This blog is part of series exploring the nature of customer-centricity. Read the preceding blog.

I hope it’s clear that to become a customer-centric digital insurer is going to involve a significant transformation exercise. Most organizations, and certainly most insurers, just aren’t set up to deliver segmented, tailored customer experiences. A major stumbling block is the product silos that are such a feature of traditional corporates: budgets, profit and loss accounts and political power tend to be aligned with them.

Creating and then implementing a new operating model is a long-term project and one that we typically advise clients to tackle in stages as their overall strategy dictates. In line with our generic road map, though, we believe a good place to begin is by doing the basics right. (For more on this road map, read Four capabilities insurers need on the journey to digital mastery and high performance.)

In the spirit of getting the basics right, there are two very practical actions that insurers can take to kick start their journey toward customer-centricity and high performance. The first is to look at the role of the chief marketing officer (CMO). This is a role that has perhaps not been as regarded as highly as it might be and yet, in a world in which everything truly revolves around the customer, the CMO’s voice needs to have more weight.

Second, and even more important, the CMO and the CIO need to work much more closely together. If it’s true that every business is now a digital business, and if it’s true that digital insurance is all about greater customer-centricity, then the person handling the technology and the person handling the interface with customer had better be joined at the hip. Everything that marketing does nowadays, from next-generation segmentation to interacting on social platforms, relies heavily on technology.

In fact, according to Gartner, CMOs are projected to spend more on technology and analytics than CIOs by 2017.[1] Clearly, the two roles working together could go a long way toward infusing a digital and customer-centric flavor into all business processes.

However, as the 2012 Accenture Interactive CMO-CIO Insights Survey show, only 10 percent of marketing and IT executives believe that collaboration is at the right level. The research goes onto dissect the relationship, and then offers five imperatives to build trust and improvement alignment between the two functions. For more on this burning topic, read The CMO–CIO disconnect: Bridging the gap to seize the digital opportunity and The CMO-CIO alignment imperative: Driving revenue through customer relevance.

Next time, I’d like to conclude with a summary of this customer-centricity theme and offer some guidance.

[1] View the Gartner webinar.

3 responses:

  1. Wondering whether creating a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) position will lead to the same outcomes as better CMO/CIO alignment. CDO position has popped up in a number of industries (McDonalds, Metropolitan Museum of Art) so would it make sense in this case?

    Thank you.

  2. Ishrat – I see your point but might this not complicate things further by adding another Chief into the mix? I agree with Thomas – there needs to be stronger collaboration and insurers need to see CMO as more than the people charged with creating adverts and driving sales channels. My fear is that the more people / roles introduced, the more chance there is for silos to form. Collaboration often feels low on the agenda at insurance companies.

  3. As usual: It depends! If a digital officer is hired primarily to take care of “digital” as being delegated by the business / management then the danger is that it is more an excuse for business to have the issue of “digital” covered and thus in my view likely to not have the desired impact. If however the CDO is building a new business potentially moving “old” business over time and potentially becoming the new CEO, it could indeed be a good move. I think we do already see both in the industry already.

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