Marketers nowadays are striving to steer their companies towards becoming data-driven, while of course putting their customers at the heart of everything they do. While companies are gathering plenty of data through various marketing tactics, the real power of data does not lie in the volume, variety or velocity. Rather, it lies in the company’s ability to create value using the data harnessed and make a difference in the lives of consumers, explained MetLife Asia’s CMO, Sanjeev Kapur (pictured).
Kapur, speaking at Marketing’s recent Smart Data conference, said if companies can use the data obtained to add value to consumers’ lives and earn their loyalty, they will be able to generate more sales and profit. “This shift from volume, variety and velocity is the real pivot that we are trying to make from big data to smart data,” he said. Data plays a crucial role in the road towards digital transformation. Kapur noted that each wave of transformation through the history of time, be it the digital transformation or industrial revolution, was triggered by “a big pain point which the existing market forces were unable to resolve”.
“Pain points exist in every industry, and for the insurance industry in particular, health insurers are often thought to perform one the worst when it comes to customer experience,” Kapur said. “When you have an industry-wide score of -30, it’s not a pretty picture. And something must be really wrong,” he added.
Evolution of products and services
To make a change in this space, the company conducted surveys across countries it operated in, to understand how to make things right. Through the surveys, MetLife found that consumers are now comparing their experiences horizontally across all industries. Gone are the days when consumers evaluated companies based on the specific industries they are in. Instead, today’s consumers are comparing their experiences with insurance companies to banks and hotels before forming views.
Disruption is happening and it is completely repositioning companies, and making them look really slow. [Consumers] want us to become fast and easy.
Consumers also want companies to respect the individuality in each of them and create personalised solutions, while being empathatic towards the need of each and every consumer. “Consumers don’t want to be treated like a policy number. They want you to treat them like humans,”he explained. Additionally, Kapur said that given only a handful of consumers actually have to claim from their insurance policy, the industry has not done enough to seize the opportunity to engage with the majority of consumers, and form a relationship with them. As such, MetLife is reevaluating its role in the lives of consumers.
“We ask ourselves, ‘Do we want to be in the business of only helping customers when they are running into an adversity? Or do we really want to be in the business of not only helping them but also preventing them from having an adversity?” he said.
In the insurance field, Kapur added, companies are used to selling products for a long lifespan for an average of 10 to 15 years. But a lot can happen during that period of time, which leads to the industry not evolving fast enough. “The solution companies sold 10-15 years back, has not evolved. This means the industry is not really evolving and the solution is not evolving over the period of time, so we got to fix that,” he said.
Leveraging on smart data to reimagine the experience it offers to consumers, MetLife launched a tablet-led platform in May 2018 known as MetLife Discovery, which solicits information from customers such as their aspirations and goals in life. With this rich pool of data available, MetLife’s insurance agents are then able to design bespoke insurance policies for consumers.
Additionally, in March this year, MetLife entered into a digital partnership with Tencent to offer insurance solutions to travellers via WeChat’s insurance arm, WeSure. The partnership offers MetLife access to WeSure’s network of one billion monthly active users. It also enables both parties to collaborate in fields such as big data analysis, tailor-made and intelligent value-added services to deliver easier to use, more transparent end-to-end protection solutions for Chinese travellers.
“When you look at data and digital transformation, think about how they link back to your brand’s purpose. What are you really trying to solve?” Kapur reminded. He added that at the end of the day, marketers should refrain from getting distracted by data and digital when it comes to transformation. “Focus on the most important pain point that consumers in your industry are facing. Once you understand that, think about how you can leverage the power of data to transform and reimagine the customer experience,” he said.