In the not-too-distant past, marketing was about passion, creativity, and being louder than your competitors. Now, it’s more customer-centric than ever. Marketers must keep up with demands from today’s empowered consumers, who know what they want and don’t skimp on demands. But from a marketing standpoint, it’s difficult to truly engage consumers without knowing their preferred communication channels. Relevant lead generation — the right message delivered in the right channel — has become the gold standard for success.

It’s a fact that most marketers spend the bulk of their effort and budget on the acquisition of new customers. They become obsessed with searching for new lists, new methods, new segments and even new vendors to help them reach new people who will raise their hands and show interest in their products and services. However, once acquired, or not, they move on to the next lead. Remember: selling life insurance involves emotions. When a life insurance marketer is only concerned about the next lead and not what additional needs their existing customers or previous hand raisers might have, they miss a prime opportunity to drill down, build quality relationships and uncover potential revenues through up-sell and cross-sell opportunities

As evidenced by Acxiom’s Consumer Dynamics study, “Life Insurance Marketing at the Crossroads,” the life industry remains a laggard in its use of digital marketing as an additional channel for consumer engagement. Without the proper tools, it’s quite possible to send a 45-year-old married father with four children and a 19-year-old, single co-ed the exact same message: “You need life insurance!” That’s easy enough, and yes, you just might convert them both (unlikely), but at what cost? They are obviously at different life stages and have different responsibilities that demand different offers. Delivering irrelevant messages is not just a bad idea; it can harm your brand. For this very reason, it’s important to ditch those traditional broadcasting tactics and focus on narrowcasting. All it takes is a well thought-out, strategic approach to using sophisticated marketing automation solutions, and life insurance marketers can unlock new growth opportunities with their own database of customers and prospects.

Start where you are

Just 32% of senior marketers know how their customers behave across channels, even when studies show that multichannel buyers are four to five times more profitable. These statistics prove you’re not alone in needing to restructure your marketing efforts around your customers, but you want to make sure you gain a competitive advantage when you do so.

To maximize the effectiveness of each customer’s lifecycle stage from attraction through acquisition, retention and optimization, I’ve added a graphic below to help tell the story:

 

Customer Lifecycle

 

Life marketers need to improve their spheres of understanding of customers, their location on the continuum and their activity. An example of this is when a prospect you are trying to attract searches and finds your insurance web site, browses product information, but then abandons the process before taking action. Should you treat this customer as a loss? Or trigger a message that tries to win them back by offering additional information or an opportunity to talk to someone knowledgeable either online, on the phone or in person? To acquire them, you must not only attract them, you must engage with them. But your efforts shouldn’t stop there either. To keep your customer loyal and happy, you need to focus on retaining them and growing their business as their needs change over time.

Multichannel behavior is increasingly prevalent, and it is problematic for marketers who view their efforts from a single-channel perspective. Understanding the time, location, the device of the consumers’ choice and their preferences for when they check messages all plays a key role in sending the right message at the right time, which will trigger engagement.

From this point forward, change your mindset from just acquiring customers to building relationships throughout the customer lifecycle. You understand that there is a story behind each and every person, even after you’ve acquired them as customers. Capitalize on all six lifecycle strategies: attract, engage, acquire, as well as retain, grow, and optimize. No more stop signs after acquire!

Review your current marketing plan to see what kind of multidimensional insight you’re gathering from customers. If you only have demographic information, you’re more than likely only sending a semi-relevant message. How will you know that Karen, who purchased a life policy when she was 23 and single, is now a divorced mother with three children? A deeper profile, interaction history, media and channel preferences will guarantee your customers and prospects are receiving only information that should be of interest to them. Relevant, engaging content and offers will retain, grow and optimize your customers’ business.

As you advance in your knowledge of automated practices, you’ll learn how to correlate consumer behavior with marketing/advertising across channels and integrate customer touch points. This will help ensure that you build quality relationships with your customers and prospects and spend the time and money investing in high-value relationships.

 

For more from Rose Cahill, see:

Individual Insurance Provides Independence to Today’s Workers

Appeal to Dad’s Protector Instinct

Help Your Customers “Dust Off” Their Life Insurance Policies