Effective marketing and messaging demand a personal touch–but during a pandemic, it’s table stakes. However, showing empathy at scale requires marketers to strike a balance between automation and customization. Personal insurance shopper Jerry has cracked the code, delivering “individualized” communications catering to nearly 30 different–and fiercely personal–customer journeys.  

For an episode of Reimagine Growth, Peggy Anne Salz recently caught up with John Spottiswood, Chief Operating Officer at Jerry.ai, a free, automated agent who takes the pain and expense out of car and home ownership. John shares the strategy that allowed his company to achieve a 20% bump in conversions. He also talks about changes he has observed and best practices for marketing in the COVID-19 era. 

Put people before profits 

If ever there was a time to put people before profits—it’s now. Your customers want to know that you aren’t just trying to make a quick buck off of them in their time of need and that your company is helping be a part of the solution in any way it can. And John says he sees that even the often-maligned insurance industry is taking that message to heart. 

“A lot of our carrier partners are actually returning money to our customers because they’re not driving as much and, therefore, they’re not getting in accidents which is really nice,” he says. John also tells us that because Jerry.ai’s mission is to save customers money even when there isn’t a global pandemic putting pressure on people, the company was well situated to help as customers look for savings any where they can. 

John says Jerry.ai has saved customers an average of a little less than $900. “So that’s a lot of money that we’re putting back into people’s pockets for spending a few minutes of their time with us and I think I really feel good about that,” he says. 

Convincing customers to convert 

John and the Jerry.ai team have a slightly different challenge than many marketers. They are often looking to find people who aren’t actively interested in or shopping for new insurance. He says, “We’re reaching out to people that probably have felt like they needed to shop insurance or should have, could save money for five or six years but it just always seemed too painful, they’re worried about personal information getting out or people calling them once they completed the process.”  

With the casual shopper in mind, the Jerry.ai team focuses less on personalizing the advertising message, and more on delivering a targeted customer experience. “Where we really get personal is once we’ve gotten them into our flow,” says John “You can imagine every customer comes from a different situation. Some have existing insurance and they’re looking to see whether they can save money on it. Others, you know, have had insurance in the past but they aren’t currently insured either because they didn’t have a car, they’ve been out of the country or maybe, you know, they had a lapse.”  

Others may be buying insurance for the first time or have had accidents impact their premiums. 

 “And then of course they all have a different sort of demand for how much insurance they want, how many assets they have that they feel need to be protected. And so we need to be able to communicate very individually based on their situation.”  

All of this data allows John’s team to communicate on a more personal level. For instance, he says, when the team knows it can save a customer a lot of money on their existing policy, they get a very different message than someone who might be under-insured at the moment. “So, you can imagine how personal this messaging needs to be,” John says. “And we have built tools to enable that very personalized messaging… Literally we’ve micro-segmented to the point where there’s almost 30 separate journeys depending on which group you fall into.”  

Of course, John says, none of this would be possible without the right platform. The ability to automate these journeys hasn’t just save the Jerry.ai team precious time, it’s actually increased conversions. “Yes, we’ve estimated that our messaging…probably increased our conversion rate at least 20% and the savings on an individual basis is in the tens of thousands a month in terms of what it would take to have human beings, you know, manually triggering these messages even if they were canned, meaning not personally penned.” 

To learn more about how the Jerry.ai team is tackling personalization during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, check out the full interview here

We are in challenging and exciting times as marketers everywhere on the planet rewrite the playbook to drive positive results for their campaigns and their customers. To do both, we need guidance and good advice from marketers who freely share their expertise and experience. Reimagine Growth is a series equipping marketers to take charge of change in the marketplace — check out all the videos in this series here and subscribe to the YouTube channel to keep updated as new videos are added.