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Marketing – Is This The Hour For Overhauling?

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Tarannum Hasib, Chief Distribution Officer, Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance says that marketers should shift gears to support short-term marketing strategies to yield results.

 

Marketing in Covid-19 era has forced us to re-evaluate priorities, relook at channel strategies and realign brand stories. With businesses feeling the heat of sustaining margins, maintaining cash flow, fluctuating stock markets, and consumers too have begun making choices in such trying times.  Desires replaced with necessities, outdoor replaced with indoor consumption of media, more eyeballs spent on digital gadgets, more time with the family. Marketers have witnessed a substantial amount of surge in multimedia device data consumption amid lockdown which has forced them to shift their focus more on digital mediums rather than traditional approach.

In the marketing world, where most objectives are set to deliver outcomes over a long period of time as influencing customer behavior is not a short term outcome. Contrary to this in current scenario, we have new realities every week which rule out long term plans & strategies. Marketers have to make a significant switch in their strategies to meet the current requirements. Campaigns are being strategized for a shorter period of time, gone are the days when story board would seek an audience engagement for the next six months or one year.

It’s therefore imperative, that marketers too shift gears to support short-term marketing strategies which are quick, to the point and yield results with the changing environment.

It is very important that brands communicate and create platforms of interactions, when we all know social distancing is here to stay for long, communicating through digital platforms is one and only option left. It is important that industry creates authentic communication strategy which the customers are able to appreciate and digest sitting in their homes or workplaces.

The world was already onto a rapid path of digital marketing and communication and Covid-19 has just accelerated this across sectors. Communication on digital and social media is easy to achieve, therefore there is a tendency to do overload of communication which is impersonal and does not help the consumers.

Most companies are offering multiple avenues of online and digital options for purchase, servicing and interaction. However they are overlooking the basic fact of communication not being a one way process. We all quest for one brilliant idea but certainly forget that simplest idea can be the quirkiest one. Given this, brands need to put their feet in the customers shoe to realize how important it is to implement messaging with a two way process. In this era of communication overload, brands that create robust client/agent communication and support systems will succeed.

Insurance sales have a large dependency on face-to-face interactions for closing a sale and reaching out to the customer has always been relationship-oriented, whether it is the Agency model, Bancassurance or Broking. It starts with the building of a relationship and trust is established way before the insurance product is sold. This order has now got defunct and ways and means to reach out to customers online through digital communication is the new normal.

When Covid-19 struck, at Canara HSBC Oriental Bank Of Commerce Life Insurance we had to quickly reconfigure our marketing strategy, with this we also had to ensure to keep the last leg of business closure as efficient as a customer meeting. Some of the steps we took in marketing, that helped us take control and bring back focus on the business imperatives are:

Reaching Out With Authentic And Empathetic Communication: We created a strong communication channel with our customers. Reinforced the security of their policies and ensured they were constantly reminded of all our communication touch points and that we were still accessible, virtually & digitally. We leveraged social media to bring alive our after-sales services, and beefed up efficiencies at the backend for our virtual touch points:  IVR, website, call center, SMS, e-mails.

Rebooted Our Strategy And Launched A Social Media Campaign: We launched the ‘Family Promise Challenge’ during the lockdown. When most consumers were consuming digital content, we encouraged consumers and provoked them to think and plan for their future. While everyone in lockdown realized the value of spending time with old parents, playing with kids, helping the spouse with cooking, it is extremely important to protect continuity of their experiences by protecting their future.

Reinvent product videos and sales communication material to empower our sales force with sharper content which would aid non face-to-face sales model and is simple and self-explanatory for the sales personnel, bank staff and end consumers. Vernacular self-explanatory videos, pocket sell-cards, WhatsApp  digital flyers, easy-to-comprehend product benefit illustrations, all these were developed during these testing times, so the show goes on.

Marketing teams which are agile and are able to deliver on short term priorities, while keeping the long term strategy and essence of campaign intact, will be successful in delivering results & aid business strategies of their organizations.

About the author / 

Tarannum Hasib

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