How can... data gathering be used more effectively in our business?
Employers are still spending on the health and wellbeing of staff despite trimmed budgets. Cheshire-based PMI Health Group provides a range of employee healthcare products, including employee assistance programmes and absence management initiatives, but around 70 per cent of its products are insurance-based.
The group, with 138 employees and an annual turnover of £8.7m, has launched an international division, PMI Global, to tap into a growing market for expatriate employee health insurance cover. Its key challenge has been to identify potential clients from data it gathers on companies that may deploy staff overseas.
Operations director Rachael Floyd, explains: "We buy information on employer surveys, we subscribe to data services, and we gather our own. We look at companies that potentially have people working abroad, or gather data by sector—for example, clothing retailers, some of whom will have buyers spending time overseas."
Having identified clients, the company uses direct mail, email and telemarketing techniques to glean more detailed information. "We gather large amounts of data, but analysing it is time-consuming, and we need to make it work more efficiently for our business," says Floyd.
Tracking insurance-buying patterns is an extra challenge. "Policies are generally renewed every two or three years, so data has to be monitored continually. We do have a CRM system, but we feel that a greater degree of automation could be of benefit," she adds. So how can gathered data be used more effectively? We ask three experts...
What the experts sayJon Hill, head of advisory services, Inca
The key thing for you now is to develop a model containing the characteristics and triggers present within your target market. Investing in a business intelligence tool will allow you to load in your gathered data and set up alerts, such as insurance policy renewal dates, to help identify candidates for targeted marketing activity.
It is vital to record the activity and the success of each campaign to understand where results are coming from; was it your segmentation of the market and alert setting, or your marketing approach?
The final stage is to close the loop and change the initial model to reflect the results for success in the future. This will allow your company to continue to innovate its approach to business based on facts and data, and achieve a winning strategy.
Daryl Jay, business development director, Marketscan
Your internal analysis of what is a huge amount of data could be improved using business DNA profiling. Using data from an existing customer file, an external marketing services supplier could establish a business DNA profile of your typical client, which can be used to screen out your list of client prospects. This would improve your internal data analysis processes.
Crucial policy renewal data is something that prospects are reluctant to provide, but you could trade for it with data of your own. For example, you could conduct a Web-based survey of expats—individuals, not companies—to establish which healthcare benefits and products they value most. This is valuable employee engagement data that prospective clients may be willing to exchange for their insurance renewal dates.
Andy Neely, deputy director, Advanced Institute of Management Research
Organisations struggle to get on top of customer data because there is
so much available. To boost effectiveness, I suggest three things. First, think about the story behind the data, not the data itself. Secondly, build the organisation's capability to unpack this story. Create a team to analyse the information, but don't limit analysis to customer data; consider all of your performance data. Thirdly, think about performance architecture. Consider who needs to come together, with what information, at what time, and to make what decisions. Without a clear structure you'll end up with wonderful analytics, but no action.
Business Clinic is published in association with IBM ibm.com/engines/uk