Loyal Agents Have Big Impact On Insurance Carrier Business

Ellen Carney

Understanding agent attitudes toward their insurance carrier partners is crucial in earning independent agent loyalty—and driving sales.  Why?  Because despite predictions that direct-to-consumer insurance sales would doom the insurance agent, nearly 20 years after the advent of online insurance selling, millions of consumers and small businesses continue to rely on their local insurance agencies. Consider that when it comes to their agents, US consumers:

  • Buy from.  Even after all that money direct insurers spend on TV ads, consumers are still buying from insurance agencies. In a survey of 10,000 online Americans, we found that 84% of home insurance buyers stated that they bought from an agent; 82% did the same for their car insurance, while 57% of life insurance buyers said that they did.
  • Trust in.  When we asked in the same survey about attitudes toward financial services providers, more than 70% of life insurance buyers and about two-thirds of non-life insurance buyers we surveyed agreed with the statement “I completely trust my agent”.  And that trust runs deep for some customers, especially for 25-34 year olds we surveyed.
  • Stick with.   And after buying from an agent, consumers tend to stick with their them We asked US online adults how long they had been buying certain coverage from their agents. The average relationships with their auto, home, and life agencies were 12.9, 12.5, and 16.3 years Consumer steadfastness with an agent is often longer than that loyalty to a spouse:  the average American marriage that ends in divorce lasts eight years.  And no surprise, the tenure with direct insurers is much shorter than that with agent-centric insurers.   
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Infrastructure As Code, The Missing Element In The I&O Agenda

Robert Stroud

For many years, infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals have been dedicated to delivering services at lower costs and ever greater efficiency, but the business technology (BT) agenda requires innovation that delivers top-line growth.

 

The evolution and success of digital business models is leading I&O organizations to disrupt their traditional infrastructure models to pursue cloud strategies and new infrastructure architectures and mindsets that closely resemble cloud models.

 

Such a cloud-first strategy supports the business agenda for agility, rapid innovation, and delivery of solutions. This drives customer acquisition and retention and extends the focus beyond ad hoc projects to their complete technology stack. The transition to cloud-first mandates a transition for infrastructure delivery, management, and maintenance to support its delivery and consumption as a reusable software component. Such infrastructure can be virtual or physical and consumed as required, without lengthy build and deployment cycles.

 

Growing cloud maturity, the move of systems of record to the cloud (see my blog “Driving Systems of Records to the Cloud, your focus for 2016!)container growth, extensive automation, and availability of "infrastructure as code" change the roles within I&O, as far less traditional administration is needed. I&O must transition from investing in traditional administration to the design, selection, and management of the tooling it needs for composable infrastructure.

 

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Having The Right Team Players Won The Big Game. Do You Have The Right Team To Do The Same?

Sheryl Pattek

Super Bowl 50 is finally behind us. Forget the lackluster commercials — led by the silly puppy monkey baby— and the amazing technology feats that accompanied the NFL experience in downtown San Francisco. What was clear is that Americans are more obsessed with the national pastime of NFL football than ever. The leadup to Super Bowl 50 was like no other, with discussions of how the game has changed and the impact technology will have on the fan experience.

But the game is what most fans, me included, wanted to see. While it may not have been the most exciting Super Bowl of all time, one thing was clear almost from the start: Superstar and 2015 MVP Cam Newton couldn’t win the game on his own. Almost from the beginning, Denver prevailed — not because of the prowess of starting quarterback Peyton Manning, but rather because the Broncos had the right people in the right roles working together as a team to demolish the previously indestructible Carolina Panthers.

 What lessons can CMOs learn from this year’s Super Bowl?

While this may surprise you, your marketing team isn’t much different from the teams in this year’s Super Bowl. You doubtless have superstars who go the extra mile to power the marketing engine and make it succeed. But ask yourself: Do I have the right role players to keep the marketing team humming? Do I know what role players I need and what to look for when hiring them?

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B2B Marketers: Mind The Content Credibility Gap

Daniel Klein

Delivering credible, objective, and engaging content is a must for today’s B2B marketer as prospects discover, explore, and buy your solution. But what attributes and sources make content credible and objective to B2B buyers? This is a common question asked of my consulting team, and in the age of the customer — where empowered buyers rely on multiple content sources before talking with a sales team and 50% of buyers say much of the content they receive is useless — the answer is more important than ever.

To get answers to this and other key questions we receive from content marketers, Forrester surveyed over 200 IT and LOB technology buyers and influencers. I address three of the common client questions below:

 

Question One: What are the top three attributes of credible content from the perspective of a buyer/influencer?

Answer:

WIM: Marketers should audit their existing content assets against these attributes to ensure their library is stocked with credible content. With nearly two-thirds of respondents indicating that vendors give them too much material to sort through, authorship by a qualified expert/analyst allows content assets to stand out and get noticed. Including data in your assets gives them factual grounding and signifies that the information being shared is not simply opinion or conjecture. In fact, 47% of respondents rated papers (content) backed by data as high value, compared with only 11% who said the same thing of papers not backed by data. Finally, be selective in when and where you include product or brand mentions in your content.  Including them in too many of your content assets, especially thought leadership pieces, can undermine the credibility of your content.

 

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Co-creating Customer Experiences? Match Objectives To Desired Outcomes

Ron Rogowski

One of the most enjoyable and fulfilling things about helping Forrester clients become customer-obsessed is leading an experience co-creation workshop.  Forrester defines co-creation as the active participation of employees, customers, and stakeholders working together to design new experiences. It’s a technique that helps companies define the right experience for their customers and provides critical information that supports human-centered design.

A typical co-creation session puts Forrester consultants, our clients, and our clients’ customers in a room for a whole day. Together we work through a set of creative exercises designed to expose customer needs, perceptions, and expectations for an ideal experience. Sometimes these sessions are targeted at getting high-level, sentiment-based feedback, such as: What do our customers want from this experience? What does our current state experience look like compared to the ideal? Other times, our clients want more concrete solutions or recommendations such as:  What new experience should we offer? What features should go into our new mobile app? To see it in action, check out this video summary, produced by Western Union, showcasing a workshop we hosted together last year to co-create a new mobile experience.

While co-creation can provide direction on customer expectations and feedback on specific designs, we’ve learned that teams run into trouble when they try to do both of these things in the same session. Why? Because exploratory research and prototyping are two different activities that happen at distinct stages of a user-centered design process. Let’s examine the user-centered design process illustrated below:

 

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What To Expect From Mobile World Congress 2016?

Thomas Husson

From February 22 to 25, Barcelona will be the center of the business world. Do not expect a specific industry focus but expect announcements impacting any industry: from payments to automotive. Why? Because “mobile is everything”.

 

 

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Introducing Forrester's Omnichannel Commerce Playbook

Brendan Witcher

Today we announce the launch of our brand new Omnichannel Commerce Playbook! In its many forms, omnichannel is quickly resetting customer expectations, and redefining what it means to deliver seamless, fully-integrated commerce across the enterprise. This playbook provides a structured framework to help eBusiness leaders strategically  plan, launch, and maintain omnichannel capabilities and services.   

Customers today forge paths to purchase that seamlessly cross channels, screens and stores.  For example, U.S. consumers in 2015 spent a whopping $1.5 trillion in-store that originally started or were influenced along the way by digital touchpoints. Retailers who offer omnichannel fulfillment are directly responding to customer expectations for this seamless experience. As such, services like ‘buy online, pick up in store’ and ‘ship-to-store’ drive store traffic and provide significant, measurable benefits to retailers and customers alike.

However, omnichannel commerce goes far beyond fulfillment; the full spectrum of omnichannel capabilities encompasses marketing, merchandising, and even customer service. This playbook helps eBusiness professionals analyze and deliver the omnichannel services that are right for their customers, including how to measure their impact and then optimize over time.

The Omnichannel Commerce Playbook will help you:

1. Analyze the business impact of omnichannel integration. Understanding how to identify and quantify the projected net value of omnichannel capabilities and services translates into a strong business case that drives an organization's overall omnichannel strategy and road map.

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Selecting Professional Service Provider For Your Business Intelligence/Information Management/Analytics/Big Data Projects

Boris Evelson

You've done all the right things by following your enterprise vendor selection methodology. You created an RFI and sent it out to all of the vendors on your "approved" list. You then filtered out the responses based on your requirements, and sent out a detailed RFP. You created a detailed scoring methodology, reviewed the proposals, listened to the in-person presentations, and filtered out everyone but the top respondents. But you still ended up with more than one. What do you do?

If you shortlisted two or more market leaders (see Forrester's latest evaluation)  I would not agonize over who has better methodologies, reference architectures, training, project execution and risk management, etc. They all have top of the line capabilities in all of the above. Rather, I'd concentrate on the following specifics
 
People
  • The vendor who proposed more specific named individuals to the project, and you reviewed and liked their resumes, gets an edge over a vendor who only proposed general roles to be staffed at the time of the project kick off.
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Zuckerberg’s VR Baby Videos Signal Challenges For OVPs

Nick Barber
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to use 360-degree video to capture his daughter Max’s first steps. VR video will immerse family members into the scene, but leave traditional online video platforms scratching their heads. 
 
Virtual reality, or 360 video is video that is shot in all directions at once, typically with two or more cameras. The resulting footage is stitched together and then viewers can scroll around the scene and focus on their points of interest. Hardware for capturing the content ranges in price from $350 to $60,000 or more. 
 
[Image: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg with users on the 12th anniversary of the social network.]
 
VR video can certainly be useful outside of the obvious media and entertainment vertical. Nescafe used it to show the farms where their coffee comes from and Qantas made a tourism pitch for Australia. IBM used 360 video to show it’s data bunker during the US Open tennis tournament last year. 

 

Some of the biggest challenges for Application Development & Delivery pros supporting 360 video include:

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Forrester's Top CRM Trends For 2016 And Beyond

Kate Leggett

In the age of the customer, executives don't decide how customer-centric their companies are — customers do. And while good customer experiences can help control costs, executives are more interested in the potential for sustainable top-line growth. 

Forrester defines CRM as:

The business processes and supporting technologies that support the key activities of targeting, acquiring, retaining, understanding, and collaborating with customers.

CRM is the foundational building block of a company's customer experience strategy to win, serve, and retain customers. It allows empowered consumers and connected employees to do business in ways we just couldn’t conceive of just a few years ago.

Here is a snapshot of 3 of our top 10 trends that you should pay attention to in 2016 and beyond. You can access our full report here.

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