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Yuhui Yao

FWD Group shares tips on using data to identify consumers’ ‘sweet spots’

In today’s world, many marketers are still facing the issue of having a large amount of data collected without much clue on how to best utilise it in targeting consumers.

Speaking at the recent Smart Data 2017 event, Yuhui Yao, vice-president and group head of customer analytics and behavioural insights at FWD Singapore, said marketers who faced this problem needed to identify that “sweet spot” using smart data.

Smart data in his context refers to insights gathered as a result of so-called reverse engineering, in transforming your big data to small data. These insights will allow marketers to predict and capitalise on the customer life-time value, and hence, cultivate higher conversion rates.

Quoting Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Yao said in the past it was IT time, but “nowadays it is DT time” – which is essentially the rise of data technology.

Companies are also keeping up with this data era, creating infrastructure such as a data lake and data warehouse to collect data from different sources – be it structured or unstructured data.

He said it was imperative for marketers to “transform” big data to small data or smart data which offers meaningful insights to find that sweet spot in acquiring customers.

To accurately acquire your customers, Yao said it always has to start with analysing the business problems and identifying what you need to solve.

Where is the sweet spot?

Giving an example of one of the biggest Chinese insurance companies which Yao worked at, the three main factors he looked at to identify a sweet spot in targeting customers were the insurance needs, money and relationships. At FWD, he uses the same set of factors.

On insurance needs – it looks at customers’ life stages by asking questions about their marital status. Also, if the targeted client just had a baby, chances are they may start to think about buying education insurance. Other factors include location, industry, education and event triggers such as accidents or big-life events.

When it comes to money, the company uses different data to gauge how well-to-do a customer is to determine the type of products to sell. Factors to look into include car brands and prices paid.

For example, people who drive a Maserati would likely have a different appetite for products than ones driving a Toyota.

The same applies to the type of home and AUM (assets under management), which is the total market value of assets that an investment company or financial institution manages on behalf of an individual. If a consumer invests a lot of money on unit trusts, chances are they may be able to purchase higher premium insurance products as well.

Last, and very importantly, is the relationship factor.

“We have to look for data from so many different angles such as campaign response, how many products they bought from us, contact tenure, number of calls, latest contact time and even the talking time,” Yao said.

All these factors help in gauging the relationship the consumer has with the brand.

Despite the challenges brands face when it comes to loyalty, he said talking to customers and showing you care helps.

With the method above, Yao said FWD increased its conversation rate by four times.

“How we can do data enrichment, be it internally or externally, to come up with that sweet spot? This sweet spot essentially points to the most effective customer acquisition for your brand. It all boils down to how you use that data, which is essentially your most valuable asset.”

As a fully digital life and general insurer, FWD Singapore is a relatively new entrant in Singapore.

But it has been aggressively trying to capture the market. FWD Insurance started operations in Singapore in April 2016, providing employee benefits insurance to corporate customers.

In September, FWD launched its direct-to-consumer business and currently offers a suite of life and general insurance products, including term life, car, travel, maid, motorcycle and personal accident insurance.

FWD is the insurance business arm of Pacific Century Group (PCG).

PCG, established in 1993, is an Asia-based private investment group with interests in financial services, technology, media, telecommunications and real estate.

Besides Singapore, FWD provides life and general insurance in Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines.

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