Paul Writer launches Innovative Marketer Dialogue,
Video interview series with CMOs highlights marketing best practices
Director & CEO
Max Life Insurance
On Use of Innovative Technology and Marketing
The most recent campaign that we have done is the honest advisor campaign, very interesting and very unusual for the category. We realized after the financial economic turmoil and the down turn, there was a lot of mistrust in the category and mistrust specifically with respect to the sellers. People were suggesting that they were mis-sold rampantly and have been sold all kinds of wrong products, they said ‘we have been told something and are getting something else’. To begin with, it is a passive category. Customers are not aware of what they have gotten into and what to expect.
An external trigger like the economic financial meltdown and change in regulations with respect to products, made customers wake up and realize that they must look at the policies again. They started looking at the policies, something which they had actually put aside, only when an external trigger bothers you, you suddenly go back and you start looking at your papers and realize “Oh my god, is this what I got into” and then to defend themselves they say ‘I was mis-sold, I wasn’t told about this and nobody actually asked me these questions, how am I supposed to know? Therefore there is a complete environment of mistrust around our kind of category is built and that can be very challenging. Imagine the poor advisor who is on a call saying “sir, may I come and help you with your financial planning needs?” and the customers responds and says “go away, I don’t want to see your face.” It’s just completely suicidal for business and we realized that we as a company, right from the beginning, were not party to this but one rotten apple can destroy the whole basket.
Maybe there are a few instances here and there, but by and large our advisors have been trained to follow the right process, to fact find, to perform an analysis, we have got structured formatted templates available which they are supposed to fill before they actually even recommend a product. Our confidence levels in our processes and in our training is so strong that we said; let’s try and take this problem head on. It was a beautiful opportunity that came our way, we did campaigns on the thoughts of “Karo Zyaada Kya Iraada” which meant, go for more plan for your life’s milestones and insurance products which will help you reach there.
From there, when the environment changed we realized that it was important to cross-connect and address this issue of mis-trust and I think this turned out to be an opportunity in disguise because one of the other insights that we got from this experience was that customers don’t understand products, if they had understood the products they would’ve actually gone and got the right products and they would’ve made the right choice. We realized the customers are not buying products because they don’t understand products but instead customers are buying into the advice and are trusting the advisor completely. So in insurance, customers don’t buy products, they buy advice and the right kind of advice is a must.
We actually took a risk, there are more than 30,000 advisors that we have who are dedicated, there is a possibility that may have been one or two odd cases but like I said, that doesn’t stand for the fact that we do have a larger community and a process in place which ensures that our advisors follow the right process.
We did the “Aapke Sachche Advisor” campaign. Now the challenge was, if we used a serious tone, in a manner where we come across as preaching people, they would say “you are not sadhus, why should I believe you?”. It was important to do it in a tone and in a manner that you are not rubbing people the wrong way, you are not denigrating the industry at large. It was not our intent to denigrate the industry, in fact it was our intent to clear the perceptions with respect to the industry and come out as thought leaders in the industry therefore the tone and manner was very important.
“We arrived at this basis through our insights that the customer is feeling slighted, he is operating in an environment of mistrust, his biggest source of mistrust seems to be the advisor and he is not buying into the product and he is buying into the advice, all of this came together in the form of “Aapke Sachche Advisor” campaign or the honest advisor campaign, but then the bigger challenge was, like I said the tonality, the execution, the manner in which we do it and how do we keep it light-hearted without actually rubbing lots of people the wrong way”
We arrived at proposition, which was very different from KZKI (Karo Zyaada Ka Iraada)” we arrived at this basis through our insights that the customer is feeling slighted, he is operating in an environment of mistrust, his biggest source of mistrust seems to be the advisor and he is not buying into the product and he is buying into the advice, all of this came together in the form of “Aapke Sachche Advisor” (honest advisor) but then the bigger challenge was, like I said the tonality, the execution, the manner in which we do it and how do we keep it light-hearted without actually rubbing lots of people the wrong way so we devised this whole route of campaign in an agent’s point of view. This is a message to the advisors, I don’t know if it’s a devil, it’s not meant to be a devil or a bad guy, its supposed to be his conscious and his own inner voice. There is no devil in this, it’s his own inner voice so it’s a message to the advisors themselves that you will get tempted each time to come up with wrong solutions that are more in your interest and not in customer’s interest but don’t give into that temptation, it’s his own inner voice and his own alter-ego in the form of a devil. The campaign was in a light-hearted manner, we took up issues which are relevant to customers where they feel certain things were wrong doings that may have happened in the past and we highlighted that through a series of campaigns, did two-three of them. In fact when New York Life decided to exit India more than a year back, we used the same campaign and the same route to actually come out as a company where nothing has changed, it has only become better and stronger. We used the same honest advisor who simply was wearing a badge of Max New York Life to announce the transition from Max New York Life to Max Life Insurance. He says is “Nothing has changed, I’m still your honest advisor”, while he removes his old ‘Max New York Life Insurance’ badge and puts on a new ‘Max Life Insurance’ badge