Renewal Model Businesses: Pay Close Attention to Cadillac, Amazon, #Insurtech

November 17, 2017 Alan Kittle

The average heavy smartphone user checks their phone 150 times a day. 150 TIMES A DAY. On top of that, they—or more accurately, 90% of “they”—think that’s healthy.  Their need to experience micro-euphoric moments again and again, all day and often at night, fuels this behavior, and it’s creating an entirely new set of expectations in the way businesses interact with them.

Amazon Prime. They love it. They were raised by it. It’s their church. The gratification is near religious, and almost immediate. Plus, they don’t have to leave their couch. Thus, almost inevitably, Bezos has created the Prime Generation, raised believing they can engage with businesses anywhere and get whatever they want, anytime they want it. And they also expect a return of their attention. They expect these very businesses to use their personal data in a way that betters their lives and imbues their interactions with more meaning and purpose.  

At the same time, younger generations are also beginning to deal with the many sobering pressures of “adulting.” Often a bit later than their parents, they are now dealing with the adult enterprises of marriage and buying a home, plus all the grown-up buying decisions that come with home purchase—such as insurance, home utilities and home security. Which leads me to a point. Actually…THE POINT.

It’s Time to Change Your Business to Support Customer Demands

If you’re in a traditionally “passive” renewal business, and if acquiring and maintaining young adults as clients is important (how could it not be?), it’s your duty to seriously rethink both your product user experience (UX) and your engagement models.  Because the DNA in Generation Y (or better yet, Generation Why?) is not forever tied to the old “set it and forget it” business style. There will be times when they need much more engagement—and they need it quickly. When they need the flurry of energy and interaction to satisfy their desire for control.

At other times, they may ignore your interactions because they have no reason to give you their time. It doesn’t mean they don’t #Like you anymore or that they’re planning to remove you from their lives. But understand that they call the shots and that you need to be ready to engage on their terms. Accept this, make some changes, or watch much of your business, in the years to come, fly right out the door.

#insurtech Supports the “Compulsive Checker”

A few wise insurance brands are already stepping up. A search in #insurtech (insurance technology) will quickly locate “disruptors”—like Slice, Lemonade and Trov—brands who have already adapted to the mindset of the “compulsive checker” by creating mobile-first, on-demand products that engage very successfully with their nonstop interactivity and need to adapt in the moment. If they choose to, they can “instantly” add or remove possessions from their renter’s policy. Or, if they’re an Airbnb host, or Uber driver, they can turn coverage on and off, whenever needed.

“In the moment” is a phrase very familiar to any successful customer experience professional. The brands mentioned above are practicing a slightly different version: protecting in the moment. And it’s working bigtime. VCs and Millennials are signing up nonstop. Incumbents are desperately trying to keep up by creating their own accelerators, or investing in startups to find a solution to their legacy latency. And it’s no wonder. The benefits to be reaped are mighty. We’re talking about an industry worth trillions of dollars. It’s no surprise then that much of the planet is spending most of their time trying to create products and interfaces that can satisfy the 24/7 interaction that “checkers” thrive on.

Home Security Embraces Mobile-First

The home security industry, too, gambling big on the Internet of Things, is wisely embracing innovation for the mobile-first mindset. Ring, Nest Secure, Amazon Key —these devices connect to your Amazon Echo, or Google Home, or Apple HomePod, and enable you to monitor and control the space all around your home via apps alone. You’re in a restaurant 30 minutes from home. There’s been a few break-ins in your neighborhood. You check your front porch and the area around your house…all’s good. Time for Snapchat, and yeah, let’s Instagram your dinner.

Amazon Key home security system connects to your Amazon Echo.

Established brands like ADT have been right at the cusp of this movement all along. Because of their pedigree, they have both the authority and the credibility to maintain market share if they can successfully migrate their customers to the newer and more effective wireless home-monitoring Pulse system.

The connected home has turned into a marketing war zone—a Gettysburg of warring ideas—where competing connected sensor brands and smart device makers (e.g. Samsung, GE) are battling it out for dominion. Why anyone would need or desire a smart Crock-Pot is somewhat beyond me, but the peace of mind ensured by being able to check carbon monoxide levels and water pressure will become increasingly valuable because younger homeowners will expect this information to flow right alongside the many streams they already consume.

Book by Cadillac Offers Car-of-the-Moment Functionality

In the automobile industry, with ride sharing on the rise, car brands are going to have to step up and deal with this. Like…now. How will they disrupt their present multi-year lease or purchase offers and create something more in tune with the behavioral zeitgeist? Cadillac has an idea. An interesting one. And it’s already launched.

Book by Cadillac reinvents the art of leasing. You pay one monthly fee to keep a car—a Cadillac—but any time during the month you find yourself bored by your choice… Presto! You just swap for another. Say it’s summer. It’s warm and gorgeous out. Get yourself a performance sedan—convertible of course. Put the roof down, put on some music and cruise on down to your favorite beach. Or say winter is beginning to glare cold and angrily from a snow-packed horizon. Get yourself a sturdy AWD SUV, made to drive through any type of weather. Turn up the heat, hit the gas, and in two hours, you’re downhill skiing. This all comes at $1,500 a month, including insurance and regular maintenance. You are not locked and imprisoned inside a long-term contract.  You can switch cars ANYTIME YOU WANT! Up to 18 TIMES A YEAR! For a generation sold on the dream of mobility, forever restless, impatient, looking for something new, this a brilliant offering. Cadillac is out of reach for most, but you can rest assured the entire automotive industry is watching this very closely.

The day might well arrive when society says enough is enough and decides to undo the lock that mobile technology has on our lives. But that day isn’t coming any time soon.  There are many other business models out there “Prime” for disruption. These new kids on the block have made some impact. They’re on to something. You might want to get on it, too. Because if you don’t…those trillions we talked about before…they’ll just trickle down into the hands of others.

About the Author

Alan Kittle

With over 25 years’ industry experience, Alan’s been leading award-winning integrated agency creative departments since 2006. He possesses extensive sector knowledge and is a master of the complete creative process – from brand creation to lead generation. He promotes his passion for big thinking and ‘ideas first, channels second’ mentality within his teams, by always looking for ways to encourage disruptive and brave creative decisions from his clients. Involved in all of Harte Hanks’ creative relationships with global brands including Samsung, Progressive, Bank of America and Sony, Alan loves creating ground-breaking content that wins awards and drives ROI.

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