"We're spending 30 to 40% of marketing spends on digital"

Anika Agarwal, Senior VP and Head-Marketing, Digital and Direct sales, Max Bupa Health Insurance, on how they have created their brand name and awareness among the consumers

by Anam Khan
Published - 30-March-2018
Max Bupa Health Insurance Company Limited is an Indian assurance firm and a joint venture between Max India Limited and Bupa Finance plc UK. It was established for business health insurance in India.

In an interaction with Exchange4media, Anika Agarwal, Senior Vice President and Head-Marketing, Digital and Direct sales, Max Bupa Health Insurance speaks about how they have created their brand name and awareness among the consumers. “We have one of the highest brand awareness amongst all the health insurance providers. We have built the brand with a focus on consumer first solution,” said Agarwal.

She also discussed their recently launched campaign ‘Health Ki Habit’ and how they have tried to target their customers through various digital programs.

Excerpts:

Max Bupa recently launched a digitally enabled health insurance plan. How does it benefit a customer?

If you look at India as a country, there has been growing awareness of health and lifestyle related issues but if you look at the penetration of health insurance, it’s still less than 20 per cent. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, people live in a dilemma that they are not going to fall sick because they are young and healthy. Secondly, most of the insurance plans have only covered hospitalization till now. So if you do fall sick and you go to a hospital, you’ll get the benefits of your health insurance policy. But we at Max Bupa have a purpose and that's where everything stands apart for us. Our purpose is to help our customers live healthier and more successful lives.

We have designed this product in such a way that our customers stay out of the hospital as much as possible. Our sole intention was to make our customers use their health insurance plan every single day. For example, if our customer is visiting a doctor, we’ll make sure that all of their OPD visits are covered. We encourage people to keep a check on the status of their health by regular medical checks and tests because that's something nobody usually does. There are other apps today which measure steps, count calories and remind you to drink water. Our differentiation is that we actually set goals. We have introduced the concept of a personalized health coach, which is not a bot and obviously not a chat. It's a person who actually talks to you, motivates you and nudges you to fulfil your health goals and you also get an incentive based on it.

The stand out point is rewards and incentives, where you get 20 per cent discount on your insurance premium if you stay healthy. The idea is actually to get younger and healthier customers realizing the importance of health at the right time because sooner or later, all of us do fall sick. It's important to realize it this at the right time and buy insurance. Secondly, there has been a big tectonic shift in terms of people using technology. Today, not just the younger generation but the older generation is more comfortable with technology and want everything at their fingertips.

Max Bupa has estimated 26 per cent growth in the premium collection in this fiscal. How much has digital contributed to this?

If you look at it from two perspectives, the overall growth of Max Bupa is 26 per cent but digital channels usually grow faster than offline channels. So you see a growth of about 40 per cent there. Secondly, if you look at the overlap between people who actually research online but actually still purchase insurance offline, it’s huge. Almost 30 per cent of that category of customers would research online but actually go to their agent to buy the plan.

Digital plays a huge role in terms of conversation starters, influence and education and that's how we structure our marketing strategy on digital platforms. An insurance buy cycle is anywhere from two weeks to even six months in some cases. People tend to procrastinate, take a decision and say I am going to discuss with family and come back. How do you really bridge the gap between offline and online, that's what the marketing strategy does.

You have recently launched a new ad campaign that is ‘Health Ki Habit.’ Please tell us more about the campaign and how it has managed to drive brand consciousness among consumers

All of us want to stay healthy. That is a cultural shift that's happened in this country, but it’s sporadic. People tend to pledge to go on a healthy diet and healthy routine but alternatively, they also tend to break it. So the insight behind this campaign was that we are there with you every day. Earlier the whole concept of insurance was to find an agent who knows the insurance policy, fill it, buy it and shut it. Today, we have conceptualized it in a way that it’s with you every day. Now the main challenge we faced was how to make it more meaningful on a day to day basis because insurance is not really used daily.

The idea was to actually personify insurance and create a warm friendly person who is there with you every day. After lot of discussions on who should be the character, we finally landed at this quirky and friendly character who is there with you. He also doesn't mind pushing you, so a lot of humour has been used in the campaign. Apar Shakti has delivered the film wonderfully.

We have made two films of 40 seconds and 20 seconds which is running across platforms. We are also running the film heavily on all digital channels now. We are targeting people who have already seen the film through newer technologies. So somebody who has seen the ad on TV can see the second exposure on digital. The newer technologies are landing online and offline which are sort of complementing each other. Somebody who has seen ad on TV will be then shown something on their social media page as a reiteration of the campaign. We are also doing a lot of influencer pieces just driving ‘Health Ki Habit,’ and you will see more of that over the course of next 15 months. There will be various campaigns where we will prod and nudge people to actually stay healthy.

Being one of the topmost players in the health insurance industry, how do you strategize your marketing fundamentals to reach out to the correct audiences?

As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of customers who actually research online and purchase offline today in insurance and it is a purchase stretched over time. Overall, marketing spends, about 30 per cent to 40 per cent, are now going on digital and for us there is a very strong linkage between what we do in terms of our offline campaigns and what we really get on our website as traffic and finally as conversions. There is a strong ROI that we back the campaigns with.

In terms of the spend mix, about 60 per cent offline spend that we have is split between TV as lead media and radio or print as support. We do not use too much of outdoor because that doesn't work much in our category.

We are mainly focusing on digital medium and a lot of video content. We are also using DMP which is huge for re-targeting and interest-based targeting. So a lot of people that we are targeting with GoActive for example, are young and health conscious people, who are using fitness apps and health sites like 1MG etc. That's relevant, has got textual advertising and that's how the plan spreads.

Talking about the healthcare industry, what are the top four digital trends to keep in mind for 2018?

I think the trends are all the same because people talk about blockchain, AI and so on and so forth. If you look at us specifically, a lot of data and analytics is needed to actually improve health outcomes. So the use of IoT is a big play for healthcare to manage the health of the population and keep them out of the hospital, as I said.

Then, the second one, of course, is the use of AI, chatbot and these tools which are thoughtful digital tools to improve customer care, customer experience and service. So number one is of course service but for us, we can also deliver quality customer care through these tools. Specifically for the insurance industry, trends like automated underwriting will see a huge growth. For more updates, subscribe to exchange4media's WhatsApp Channel- https://bit.ly/2QUdLCK

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