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NEW DELHI :

Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance has seen a growth rate of over 50% in FY22 even as the private life insurance category grows at 26-27%, said its chief marketing officer Chandramohan Mehra. In an interview, Mehra shared his views on the life insurer’s changing communication strategy to target young consumers, and the value of blending performance marketing with storytelling. Edited excerpts:

How difficult is it to market a category like insurance?

We embarked on a brand transformation journey around four years ago based on what the competition was doing and how new-age consumer expectations and aspirations were evolving. Competition was making a lot of noise around uncertainty and unfortunate events and how life insurance products will address these concerns. When we spoke to consumers, we realized new-age customers were articulating their expectations on life goals, such as building a second home by 40, to have a startup by 35, to give parents a Europe tour by 30, so on and so forth. And, we said we want to be their life-goal enabler. Earlier, we had a mascot called Super Agent, someone in the late 40s. It was becoming irrelevant in the context of new, emerging consumer sentiments. The repositioning exercise is resonating well with the audiences and internal stakeholders. It’s not just positioning, it is also the entire sales narrative—the approach, the products and the tools to start understanding the customers’ life goals.

Which is the most frequently used media for you?

Banking, financial services and insurance, specifically insurance, leverage their marketing mix holistically. The marketing is a strong combination of brand, plus performance marketing—leveraging data, generating leads to communicate, the right messaging and product proposition. Data is a strong component of marketing.

By performance marketing do you mean conversion?

Performance marketing is anything that is clearly measurable—purely a measure of your return on investment in terms of the amount invested and the revenue it has generated. It is measuring your reach, permissions, click-throughs, how many finally got converted and the value of each transaction. We deploy performance marketing tools such as search engine optimization.

What’s your annual ad budget and the share of each media?

I cannot share the exact number. But the ratio is getting more and more skewed towards digital. However, we believe that a combination of digital and offline is just the right mix. In offline, we use television, print and outdoor. Television continues to have the least cost per thousand reach and is one of the best, most potent drivers to build emotional connect. Then we leverage print because it gives you the power to detail the finer technicalities of products in insurance. Brand marketing in digital uses YouTube, Google, social media and now the OTT platforms.

Have social media made life difficult for brands?

First of all, brands must have a clear point of view. They need to have a purpose. And, this is based on three things: your business environment, the societal trend and the belief system of the leadership team and employees. Social media is a great platform to take a stance and articulate and communicate this. It’s also a great platform for listening. Consumers will reach out and express their sentiments or grievances on social media platforms and brands have to be agile to respond and resolve those issues. Listening also allows you to observe the voices of customers that can be a very powerful feed to your processes, product development, servicing, even marketing messaging. However, not all the responses on social media are reasonable. It doesn’t mean that the brand has to get bogged down by some random, unreasonable responses. Your core audiences will see through it anyway.

How has the covid-19 pandemic changed the marketing rule book?

First, there is massive digital adoption across the chain. For a marketer, this has changed the influence he/she can have in making this entire journey frictionless. The more you simplify the journey, the customer will reward you with loyalty. Second, customers are rewarding brands which are trustworthy, transparent and purposeful. These attributes are new customer value drivers. Third, power of personalization is coming from digital adoption. You can completely track their behaviours within and outside your systems. We are getting biased towards performance as it is easily quantifiable. But marketing will still be a blend of science based on data, analytics and technology, and the art of storytelling. Blending these two will help brands make a meaningful connect with customers.

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