Jenny Williams, the chief marketing officer of health insurer HCF is suitably blunt about the world today’s marketers confront. “We are in a challenging environment.”

Health insurance is highly regulated market she explains and as the cost of health and health insurance goes up every year and consumers look for someone to blame. “It’s often perceived that it’s our fault that health insurance goes up.”

According to Williams, “What we have to do in a somewhat cynical environment is change the way we think about the connection and change the way we think about engaging with people.”

While the importance of customer experience is impossible to contest, Williams says that creating a meaningful connection involves interpreting what HCF mean in people’s lives.

“There are two moment of truths; when you pay your premium and when you make a claim neither of which is a particularly nice experience for anyone.”

As HCF looked deeply into the way people thought of it, the company arrived at what Williams describes as a core truth. “Health is not something I want to play with or make money from. What I want is an insurer that puts my health first.”

The trick of course is to translate that expectation into an experience and at last year’s Adobe Symposium in Sydney, Williams outlined to the more than 2000 delegates how the insurer executed its strategy.

 

HCF’s experience will be familiar to many large incumbent businesses who have found themselves managing an ever rising tide of consumer expectations.

Experience economy

According to Shantanu Narayen, Adobe CEO and chairman, the online world has seamlessly fused with the real world and now experiences are changing and disrupting all businesses.

“Experiences are the new basis for competition. If all we talk about is great digital marketing campaigns we would be missing the point because we think that digital experiences have the power to transform every aspect of our lives. They change the way we think, how we travel, how we spend our money, do our jobs and relate to each other.”

As the world evolves into an “experience economy” Narayen cautions that these experiences can make our lives so much better, but only when they are done right.

He said brands should aim to provide provocative, personal and predictive digital experiences.

Brad Rencher, Adobe’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, Digital Marketing Business likewise emphasises the need to draw the right lessons from the change of recent years. “Digital marketing is not about customers, it’s about people. When you boil it down we are here to give people great experiences. We are in the experience business. It’s that simple and that big.”

According to Rencher, marketers have traditionally been the biggest nurturers and advocates for the customer experiences.

“We are no longer a producer of products or services, we are an economy of experiences. People today share a growing affinity for moments over material. Look at Instagram. All of these millennial are filling their feed with moments in their lives. Marketers need to stop selling products and realise we are selling experiences.”

Technologies like mobile and the Internet of Things, and the data they create will continue to offer brands huge opportunities to develop new ways of engaging with and servicing customers. In turn that shift will force businesses to transform in ways they haven’t had to consider for decades.

“It will challenge how we sell and market. But [also] how we organise, how we reward employees and how we develop products. And its driven by advanced in technology.”

The customer insight brands can gain from technology will help them to continue to improve experiences says Jordan Kretchmer who’s company Livefyre was acquired by Adobe last year. Livefyre is now part of Adobe Experience Manager .
Kretchmer describes how important the customer’s own experience – as described in user generated content has become – not simply as an influential story, but also as a source of data.

“There are 1.25 million pieces of user generated content created every minute, that’s 1.8 billion pieces of content every single day.”

Looked at another way, Kretchmer said that 90 per cent of all the content that exists in the world today was created in the last two years.

And that content is a powerful driver of outcomes he said. “It increases ecommerce conversions, and efficacy and recall and the other metrics marketers care about.”

Platforms to innovate

“Great content fuels great experiences and for Adobe the goal is to bring its Creative, Marketing and Document clouds together to help brands create great experiences,” said Narayen. “It is important to bring content and data together with the right intelligence to help deliver great experiences.” he said.

Adobe Symposium 2017 will be held in Sydney at Sydney Opera House on May 23-24. Register for the live stream today.

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