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30-second summary:

  • In their recently published playbook, Data Axle uses brand examples from top companies like John Hancock, Aetna, Esurance, and more to illustrate how data can be used to create targeted acquisition programs.
  • The playbook outlines a four-phased acquisition approach.
  • The phases, summarized below, include: Establishing a baseline/defining an objective, defining your audience, identifying audience needs, motivations, and preferences, and putting a go-to-market plan into action.
  • You can download The Insurer’s Customer Acquisition Playbook from ClickZ.

Data Axle, a leading provider of data and real-time business intelligence solutions, recently published a comprehensive acquisition guide for insurance companies. Insurance companies face unique customer acquisition challenges including rapidly changing customer needs and high acquisition costs. 

Data Axle’s playbook demonstrates how data can be leveraged to create an effective acquisition strategy. By featuring examples from top insurance industry brands and outlining a comprehensive four-phased approach, Data Axle provides a roadmap that insurance companies can use to build a data-driven path to growth. 

This article summarizes Data Axle’s approach and features a brief overview of two examples, but only touches on the information provided in the guide. To get all the details (and data) from the source, download Data Axle’s The Insurer’s Customer Acquisition Playbook today.

customer acquisition

Content created in partnership with Data Axle.

Phase 1: Establish a baseline and define objectives

Phase 1 of the playbook focuses on planning. Data Axle recommends that insurance companies conduct a deep analysis of past campaign performance including a review of past key performance indicators (KPIs). It emphasizes the importance of involving multiple business stakeholders in the review process.

Writes Data Axle, “The process begins with a deep analysis of past performance, current key performance indicators (KPIs), and acquisition needs across business units. This will ensure that the overarching acquisition strategy meets business goals and provides clear direction to all teams.”

Legacy data can provide valuable insight about what’s worked and what hasn’t, enabling insurance companies to focus their strategy on the best potential revenue sources.

Brand Example: John Hancock

John Hancock wanted to boost enrollments and attract younger audiences. They also wanted to improve customer loyalty. In reviewing past customer data, they realized that their policy owners had an average of just two interactions with insurers per year.

Source: Data Axle, The Insurance Customer Acquisition Playbook

They revamped their approach to customer experience by combining a technology-based wellness program with life insurance using an easy digital enrollment process and increased the number of interactions with customers to 23 per month. They also made the insurance buying process less cumbersome.

John Hancock began their planning process by identifying three goals—enhance customer loyalty, boost enrollments, and attract younger audiences. Defining goals is a good place to begin.

Here are some common goals that Data Axle listed in their playbook:

  • Offsetting attrition
  • Growing your customer base
  • Hitting sales or lead goals
  • Expanding into new territories
  • Re-engaging previous policy holders

customer acquisition

Source: Data Axle, The Insurance Customer Acquisition Playbook

Phase 2: Define your audience

Identifying the most profitable customer segments is the next step in Data Axle’s four-phased approach to developing an acquisition strategy.

The playbook lists four questions that insurers can use to help identify targets for acquisition campaigns:

Who do you have today? Data Axle recommends using a combination of first-party customer data combined with third-party data to help identify your highest-value customers.

Third-party data providers can match your customer data with insights about consumer interests, demographics, and other important information.

This combined information can help you create customer profiles, or personas, representing different types of customers. Personas enable more refined campaign targeting and customer personalization.

  • Who do you want? This question helps insurers define which audiences they want (or need) to target to achieve their business objectives. The answer informs the acquisition strategy.
  • How much are you willing to pay to acquire them? The cost per acquisition (CPA) is the amount of money it costs to acquire one customer. The CPA goal is connected to the revenue per customer and helps determine an acquisition budget. Writes Data Axle, “Insurance companies should calculate longer-term metrics, like average customer lifetime value and revenue per policyholder, to help inform how much they’re willing to spend on new acquisitions.”
  • How can you identify your prospects? Data Axle lists several examples of data-driven acquisition models that insurance companies can use to identify high-value, high-converting prospects. Models like look-alike prospects, response models, and custom audiences use first and third-party data to identify the right audiences.

Phase 3: Identify your audience’s needs, motivations, and preferences

The third phase of the data-driven acquisition approach focuses on connecting with the audiences you’ve identified. This phase relies on data to help shape your acquisition strategy.

Data Axle recommends that insurers ask the following questions:

  • What problem are prospects trying to solve?
  • When do they need your product/service?
  • Where can you reach them?
  • What messaging will motivate them?

Answering the above questions helps uncover the pain points of high-value insurance customers. Writes Data Axle, “Most consumers aren’t looking to buy insurance; they are looking to fill a need – peace of mind, financial security, or maybe healthy living.”

Brand Example: Lemonade

Lemonade is an insurance industry disruptor whose goal is to simplify the insurance buying process for policyholders, helping them avoid “red tape” and “long wait times.”

Lemonade also appeals to socially conscious consumers by helping policyholders give back to various causes. Their messaging, as shown in the examples below, focuses on solving specific customer pain points (fast coverage, fast payment, ease of signup, etc.).

Source: Data Axle, The Insurance Customer Acquisition Playbook

Phase 4: Put your go-to-market plan into action

The final phase of customer acquisition pulls all the other steps together, connecting relevant teams, selecting technology and data platforms, and finalizing the acquisition process. Data Axle emphasizes the importance of cross-team collaboration when implementing a customer acquisition strategy.

Writes Data Axle, “Brands can boost acquisition program results by focusing on tactical coordination when it is time to go-to-market.”

Tactical coordination includes team alignment, creative testing and agreement on messaging, media channel identification and management, and a clear reporting infrastructure and strategy. This is where Data Axle’s data services and technology fit in, with potential solutions that include:

  • Business and consumer databases
  • A data acquisition platform
  • Direct mail/media planning solutions
  • B2C lead generation solutions

The playbook includes in-depth information about how insurance companies can create a data-centric customer acquisition strategy including drilling down into performance measurement techniques and how to find the right internal and external expertise to drive your strategy.

There are also many more brand examples of innovative acquisition strategies and approaches from insurance companies including Northwestern Mutual, Aetna, and Cigna.

You can download Data Axle’s free guide, The Insurer’s Customer Acquisition Playbook from here.

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