Growing up, one of my favorite fairytales was “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” There’s something about the personification of the bears that has stayed with me through the years: “Someone’s been sitting in my chair,” growled Papa Bear. And the way Goldilocks quickly navigates the chairs, the bowls of porridge and the beds of Mama, Papa and Baby Bear until she gets to the one that’s “just right” provides an important lesson to all of us struggling with big data.

Marketing and selling life insurance is a lot like this fairytale, or at least it is in my mind. Life insurers have so much information about customers and prospects and are constantly trying to find the right combination of data elements to make campaigns effective. In the world of big data, sometimes less is more, and better is bigger than big, but — at the end of the day — what truly matters is the connection you establish with your customer with data that is “just right.”

In addition to collecting more information, life insurers need to connect and analyze the data they have available to better know, understand and anticipate their customer’s actions. Today, more meaningful connections require high octane data — a fuel that provides insight, relevancy, timeliness and respect for privacy. By high octane fuel, I’m referring to data that feeds all marketing decision-making — data that is accurate and truly multidimensional, from multiple sources and channels, to create and maintain holistic relationships, especially with your best customers.

Just like Goldilocks, sometimes you have to experiment to find out what’s too hot or too cold or too big for you. But once you’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t, you’ll be able to go straight to what’s “just right” and reap the benefits of it.

As an example, we already know Gen Y consumers are an attractive segment for needing life insurance. They have purchasing power predicted to surpass that of Baby Boomers by 2017. There are specific reasons why these consumers may actually have a more acute need for life insurance than their parents and grandparents. Applying the right data elements can help you find this audience and their channel preference. It can also help you develop messaging relevant to the audience’s high levels of college debt, parenthood status, and the need to support their parents in retirement — all considerable factors that may lead them to purchase life insurance.

Consumers today have nearly unlimited choices and information. They are now more empowered to engage with brands when and where they want to. Marketing’s job is to help facilitate that process, which leads me to my conclusion.

If I were to re-write the ending of Goldilocks, the bears wouldn’t be upset about all the mess the young wanderer had made in their home. Goldilocks would awaken to the three bears, not screaming, but smiling. Of course, I’d allow her to go back to her own home, but she would have returned to visit the bears and built a lasting relationship with them — a relationship where she brings them porridge and they prepare it just the way she likes it,  and then they all sit comfortably at the table together and enjoy the camaraderie. The end.

Chew on that … before your competitors do.

 

For more from Rose Cahill, see:

Life insurers: Don’t forget the ladies

The data deluge: Can you handle it?

Giving thanks … and some advice