The entire marketing organization will need to become much more agile.
Insurers are responding to consumers’ changing behaviors and needs by rapidly developing and introducing new products. However, the marketing organization often struggles to keep up because it is bogged down by systemic complexity that has built up over time. Marketing not only needs to evolve its operations to work within the agile product development life cycle, it also needs to change how it executes. In short, the marketing organization has to become much more agile itself.
Agile marketing: At a basic level, agile marketing is a rapid-iteration process designed to provide more frequent, more relevant and highly measurable marketing programs. In practice, agile marketing applies proven methodologies from software development (e.g., scrum, lean and kanban), focusing the work scope on a small team and collapsing planning and execution cycles. When a marketing organization embraces agile, it can maximize the impact of analytics, creative, content, campaign and other resources — which were likely already functioning in a shared services capacity — by reorganizing those large teams into small “pods” that can act more nimbly and develop more-innovative ways to enhance the customer experience.
Agile campaign development: An agile model can significantly cut campaign development and execution time by making campaigns more adaptable to changing customer behaviors via real-time insights and iterative solutions.
Traditional marketing: Campaign design is typically a long, complex process involving multiple teams that come together to create a concept, develop the creative and content, and execute the campaign across the channels it is designed for. The length of time it takes to get a campaign off the ground can be problematic when an organization is trying to capitalize on time-sensitive, fast-moving opportunities. Furthermore, once a campaign is in flight, it is typically difficult to change, which spells trouble if the campaign is not meeting expectations. Even if it could be altered, marketers generally are not aware that the campaign needs refinement until it is too late: data on campaign performance does not make it to them until after the campaign has mostly run its course.
Marketing needs to forge stronger connections with the sales organization.
The marketing and sales organizations effectively have the same ultimate goal — to generate more customers and revenue for their company. Thus, they should be tightly integrated throughout the customer journey. Specifically, marketing should work closely with the sales team up front to find buyers and determine the best ways to initiate contact based on the strengths of the relationships. It should also equip the sales team with the insights, gleaned from progressive engagement with potential buyers, on what is important to those buyers.
Customer relationship management: Sales teams often lack insights on specific prospects who are drawn to the company by campaigns and other efforts led by marketing. For digital marketing to ultimately drive revenue, the insights from that engagement must make it to the salespeople so they can continue the conversation — rather than simply having an abrupt handoff of leads from marketing to sales.
One way to do so is to connect sales teams to the customer relationship management (CRM) system, which can be used to mine all the intelligence that marketing has collected on specific prospects over time and personalize interactions. Marketing content: Marketing also should give sales teams easy access to turnkey marketing content it develops and work closely with them to help put that content, through targeted campaigns, in the hands of sales’ key customers and prospects — tweaking and refining content as necessary to ensure it meets salespeople’s needs.
Marketing may even consider connecting sales to other relevant third-party content using artificial intelligence and other tools By collaborating in this way, marketing and sales are best positioned to jointly empower an insurer’s agents by providing insights about prospects — their specific insurance needs, what they want from a provider and how they prefer to engage with the company —and providing robust and relevant marketing content that positions them as thought leaders in their field— something that is becoming increasingly important to consumers looking for guidance when considering more complex products. They can even launch, monitor and run highly personalized social media and mobile advertising campaigns for agents.
Another benefit of a tight marketing and sales collaboration is that it shines a light on marketing’s value to the company. By helping salespeople and agents run campaigns at a more targeted level — by specific customer or account lists, region or territory — marketing can connect what it does to revenue and thus demonstrate the ROI it generates. In other words, with no abrupt handoff of a lead from marketing to sales, insurers can track the ultimate impact of its digital marketing efforts.