Chief Marketing Officer

Travelers’ VP of Enterprise Digital Marketing on Creating a Data-Driven Culture

John Bell, Vice President of Enterprise Digital Marketing at Travelers, offered tips to help marketers build a data-driven culture within their respective businesses during his keynote presentation at the 2018 Marketing & Technology Innovation in Financial Services Forum in Boston on September 27. In his presentation, “Creating an In-House, Data-Driven Digital Marketing Culture,” Bell provided insights to help marketers foster innovation and digital transformation.

Innovation and digital transformation are crucial, especially for marketers who want to help their respective companies stand out in a competitive global marketplace. However, marketers sometimes struggle to define innovation and digital transformation relative to their respective industries – something that can make it tough for these professionals to drive customer engagement.

Today’s marketers often strive to innovate in any way possible. As such, digital transformation now plays a key role in the global marketplace across financial services and other business sectors.

Yet not all marketers understand how to effectively innovate to drive digital transformation. If marketers fail to identify the best-possible ways to use digital tools and technologies, they risk missing out on opportunities to foster long-lasting customer partnerships. Perhaps worst of all, these marketers may put their respective companies at risk of falling behind their rivals in a fierce global marketplace.

“When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. But when it is done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar,” Bell said.

At Travelers, Bell and his team sought to look beyond digital. This approach enabled Travelers to identify ways to use a wide range of marketing tools and technologies to accelerate its revenue growth.

“We are developing marketing as a growth engine for revenue within our company,” Bell noted. “Digital marketing sometimes becomes a Trojan horse for change … and we want to do things to become not just a better digital marketing organization, but a better marketing organization.”

Travelers also explored the channels it used to engage with its target audience.

Social media, mobile devices and other platforms make it easy for consumers to connect with brands from any location, at any time. Meanwhile, Travelers explored ways to provide personalized experiences across these channels.

“Whatever channels that people interact with, we want to know [these channels] and follow them,” Bell pointed out. “We want to personalize our approach so we can make it more valuable to people.”

Furthermore, Travelers become “customer-obsessed,” Bell stated. The company put the customer at the forefront of its operations and searched for ways to engage with its customers and provide them with unforgettable experiences.

“For us, becoming customer-obsessed required us to put the customer – not the investor or the agent – at the center of everything that we do,” Bell said.

Travelers continues to operate as a customer-obsessed business. The company’s marketers regularly collect customer data from a broad array of sources. They then mine this data and seek out actionable insights that they can use to provide customers with the products, services and support that they deserve.

“We’ve created a steady stream of insights about our customers and our agents … that comes from all sorts of research, both old and new,” Bell indicated. “We need to get smart about how we can create better value for our customers and agents overall.”

Content is crucial for Travelers as well. The company strives to produce content that is both informative and engaging. It also explores ways to differentiate its content from rivals’ and ensure that it delivers long-lasting value to its target audience.

Travelers produces everything from thought leadership content to “magnet content” that inspires or engages its target audience. By leveraging different types of content, Travelers is better equipped than ever before to use its content to foster long-lasting customer partnerships.

“We strive to create very focused content experiences,” Bell pointed out. “We have to demonstrate [to customers] that we know your business and show them what is special about us.”

With a data-driven culture, Travelers utilizes data to understand and address problems before they get out of hand. The company uses a variety of data analytics tools and technologies that allow it to access structured and unstructured customer data. Then, Travelers uses this information to understand customer pain points and map out its day-to-day efforts accordingly.

“We want to dig into hard problems for our clients and help them find the solutions,” Bell said. “We’re focused on customer journeys and moments.”

Going forward, Travelers will continue to prioritize a data-driven culture built on being customer-obsessed in all that it does. The company measures its ability to drive awareness and engagement across its customer base, too. That way, Travelers can demonstrate the impact of its everyday efforts and ensure its marketers are helping the company achieve its desired results.

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