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The insurance industry faces many of the same challenges that the publishing industry faced over a decade ago. Back then, Amazon disrupted the publishing industry when it shifted from being a retailer of books to being a platform for self-publishing, content distribution and advertisinga move that put many smaller and specialized media and publishing companies out of business and impacted the profit margins of larger publishers.

The insurance industry is starting to feel the same pressures as emerging players such as insurtechs and Amazon continue to ramp up insurance services. Like the publishing industry, consumers in the insurance industry are demanding tailored solutions and more self-service options, combined with greater transparency and better pricing.

Nimble technology companies, unencumbered by capital and regulatory requirements, are stepping in to provide more user-friendly insurance services fueled by massive investment. Facing disintermediation, traditional insurers are being forced to rethink how they do business in light of growing expectations from customers.

In this post, we’ll look at the impact emerging technology providers are having on the insurance industry and how ALM, an information solutions provider, built a Customer 360 capability using MarkLogic® to both expand and personalize its customer engagement model.

The Growing Insurtech Impact

Investment in insurtechs has grown substantially, from $140M in 2011 to $2.3B in 2017 with greatest concentrations in distribution and pricing and a focus on P&C business lines, according to McKinsey.

Not included in these numbers is the significant investments being made by the largest global electronic commerce networks to build financial and insurance service offerings for their massive and growing customer bases. A Bain & Company survey found that more than half of U.S. respondents, and three-quarters of those who are 18 to 24, are willing to buy a financial services product from established tech players, with Amazon, Apple and Google topping this list. In China, major online players Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are aggressively investing to dominate Chinese online insurance.

Becoming More Customer-Centric Starts with a Holistic View of Your Customer

The emergence of these technology-enabled providers is driving incumbent insurers to make better use of data assets to improve the customer experience and loyaltysimilar to the situation faced by publishers when Amazon entered the market.

Like the publishing industry, insurers must improve the customer experience to drive brand awareness, loyalty and financial performance. For insurers, better customer experience starts with listening to customers and improving customer engagement. But, like the publishing industry of a decade ago, traditional insurers are encumbered by legacy information technology architectures that inhibit access to a unified customer view. Newer data-centric technologies enable insurers to integrate data about customers, produce better insights, automate processes and deliver user experiences in new ways.

To build more customer-centric operations, many enterprises across various verticals are creating Customer 360° profiles with new generation databases like MarkLogic. By gathering all relevant information about each customer and using semantics to enrich the data, companies can better understand their customers and their needs. As a result, they deliver engaging and personalized information that boosts customer retention, improves departmental operations and assesses the effectiveness of a new product or service.

ALM, a business-to-business information and intelligence media company, recognizing the need to rapidly transform operations in order to continue to grow, created a 360° customer view to capture revenue opportunities with new content distribution.

ALM: Creating a 360° Customer View to Drive Rapid Business Transformation

ALM provides customers with critical news, data, analysis, marketing solutions and events to successfully manage the business of business. ALM serves a community of over six million business professionals seeking to discover, connect and compete in highly complex industries.

To help the company maintain leadership in an increasingly competitive landscape, ALM’s management decided to grow from a legal content provider to a multi-industry information provider through acquisitions and new content. To best manage changes in the marketplace, enable the company to grow and rapidly reap the benefits of acquisitions, the ALM team needed to invest in the integration and management of customer data.

The ultimate goal was to deliver adaptive news and targeted ads tailored for each individual user. With over 60 sources of customer data ranging from internal transactional systems and marketing tools to external data sources, all of these sources of data needed to be combined to create a single master profile that could drive behavioral and context-driven content delivery and advertising.

To integrate the content, ALM first used the MarkLogic database as a central repository for re-use and then moved to delivering content to multiple products and audiences using MarkLogic’s ability to aggregate content from multiple sources and tailor the delivery to just the right content for that product.

To tackle the customer data, ALM initially looked at Master Data Management (MDM) software based on a relational database. After two years without success, the IT team applied the existing MarkLogic database platform to also handle customer data. In just four months, ALM was able to integrate diverse data about customers including registration data, trade show attendance, marketing interactions and external data from LinkedIn® and other sources. With this data, the company achieved its goal: Create a 360º customer view or “golden record” of customers.

With help from the MarkLogic database, ALM grew its content business by creating tailored products, grabbed new revenue opportunities with new content distribution and then increased the value of its content by connecting it to other data in order to create a complete picture of its customers. Additionally, ALM grew online advertising—bucking the industry trend—and also leveraged the data through various means such as improving lead conversion and recommending helpful content to users.

By quickly and easily integrating content from numerous resources with the MarkLogic database, the company can get to market faster than before with new targeted content. Additionally, by leveraging the data integration abilities of the MarkLogic database, ALM was able to more rapidly see gains from acquisitions compared to other companies trying to integrate various systems and content based on legacy technologies.

Using the MarkLogic database for this project provided us incredible ROI. With a minimal investment in the technology, we discovered a 600 percent more effective way to match customers to events, as well as dropping opt-out rates for our B2B marketing team. We’re building products around our customers’ workflow and making their lives easier—which translates into greater revenue opportunities.”

Gene Bishop

VP of Technology, ALM

Find Out More

By using MarkLogic’s Operational Data Hub to create a 360° customer view, traditional insurance organizations worldwide are able to improve customer insights and engagement. Check out MarkLogic’s Operational Data Hub solution for Insurance to find out why leading insurers across the globe select MarkLogic to drive better data management and performance.

For additional details on ALM’s solution, visit the MarkLogic customer page for ALM.

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