“There really is a lot of ambition in the financial services industry at the moment, but does that necessarily translate into innovation in the area of digital marketing? Not really. Developments are moving very quickly and for banks and insurers it is crucial that they keep pace, or even lead the way. I like helping them to take the next step.” The words are those of Uschi Braun, Digital Consultant at ITDS, who explains how she helps those clients, the changes she has identified in the market and which trends we will need to keep an eye on.
FROM BEAUTY TO INSURANCE
“My career kicked off with one of the biggest advertising agencies in Germany. But after working in point-of-sale and brochure marketing for a while, I felt the need to create something that people really wanted. I reckoned that Social Media was the place to do it. I soon discovered that marketing through social channels can also be seen as push marketing, but you can still create fun things such as competition promotions and relatable human-interest stories. After a few years I decided to move to the Netherlands. My last assignments in Germany were mainly in the beauty sector so in looking for a new job in the Netherlands I was curious about what was going on outside that sector. At first, the insurance and banking world didn’t sound particularly exciting, but I was convinced I could inject some life into it. I remember once doing an assignment for a brand of vacuum cleaners, and, take my word for it, even those can made to sound ‘sexy’. I reasoned that if I could do that for vacuum cleaners I could also do it for banks and insurers. The people around me warned that I’d be entering a somewhat inflexible environment, but this just spurred me on to take on the challenge. And when it comes to work I love a good challenge!”
“Then, for my first assignment, I’m given a funeral insurer. Even though I’d been working intensively with Social Media for many years, this assignment really was an eye-opener for me. I just didn’t expect it to be such a lively community. Social offers people a place where they can share love, loss and experiences and look for advice. As a funeral insurer you can offer an ideal platform for this, a place that can host many discussions and in which you can serve as a facilitator. It was an interesting discovery and one that motivated me even more for my next assignment, in the pension world. That too turned out to be far from dull. According to research data, highly educated women are not actively engaged in arranging a pension for themselves. The challenge, therefore, was how to reach a target group and offer them something they were not, on the face of it, actively looking for. I was tasked with establishing a strategy and producing the necessary content. After carrying out these assignments I noticed that the technologies and strategies in the financial services sector often don’t align with market requirements. Companies are very ambitious though, and thanks to my skills and resourcefulness I’ve found that I can help them realise their ambitions.”
A CHANGING MARKET
“I think the most important shift in the market is evident in the way that brands communicate with their target groups. The messages are becoming increasingly individualistic and nowadays there are so many advertisers that you are likely to be bombarded with content. All this means that, to stand out as a brand, you have to be hyper-relevant. At any given moment, everyone needs information via a particular channel and this process can be automated by tooling. It is very noticeable that the insurance market is also shifting towards this. And a good job too, because otherwise brands will lose their relevance to their customers. Moreover, technology is becoming increasingly important. Marketing strategies have much the same components as they did before, but technology and data have been added to the equation. In the past, it was much more common for decisions to be based on a gut feeling. But nowadays data provides more and more insights into what does and doesn’t work. And let’s face it, it doesn’t get much better than implementing a strategy that’s underscored by data. When it comes to marketing, digital is currently the way to go. Developments are moving very quickly and for banks and insurers it is crucial that they keep pace, or even lead the way. Consider this: like many other people in the Netherlands, at the end of last year I decided to switch my health insurer. To this day I still haven’t received email confirmation from the applicable insurer and I’ve yet to receive a response to any of the questions that I’ve asked on Social Media. To me it’s obvious that I’m dealing here with a potential client that ITDS could help!”