Opportunity is Knocking—Are You Listening?

Opportunity Knocks—Are You Listening?Addressing Hidden Needs in a Mature Insurance Marketplace

A recent TechCrunch article spotlights Lemonade, an insurance upstart that is boldly reimagining the customer experience. The young firm has already made waves with its use of cloud technology and artificial intelligence to sell insurance, and now it is going a step further by crowdsourcing a full rewrite of its insurance policy from scratch, with the goal of devising documents that consumers can actually understand.

Lemonade has correctly identified a critical pain point for insurance consumers—the underlying product is begging for innovation. Traditional policy documents are inscrutable and full of legalese and were never written with customers in mind. The policy is a great place to start the insurance product revolution, but does Lemonade go far enough?
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How two tech companies connected with individual buyers, and what they learned from it

How Cisco and Microsoft connected with individual buyers, and what they learned from itIn the technology industry, software and hardware manufacturers tend to focus on the needs of the companies they sell to. When prospecting an organization, they look at what the organization as a whole needs to move its business forward. The idea: if you understand the functional requirements of an organization, you can align your solution to those needs and convince decision-makers to go with your product.

On the surface, this approach seems rational, but in reality, successful sales to business customers calls for a different approach. Studies show that the needs of the people in the organization play a crucial part in the buying process. For instance, a study conducted by the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business suggests that although many stakeholders are involved in a purchasing decision, the process and decision are often dominated by one person.

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Why Live TV Streaming Isn’t Tuned In To Consumer Needs

Why Live TV Streaming Isn’t Tuned In To Consumer NeedsNot too long ago, the only viable option for watching video in the home was to subscribe to a cable or satellite TV provider. Sure, there was the fringe population who cut the cord and either relied on over-the-air (OTA) network broadcasts or streamed Netflix onto a PC that would then be connected via a mess of cables, software and converters to a television or projector (phew!). The rest of us, however, were at the mercy of the cable and satellite companies, and virtually every satisfaction study conducted shows that customers have not been happy with these providers for a very long time.
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Going Beyond Traditional Advisor Segments to Increase Marketing ROI

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Asset managers are collecting more data on financial advisors than ever but often struggle to transform their CRM systems into relevant and meaningful opportunities for advisor outreach and engagement. Undoubtedly, the competition for the attention and assets controlled by financial advisors (FAs) is intensifying, prompting many asset managers to seek better ways to target and communicate with advisors.

Data analytics and distribution teams spend about half of their time on data acquisition and data management, with just 14% of their time on more advanced analytics that fuel advisor segmentation and sales-lead generation, according to Applying Data to Distribution, a report by Ignites Research.* Perhaps more astonishingly, the report reveals that only one-third (39%) of asset managers incorporate advisors’ content preferences into advisors’ CRM systems, and one-fifth (11%) categorize financial advisors by types or “personas” that help determine their sales and marketing approach.

The current methods for segmenting the FA population for sales and marketing tend to be broad in nature and fail to take into account important differences in the attitudes, mind-set and preferences of FAs. Often, the desire to send more-targeted, customized communication is there, but firms fall short in their efforts to implement effective strategies given the additional time and money required to create their own proprietary models. Continue reading

Innovation Journey: Is It Better to be Lucky or Good?

Is it better to be lucky or good?

Editor’s Note: Our Consumer & Retail team is launching a blog series for the retail and FMCG industries. In the coming months, we’ll share our thoughts on recent advancements—backed by real-world examples—around the consumer journey from innovation and personalization to channel attribution/interaction and omnichannel marketing. Subscribe to FreshMR now so you don’t miss any updates.

The retail and FMCG industries face an uncertain marketplace where prior known certainties can no longer be relied upon. In that reality, there is nothing quite as exciting in product development research as helping clients discover the products of the future.

One notable example is the number of clients who have asked us to help them develop “company-specific norms.” Many clients have relied on ‘generic’ norms for their simulated market testing, but they’re now ready to move in a different direction. Why? One client responded quite clearly, “We’ve found ourselves developing concepts to ‘beat’ the testing process to move forward, rather than to actually meet consumer and market needs.” The tail was wagging the dog, and potential new products were being designed to beat the process. As a result, the process had become more important than the outcome. Changing the way they looked at normative data was just one way in which this company was trying to reassess their innovation journey to change success/failure outcomes.

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Five Ways to Become a Three-Time Utility Customer Champion

2016-12-three-peatWe recently released our 2016 Utility Customer Champions, which awards gas, electric and combination utilities nationwide that have the highest scores on our proprietary Engaged Customer Relationship index. Among this list are 26 utilities that have “three-peated,” meaning they’ve been designated as a Customer Champion every year since we started these awards in 2014.

Here’s what sets these utilities apart, and what your utility can do to get on the path of enduring customer engagement:

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Targeting Fee-Based Advisors

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New forces are converging that could dramatically alter the advisor landscape in the coming years. As the ranks of financial advisors shrink, fee-based advisors represent an expanding segment signaling a trend savvy asset managers should act on. In fact, predominantly fee-based advisors (those earning at least three-quarters of their total compensation from asset-based fees) now comprise four in 10 financial advisors.

This segment of advisors doesn’t just include RIAs (33%), but is equally as likely to include advisors in the Independent (33%) channel with the National channel a close third (29%). Predominantly fee-based advisors represent an attractive target, managing relatively larger books of business ($152 million, on average) compared with just $71 million for commission-based advisors. Furthermore, predominantly fee-based advisors report relatively higher allocations to mutual fund and ETF products. Continue reading

Go Where the Fish Are Biting: Targeting Investors Who Are Ready to Act

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Any successful angler knows when fish get hungry and what they will bite. The same concept holds true for asset managers and distributors. By definition, affluent investors have portfolios comprising a variety of investment accounts in which their assets are held. However, the majority of affluent investors are unlikely to make an investment in the near future, seemingly content to keep their current investment portfolio unchanged for the time being.

Recognizing how critical it is for distributors and asset managers to identify and understand the subgroups of affluent Americans who are likely to make an investment purchase, we present the “ready-to-act” (RTA) investor segments. Based on purchase intent level, we’ve identified three segments of RTA investors, who are likely to do one of these in the next three months:

  1. Open an investment account
  2. Invest in a mutual fund
  3. Invest in ETF shares

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Doctor’s Orders: Why Patient Engagement Matters

Doctor’s Orders: Why Patient Engagement MattersEnsuring that patients understand, accept and follow recommended treatment plans is the first step towards the best possible outcome—medically for the patient and financially for the healthcare delivery system. Similarly, physicians are in the best position to individualize this treatment plan to one that is optimal for the patient.

Yet all too often patients resist their physician’s recommendation immediately or at the pharmacy, or they initially accept only to abandon treatment later. Why does this happen and what can be done about it?

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Utilities Face Risk, Opportunity with Unmanaged Business Accounts

s16476_cover-imageUtilities are increasingly turning to value-added products and services to increase customer engagement and reduce their cost to serve, but unmanaged business accounts –commercial customers without a key account representative–are a third less likely to adopt these voluntary programs. This is one of the reasons unmanaged accounts score 25 points lower than key accounts on Cogent Reports’ 1,000-point Engaged Customer Relationship Index.

Utilities have a good sense of how to engage key accounts because they have a personal relationship with them but often don’t know how to engage unmanaged accounts, which constitute a third of utility revenues nationwide. Our research shows that there are five clear segments offering distinct engagement pathways for unmanaged businesses. These segments are:

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