Accenture studies have found that there are mutual benefits for customers and insurers in providing customized, seamless and evolving customer experiences—right from the first point of interaction. And given CMOs’ understanding of their company’s brands, customers and products, they are the natural leaders to drive this transformation.

However, the Accenture CMO Insights Survey found that many insurance industry CMOs see challenges on the road ahead, and in particular, challenges that may affect their ability to meet business performance objectives. For example, 63 percent of survey respondents expect less than a 5 percent budget increase, but are expected to improve both marketing spend effectiveness and operational efficiency.

In addition, only 53 percent of marketers feel they can meet their performance objectives. Survey respondents were concerned about:

  • Customer analytics, and how they can help an insurer offer more personalized experiences.
  • Customer experience, especially as it informs omni-channel capabilities.
  • Digital orientation, and how marketing can play a greater strategic role as digital transforms the marketplace.
  • Marketing operations, and how it aligns with the rest of the enterprise—particularly sales.
  • Offer innovation, and an insurer’s competitiveness in new markets, with new customers, through new products and services.

Areas of fundamental change for marketing over the next five years (%)

Adding to the challenge, much of insurance advertising is based on price, which only serves to reinforce customers’ price sensitivity. According to JD Power and Associates, these huge investments in advertising are not reducing customer churn—in fact, they may actually contribute to it. Indeed, the current crisis of customer retention is creating what we call the “switching economy,” worth an estimated $400 billion.

That said, there is some good news. Emerging marketing capabilities are creating new opportunities for insurers to compete for and engage with customers. Underpinning many of these capabilities are digital competencies—and indeed, the ability to use and harness digital opportunities has proven to be the distinction between high-growth and low-growth companies. This ability to leverage digital means that high-growth companies are ready to rapidly formulate, execute, measure and harness digital channels for marketing.

High-growth insurers place a greater importance on digital capabilities then those achieving lower growth (%)
Source: Accenture, The Digital Insurer | CMOs: Time for Digital Transformation (2014)

My colleague Julio Rivera has led Accenture’s efforts in North America to define a CMO Agenda for Marketing Transformation and has created a roadmap to help CMOs influence and shape the digital strategy within their organizations.

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