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In 1996, Bill Gates coined the phrase ‘content is king’. Gates believed that much of the real money on the internet would be made by content, just as it was the case with the broadcast revolution that preceded the internet age. He was remarkably prescient.
Today content doesn’t merely make money, it has become the primary communication link between brands and consumers. Policybazaar is a prime example of harnessing the power of content. With its content-led marketing, Policybazaar, India’s largest digital insurance platform, has grown its web traffic from 45,000 average users per day in 2014 to 370,000 in 2020.
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We bring to you the story of this remarkable transformation.
As early as in 2014 when Policybazaar had completed six years of operations, it decided to shift its marketing pivot. All its marketing would revolve around content.
“We wanted our communication campaigns geared towards making Policybazaar a household name whenever anyone thinks of insurance,” said Aman Dhall, Head, Corporate Communications, Policybazaar at a webinar series called Power Talks held for the leadership team of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). Dhall spoke on the role of PR and content in building Brand PolicyBazaar.
“We see ourselves as the most trusted provider of a wide variety of insurance. If you see our campaigns in the past, they had themes like ‘Compare karo’ and ‘Ullu mat bano’ to reinforce our purpose as a platform for making informed insurance choices,” he added.
The company simultaneously worked on the SEO front with the same objective of becoming synonymous with insurance. Policybazaar was soon the top result for internet searches around insurance. Similarly, on the public relations front, when people read about the insurance sector in the press, the idea was to make expert voices from the company unlock the complexities of insurance for the public.
“The whole story was rooted in the thought process that we should be on the top of the consumer’s mind. This was a story of collaboration, and most importantly, content doing the communications heavy lifting,” he added.
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The messaging in our campaigns echoed the problems faced by consumers, which were trying to solve as a company.
“The insurance industry was a very push driven. As a result, misselling by agents was rampant. Hence, we decided to empower the consumers by allowing them to compare a host of insurance products on our website and make a buying decision. That is how the ‘Ullu Banna Achi Baat Nahi’ campaign was born in 2011,” Sameer Sethi, Head, Brand and Marketing at Policybazaar.com told PB Life.
In 2015 marked a new turn in our marketing-communication strategy. Since insurance suffered the reputation of being a complex product to understand, Policybazaar signed up actor Kapil Sharma for a TV campaign to give a comic touch to explain the intricacies. Then in 2018, Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar was roped in for the ad campaigns. He played the character of Yamraj and the impact of the ad was huge as customer enquiries for term insurance, and sales more than doubled after its release.
“In earlier campaigns, we had shown the USP of our platform which gives the customer a chance to compare and choose what is right for them and make an informed decision. Now, we have grown manifold in size and taken the responsibility of spread awareness about the fundamental importance of term and life as protection products,” said Sethi.
Yashish Dahiya, Group CEO and Co-founder, Policybazaar said that we needed to solve the biggest issue of educating the consumer around insurance and in the last 12 years, we've spent more than Rs 1500 crores in running awareness campaigns explaining the significance of buying insurance in India.
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SURFING THE SEA OF SEO
While marketing and advertising campaigns were used as short-term measures to attract audience attention, SEO-led content creation and PR were the engines that powered sustained consumer engagement.
“Search Engine Optimization has always been an integral part of marketing at Policybazaar. SEO does not require big spends, but when done well, the website visits convert into sales better compared to other channels,” Divesh Yadav, Associate Vice President, Search Engine Marketing told PB Life.
The number of visits on the site through SEO was 500,000 per month in 2015 across all products and now the site gets 5.5 million visits a month. The SEO leads that require almost zero investment have generated annual premium collections of nearly Rs 350 crores—roughly 20% of Policybazaar’s sales.
“We have been able to achieve this because our focus was on quality content. The content team writes well-researched articles for the website. There is hardly a day when we do not offer fresh content on the site. Thanks to this strategy, Policybazaar remains the top search result on Google,” added Yadav.
On the PR front, the company started its journey by ensuring that it was able to create lots of content that was media friendly.
“We did engage a PR firm for a while but moved the function in-house in 2014. We realized that the major pain-point for journalists was not the information but the time it took to reach them. So, we decided to set up an in-house team. In the industry, people generally depend on an agency for distribution of information, but we decided to do it ourselves, and that’s something unique,” said Dhall.
The public relations team quickly strengthened its media relationship and ensured that the information reached journalist without delay.
“We made our spokesperson accessible. We ensured that we were able to provide them with lots of data and meaningful insights that journalists valued to enrich their stories, said Dhall.
“In the early stages, it was all about making Policybazaar a part of the media stories. Soon the content generated by us began to set the pace. We were in a position to influence the themes media chose to write,” That’s how we went about developing those relationships and creating visibility around our products,” he added.
Distribution is a key element of communication. Your message must find as big an audience as possible. For a business, this ought to translate in the form of site traffic and lead to more sales.
Policybazaar worked with nearly 50 insurers; at any given point, there were over 500 products available on the platform. “This meant a lot of content and a lot of things to talk about. We ensured that we were able to create lots of messaging points which were in sync with the larger messaging of the benefits for consumers when they compared products,” he added.
The major objective of communication was making people buy insurance as a protection tool rather than an investment product.
“The advantage with SEO and PR is that it's not only organic marketing, but also a long-term trail. It builds reputation, credibility, perception and is a very powerful influence. Unlike advertisements which create a short-term impact, PR and SEO sustains the momentum,” Dhall added.
“We work closely with our business heads in ensuring that we are able to cater to their demand of product PR,” said Dhall.
Share-of-voice in news stories around life and health insurance was less than 5% when active PR outreach at Policybazaar began six years ago. Today, it is more than 50% in tier 1 and tier 2 media.
For Policybazaar, content is King Emperor!
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