the drumbeat of change.”
–Robert A. Kerzner, President and CEO, LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global
The industry is at a crucial pivot point indeed. One shocking statistic I learned was that only 3 in 10 consumers could recall a single insurance company. We must realize that finance and insurance companies are not only competing with others inside the industry for market share, but with every other brand for mind share. How do you stand out? How do you make the customer experience one worth remembering, worth engaging in?
The LIMRA Annual Conference is the hub of the solutions to the problems facing the finance and insurance world, where industry leaders gather to discuss, collaborate and brainstorm solutions to these very issues. A litany of insightful speakers posed questions that matter and possible answers through examples of disruption lead by our peers.
“If you have a vested interest in growth, you need to be committed to innovation.”
– Luke Williams, Professor of Innovation and Executive Director of the Berkley Entrepreneurship Center, New York University’s Stern School of Business
Committing to Innovation
By committing to innovating in the finance and insurance space, companies are committing to the customer and the future of the industry. Companies are making changes, whether it’s giving customers the ability to purchase policies at a kiosk, partnering with Fitbit to reward customers for healthy habits, or customizing your brand’s online advertising to target individual consumers in thousands of personalized ways. Some companies are embracing innovation but subsequently face a wealth of challenges in implementation.
“Playing it safe may be the riskiest strategy of all.”
– William Taylor, Co-Founder, Fast Company
Michelle Grady of MetLife and Dan Bernard of Merkle gave an insightful talk to a packed room on the addressable future of marketing. During this presentation, they pointed out five roadblocks that companies must overcome to make innovation a reality.
- Aligning your organization. What does your brand stand for? Why do your employees love to work there? Why do your customers buy from you? Understand your unique position, and align every aspect of your organization with that passion and vision.
- Coordination. Tear down the silos in your organization and empower department leaders to build solutions that range company wide. How can underwriting and legal benefit from the insights of marketing and sales, and vice versa? By encouraging communication and collaboration, a monolith can be as flexible as a startup and begin changing the world from within.
- Skill Sets. New technology and change require a new way of thinking and new skill sets. Identify those skill sets that are missing in your organization and teach your employees or create new roles to fill these knowledge gaps.
- Content is King. But when your brand has hundreds of products, thousands of customers, millions of prospective buyers who all need to receive the right content at the right time in the right space, how do you even begin? The first three steps will get you in the right direction, and creating the content should be a fun process, constantly updating, changing, learning and growing as your customers and prospects interact with your brand more readily.
- Measurement. In today’s data-driven world, analytics is key to an organization’s success or failure, and if finance and insurance companies have a wealth of anything, it’s data. By first aligning your organization and reconnecting with your brand, you will begin to see clearly the factors that need to be measured most. How your customers interact with you will determine how you continue to interact with them. Just make sure that you fill those skill set holes with people who can analyze today’s data to your advantage.
The Value of LIMRA
As a LIMRA Strategic Partner, we have worked with this great organization to help finance and insurance companies find solutions to the roadblocks that stand in the way of innovation. Until internal processes are simplified and streamlined, the buyer experience will remain convoluted, and consumers will suffer. This is just one reason why we believe so deeply in the benefit of marketing automation for companies in these industries. By simplifying, automating and personalizing the marketing machine, organizations can focus on customizing messages, hyper-targeting consumers and analyzing the mountains of data to enhance the customer lifecycle, give more people the coverage they need and deserve, and, quite simply, sell more product.
“We have a moral obligation as an industry to see as many people as possible covered by insurance.”
– Donald Guloien, President & CEO, Manulife
About The Author
Courtney Todd brings over ten years marketing and communications experience to her role at Distribion. She specializes in B2B marketing and has worked in a range of industries including technology, luxury furniture manufacturing and healthcare. She holds an MFA from Columbia University in New York and a BA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Connect with Courtney on LinkedIn and Twitter.