How should insurers leverage data and digital channels to market to millennials and Gen Z?

To create effective marketing campaigns focused on millennials and Gen Z, insurers need to understand this group. What are their likes and dislikes? What do they value?

Any marketing strategy will need to start with some in-depth research, which will provide the base information needed to perform the basic functions of digital marketing. Segmentation and tailored messaging are only as strong as the data set that they are built on. Insurers should take advantage of the immense amounts of data available, both internally and externally, to create targeted campaigns that actually resonate with millennials and Gen Z.

Leverage your own data first to get a base understanding of your customer

Insurers have a bulk of first-hand data on their current customers that is incredibly valuable when building a strong marketing strategy. The first step in this is creating a customer map, which groups your customers based on their attributes. Mapping out groups within your customer base is a great way to truly understand their needs, expectations and behaviours of all of your customers, instead of an amalgamated version. 1st party data to define these segments could include demographic information, but also behavioural data like claims information, policy changes, or product purchases. Grouping your current millennial and Gen Z customers gives you a base understanding of those who have already purchased your product.

Use 3rd party data to build and enrich your dataset

Understanding your 1st party customer data is a good first step, but how can insurers paint a fuller picture of their customers? One method is to invest in 3rd party data and match that against your current customer base. This gives insurers additional data points about their customer base, which allows them to create content and messaging that will be more relevant to each segment. This will be particularly advantageous in creating a strategy for millennials and Gen Z, as additional data, like lifestyle or consumer purchasing data, can be used to create more engaging content and provide information on effective contextual placements. 

For example, 3rd party data from an online publisher could tell insurers what types of content millennials and Gen Z are consuming, like travel, food and entertainment or sports related content. With this information, insurers could further segment their millennial and Gen Z customers into groups with more specific messaging and advertise in contextually related placements.

Meet customers on their preferred channels with smart campaign types

After completing segmentation, insurers will need to develop a campaign strategy for each group to meet a certain objective or perhaps multiple objectives. For millennial and Gen Z groups, the focus should be a digital, mobile-first campaign strategy that includes tailored messaging, offers and services. This demographic wants relevant information quickly and seamlessly, so how can you give them that at scale?

A basic strategy could focus on milestones/life events for this group (e.g. getting married, buying a house) that insurers use as triggers for campaigns. 3rd party data providers can provide segments that are specific to life events, either using confirmed data, where the user has confirmed they are a newlywed/new homeowner, or using behavioural data to group users. Behavioural data could be the user browsing specific content types (wedding planning/real estate websites), or indicated by their purchasing behaviour of consumer goods (buying bridesmaid gifts, honeymoon travel plans, or new home goods or services). Creating automated campaigns that are activated when a customer fulfils a particular trigger will give the customer a relevant message when it is most appropriate. For example, serving ads to customers and prospects who have been added to the ‘new homeowners’ segment in the last 30 days, with a specific message around why new homeowners should invest in a home insurance policy. Including an offer will make this even more attractive, so offers based on triggers would also be a smart move for insurers. This could prompt millennials and Gen Z customers to purchase insurance when they would otherwise not be incentivised to do so, even though they are financially capable. 

When considering channels, it is important to consider the changes in app preference, with Instagram, WhatsApp, WeChat, TikTok/Douyin and YouTube having higher usage than Facebook or SnapChat. As a result, content has evolved to be mobile-first, shorter and more concise, and often short-form video or gif based. To add to that complexity, the typical social channels that insurers like to advertise on today like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram may change, especially in Hong Kong, in light of changing laws and policies. Insurers should be constantly aware of macro and consumer trends to effectively engage with their target audience in the right place with the right content.