Personalization Is Hiscox's Best Policy

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Personalization is Hiscox's Best Policy
Personalization is Hiscox's Best Policy

Small businesses owners can often feel like Goldilocks when selecting services. A database might be too small, or a technology solution might be too big. But rarely do they find services that fit their needs. Global insurance company Hiscox sought to change all of that by using data and segmentation to deliver personalized experiences that are just right.

Hiscox started selling small business insurance three years ago and claims to be the first U.S. insurance company to do so direct and online. “Think of the GEICO and Progressive model for auto,” says Phil Thorn, head of U.S. marketing for Hiscox. “We're trying to replicate that for small businesses.”

The small business owner is Hiscox's target demographic. And after listening to feedback from focus groups, the company discovered that this segments' primarily insurance-related complaints were regarding non-responsive policy brokers, drawn-out renewal processes, and complex terminology.

“It really is the business owners who are doing everything,” he says. “They're running the business and finding new customers. And if they need insurance, they put it on hold because it's static, it's complicated, it's confusing, and they don't know what products they need.”

Hiscox wanted to enable small business owners to buy the plans they want directly. But not every business has the same needs; an IT consultant might need different coverage than a graphic designer, for example. To provide tailored experiences for each industry, Hiscox partnered with multivariate testing and website personalization company Maxymiser in 2012.

Counting your losses

One of the main objectives of the partnerships was to narrow the gap between key performance ratios. For instance, Thorn noticed a gap between the number of site visits and the number of start quotes. There was also a difference between the number of people starting a quote and the number of people completing a quote. To solve this dilemma, Hiscox inserted a line of Maxymiser's JavaScript into the header of each page on its website. This code enabled Hiscox and Maxymiser to either modify a page or track an action on it, explains Michael Blumenfeld, consultant for U.S. financial and insurance services at Maxymiser.

Hiscox and Maxymiser then analyzed ways the insurance company could push people through the quote process—such as by looking at which pages had the highest traffic, bounce rates, lost leads, and opportunities—and conducted multivariate testing for about six to eight months. For example, from January to March 2013, the companies tested redesigns of the Start Quote page and measured the number of online quotes submitted.

The insurance company also decided to implement Maxymiser's MaxSEGMENT technology to segment its incoming site traffic and tailor the content accordingly. If a prospect enters the Hiscox website from a brand search, for instance, Hiscox can direct her to a page that talks about Hiscox as a company, Thorn explains. On the other hand, if a prospect comes to the site from a pay-per-click keyword, Hiscox can direct him to a page that showcases different Hiscox products. The company also can segment its audience by whether they're a first time visitor.

In addition to tailoring its content based on different segments, Hiscox can customize its content through the information it collects onsite. For example, when consumers inquire about a quote, Hiscox asks them for two main data points: the industry they work in and their geographic location. The brand is then able to customize the rest of the quote process, including the policy application questions, product suggestions, savings messages, and testimonies.

“If I'm an IT consultant, I might see a testimony from an IT consultant like me,” Thorn explains. “These small messaging points through the journey reinforce this idea that we specialize in your industry and that we customize our coverage to your needs.”

Through this combination of data and segmentation, Hiscox has been able to identify the top 10 occupations that are most likely to buy and provide them with specific user messages.

Breaking down the basics

But if Hiscox wanted to empower small business owners to make informed policy purchases, it needed to educate them on how to do so. For instance, Hiscox discovered that about 12% of its audience spent more than five minutes on the first page of the quote process before clicking “Start Quote.” Consumers were spending a “significant” amount of time on this page, Maxymiser's Blumenfeld says, because they were searching for product information. “They should be educated before,” he says.

To inform its prospects before they started the quote process, Hiscox produced an educational video campaign in 2013. These 60-second videos were featured on Hiscox's product pages and helped break down the complex policy terminology so small business owners could go through the purchase process and buy the insurance policies on their own, Thorn says.

“It's not like you're buying a movie online or a video game,” Blumenfeld notes. “It's something that's going to impact them in the long term.... To [prevent] someone from leaving and abandoning, we really needed to make the content not only pop to increase page stickiness, but we needed to give them the right education.”

The videos generated an 8.97% increase in conversions for started quotes and a 9.58% increase in conversions for completed quotes. In addition, there was a 9% increase in conversions for Start Quotes and a 9.6% increase in conversions for completed quotes by testing the sizing and placement of the “Start Quote” button.

In terms of future developments, Blumenfeld says that Hiscox plans on investing in predictive modeling. But for now, on-site customized content continues to be Hiscox's claim to fame.

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