By Robert Dixon
Some 86 percent of insurance chief executive officers plan to increase their investments in technology this year, consulting firm PwC (formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers) noted in its most recent report on the state of the industry. It’s a fair bet that some of that funding will be used to upgrade marketing systems.
Internet-based insurance providers are creating headaches for their traditional peers. In cyberspace, product information is readily available and quotes are generated almost instantaneously. Internet-based companies are taking advantage of disruptive technologies like mobile devices, big data analysis and the phenomenon of conversations about nearly everything migrating to social media.
“Big data and other new analytical developments offer significant opportunities to enhance customer profiling, targeting and the tailoring of products,” PwC said in its 16th annual insurance survey report. ”But they could also open the door to social media, telecom firms and other new competitors. More than 40 percent of insurance CEOs are concerned about the threat from new market entrants.”
To help insurance providers get back in the game, remain competitive and reach out to a younger market that's connected but less aware of insurance products, companies like TIE Kinetix are stepping up with cutting-edge, cloud-based marketing technologies.
The advantages of using cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions are clear, Brian Tervo, chief operating officer at Kinetics, said in an interview with InsuranceNewsNet. Companies can pilot and implement the latest marketing programs without having to rip out or make significant changes to existing IT systems. It can be faster and less costly than implementing a system that involves installing new hardware and programs and training internal IT staff before rolling it out to users.
TIE Kinetics (the “TIE” is an acronym for “total integrated e-commerce”) provides customized marketing, e-commerce and business integration solutions to a number of insurance companies, Tervo said.
Some 87 percent of insurance CEOs are planning to increase engagement with users of social media, according to PwC’s industry report, “Dealing with Disruption.” SaaS-based content syndication solutions enable insurance companies to deliver personalized web, e-mail and social media campaigns either directly to customers and prospects or through intermediary websites.
The marketing automation allows insurers to control, track and analyze how their brand is communicated across all channels, minimizing time-to-market and aiding in customized content delivery.
TIE Kinetics specializes in content syndication solutions – essentially, the ability to distribute e-mail, collateral and Web content to a network of users. Last fall, it acquired European business intelligence consulting firm Ascention. Business intelligence is not new to the insurance industry, but Tervo believes the combination of marketing technology and business intelligence is “very interesting” to the insurance industry. It enables users to “push out content with their brand and marry it to a digital profile [of the customer], combining the two to create highly personalized messages,” he said.
Syndication enables the insurer to provide content to agents in the field, enabling them, in turn, to push relevant information to their customers in the time and manner that best suits their needs.
One current TIE Kinetics customer uses the system to provide microsites to thousands of strategic partners and agents, Tervo said.
TIE Kinetics’ programs can be extended to social media and mobile platforms as well, Tervo said. Instead of one company Facebook page, collateral and content can be pushed to “thousands of agents with their own pages that reach customers in their own way.”
Analytics included in the program make it possible for an agent to see a prospect’s profile needs and recommended insurance solutions, and present them on a tablet or mobile device.
The insurance industry is facing accelerating changes in customer expectations, customer profiling, product design and distribution, PwC said in its report. Marketing automation is one place to which companies will turn for answers.
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