Q&A: Niall Mackenzie: Search for solutions


Niall Mackenzie leads the sports betting and e-gaming sector at Google. He outlines the digital lessons the insurance industry could learn.

‘Digital’ seems to be a buzzword in insurance at the moment. Why do you think this is?
Digital was once a buzzword but now it’s so much more than that – not just in insurance, but in all markets. There are a number of factors for this but there are two that are more meaningful.

First, digital environments are where your customers spend their free time. It’s where they look for reviews or to have a conversation with your brand. It’s where the moments that matter in the build-up to a decision take place and more often than not, it’s where the purchase itself is being made.

Second, it’s so much more accountable than traditional methods of advertising. You can, in real time, see the impact of each impression or click on the bottom line of your business.

You’ll be talking about the gambling industry at our Data Analytics Event. What lessons can the insurance industry learn from the data-rich gambling industry?
What we’ve started to see is the value of a click is different to everyone. Five years ago, there was one model – last click – and the organisations with the best customer relationship management systems or the best products that could derive the most value from the user were those who were able to make display profitable. Now, no two models we’re exposed to are the same and that’s come as a direct result of a more effective use of data, in particular in the process of attribution. As an illustration of that, we’ve seen mobile costs-per-click
in search rise by 550% since 2013 – albeit from a low base. This means advertisers are willing to now pay five-and-a-half times what was once their maximum, because they’ve used data to understand there are benefits to being present earlier in the purchase funnel.

You’ll also be talking about data and infrastructure. How important is making the most of structuring and segmenting data?
Very. In my opinion, the most important opportunity a lot of businesses haven’t made the most of is building their data stack in such a way that they’re able to have a single customer view – with the focus not being just on digital but on the entire business. With Google products such as Universal Analytics or Adometry, businesses are in a position to pull in data from traditionally offline channels, merge it with digital and begin to then use that data in a more meaningful way leading to improved sales and customer retention.

Which other speakers on the day are you most looking forward to hearing from?
Although coming from outside of the insurance industry, Matt Mills’s talk on behavioural analytics and its use in detecting fraud sounds fascinating. Matt’s talk is true to the title of this event and, by giving a practical example of applying innovative technology to the industry, I’m sure it will prove very interesting.

Can you explain more about Google’s ‘See, Think, Do’ framework? How is this relevant to the insurance industry?
Essentially, this is a framework for thinking about how to structure your digital advertising approach to customers at each different stage of their consideration process, from not considering your brand all the way through to hopefully purchasing a policy with you. ‘See’ is very much the top funnel stage where you target customers – those people who have insurance and aren’t necessarily in the market for a new policy, but you know that one day they will be. ‘Think’ is the stage when your target customers have decided they’re in the market for a new policy, while ‘Do’ is the stage at which the user is ready to take an action. We’ll look at how you can tell where each consumer is and what the best method for targeting them at each stage is.

What is your view of how the insurance industry is using technology – are companies doing enough to keep up with big consumer brands?
Having previously worked with an insurance client, I’d have to say the desire to keep up is there. However, outside of the digital marketing departments, it’s a real challenge. The biggest gap I’ve noticed is that insurance brands don’t put enough emphasis on creating a constant dialogue or conversation with the client. If you look at the conglomerates such as P&G or Unilever, their brands are consistently finding a way to communicate with their target audience, especially online.

What sorts of lessons could the insurance industry learn from Google in terms of digital?
The biggest lesson that can be learnt is how our business has pivoted in the last few years. We now follow the definition of ‘mobile first’ to the letter, as this is now the consumers’ choice device.


Insurance Data & Analytics 2015 – 24th September, Radisson Bloomsbury

Today, data is fast becoming our most valuable commodity. But simply hoarding data is no guarantee of success. In fact, allowing your data to pile up 
in silos and sit gathering dust is much like owning a super car without the key, it might look impressive but it won’t get you anywhere.

Insurance Data & Analytics 2015 is focused on turning information into insights, getting your data working for you and reaping the rewards of driving your business forward with data-informed strategy.

The agenda is set the feature pioneering case studies centred on real-life experiences. Discover how our data-rich industry is cashing in on this glut of information and transforming our world as we know it.

As well as Google’s Niall Mackenzie, delegates will hear from James Murray from Microsoft speaking about what our searches reveal about us and how this data can be leveraged by marketers; and Ian Massingham from Amazon Web Services explaining how cloud can give you a technological advantage.

RSA’s director of digital Stuart Booth will also outline why Mr and Mrs Average are dead and how insurers need to create personalised services.

For more information, including how to book, please visit www.postevents.co.uk/dataanalytics

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