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EP #46: Omnichannel personalization and marketing automation lessons from Southeast Asia’s top financial services platform, GoBear

EP #46: Omnichannel personalization and marketing automation lessons from Southeast Asia’s top financial services platform, GoBear

About this Podcast

The BFSI industry acts as the foundation of a nation’s economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has reiterated the importance of insurance in the customers’ minds. At such a time, BFSI brands have adopted a digital approach powered by marketing automation and personalization to engage with their customers.

GoBear is a leading financial services platform in Southeast Asia. Its mission is to improve the financial health of their customers by being a one-stop solution for all financial instruments from insurance to loans.

To learn how the insurance sector is countering adversity during these challenging times, we caught up with Azril Arif, Regional Director- Performance Marketing & CRM at GoBear. 

Azril shares his insights on:

  • The genesis and growth story of GoBear
  • The impact of COVID-19 on the insurance industry
  • How Netcore Smartech’s Marketing Automation solution has enabled them to deliver ‘personalized’ CX seamlessly
  • The underestimated power of Email and Browser Push Notifications as engagement channels that marketers need to use effectively
  • Marketing trends that we can expect to see in 2021: CDP and personalization

Tune in to learn how insurance brands are building a strong connection with customers and achieving growth through a digital-focused approach.

Episode Transcripts

Arihant (Host): Hello guys, welcome to MarTechno, another series of the Netcore podcast. A platform where we hear from leading marketers and Market influence across growth retention and engagement. I’m your host Arihant Jain and joining in is a very special guest today, Mr. Azril Arif who is a regional director of Performance Marketing and CRM at GoBear.com. Welcome Azril, really great to have you join us today. How’s it going?

Azril(Guest): I’m great. Thank you very much, Arihant and it’s my pleasure to be here in your pocket series, glad be here.

Arihant: That’s great. I would like to steal a moment over here and probably share a brief on GoBear. GoBear is a leading Financial Service platform with one mission which is to improve the Financial Health of the customers. They also Empower customers with the know-how tools and financial products to meet their needs. Basically, a One-Stop solution if you’re looking for anything from insurance to loans. Azril, I’ve seen on your platform, there are on the website, there are a lot of products which you created to write from the insurance and it comes to our Travel, Health to credit card, some interesting credit cards offerings that like Air Miles cash backs, dining and lunch. Would you like to share more or with what about GoBear?

Azril: Yeah, thanks for the introduction of the GoBear, and you get it right there. So we are a Financial Services platform and yeah it is we have the vision to improve the Financial Health of Asians. Yeah, and as for now, we see that we have three Groove pillars, and what you just mentioned earlier is just one of the three pillars that we are catering to our consumers which that that is our online fashion School market and this has actually evolved from like being a financial guy will get the comparison service and to be to serve them better and to offer a wider range of products right and just to add on like, In this whole Market, we also have these two new pillars, which are online issues Brokerage in which we have launched travel issues brokerage and we have also launched this initiative digital e-business, which is the third pillar of GoBear.

Arihant: That’s awesome. I just wanted to ask because this pandemic covid-19 is hit all the businesses really hard. I’m sure you guys must be working from home and how is this entire transition from home to office and are you still working from home by the way?

Azril: All right. Now I don’t do it but sometimes I do it from home and as far as we had always been flexible, I cannot lie working in office because somehow I feel that you give me better focus and I get more things done actually by somehow I really like to work from home sometimes so it is that I can feel the comfort and I will be more calm. I wouldn’t say that I have like issues. Yeah, we’ve always been more comfortable. It depends on when I can decide. I  like working for Home and Office.

Arihant: Well, I totally agree because adapting to this new normal was a challenge for us as well. I mean working from home gives you a totally different perspective with work wearing you have to manage work plus the office and it’s exciting. I mean and somehow we got used to it. I also see so many regions to it. Like I see you guys are active in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia. So it’s the same in all the regions so far.

Azril: Yeah, yeah be the same everyone has a choice and I feel that most of them are working from home right now. Sometimes I can tell you know, we all the virtual backgrounds, but once we hear like some case crying in the background or the video there.

Arihant: Right. I mean with this I was just curious about how is it impacting the industry like the insurance industry and other Financial Union structures when it comes to covid in Southeast Asia. Are you having a tough time dealing with it?

Azril; Yeah, is quite tough for us, especially in the beginning of it because a big chunk of our revenue actually comes from travel insurance, however, I think is quite fortunate for us to have to cover several product categories as available and as much as we have been relying on travel insurance for quite some time but we have also skilled and edit few other products. I mean, we are currently covering lending, credit card, mortgage, you know, and all the stuff and this has actually helped us to mitigate the risks, and also at the same time, we have actually managed to scale. Revenue for these other product categories, like lending and mortgage. I feel a lot of people taking advantage of the low-interest rate to refinance their home loans at the same time, like people so like applying for loans, personal loans, especially and even credit cards just to you know to for them to be aware of the financial difficulty might need some cash.

Arihant: Definitely. I’m sure in the travel industry is impacted the most and let’s say for example the health, I think health insurance would be good people making everything and of course, nobody would care to buy a car at this moment when the future is uncertain, so I totally understand the impact and the tough time Insurance sector is going through right now, but over the past since the MCO the is over in Malaysia. Do you think the big business is picking up when it comes to insurance and other Industries?

Azril: This is a mix actually for this right now. I mean in some categories we can see the Improvement by the same time because we are just aggregate them like we Supermarket so we do not offer direct lending here, especially with that, you know Country like Malaysia, so we are seeing that quite a number of banks are tightening their approvals. So in a way that as much as the demand is increasing for some products, but it’s not this same with the back looking at it. So but somehow like we are seeing quite a lot transactions in credit cards getting Cuts in some markets in the Philippines and even just animation about try Insurance somehow like we yeah, we seen that like yes opportunities and car insurance, especially like it because of the pandemic and all I believe that everyone starts to buy everything online and that has helped us to increase car insurance in several markets.

Arihant: Wow. That’s really interesting. That’s great. So as soon as we know GoBear recently got on board with netcore. Maybe we can take a moment and probably tell us about your over links for experience getting on-board it with netcore and probably what did you like the most about it?

Azril: I have been integrating with a couple of similar platforms before I mean in GoBear and even in my previous jobs and I can tell you guy integration has always been my biggest nightmare like somehow this is the second time we were together and I feel is less hassle and most personally I feel that the support is always readily available and most importantly like I guess it’s like I don’t have to ever get worried about getting slightly and should cost whenever I ask for help or maybe like just asked you guys on something, right? So yeah, I think that’s a very big point for you guys.

Arihant: Thank you so much for your kind words. I mean as you know, smartech offers powerful omnichannel automation plus it’s an automation platform. Do you think having such a platform is a new need for the new marketing era going ahead because since footfalls are going down because people are really not very comfortable, you know going to the shops and stores so it’s all online? And what’s your thought about having such an automation platform for GoBear as well as farther Brands. How do you see it? 

Azril: Yeah, I’ll be sure, automation perform should be a top priority for any marketers, right. I think it’s time for Marketers to have direct control over the communication to the consumers, especially in today’s era where everything happened on the digital right all the way from like consider this controller Discovery two properties happening on digital. So like having a platform like Netcore or any omnichannel automation platform will allow us to only trade that behavior but also do something with it, right? And also if you think about it like I will say that like having better products with tons of USPS. This doesn’t cut it anymore as everyone expects the products to be personalized to their needs. So I think it’s very important for us the market is there and highlight the USPs that actually matter to them and we have to do it at the right time and on the right channel and that’s Why this platform is very important for everyone, especially the marketers.

Arihant: That’s very well said Azril, since automation platforms, offer so many channels. I have seen recently that GoBeae is really very active. You have two active emails. So what’s your take on this one? Like email do you think it is something that is really important to GoBear as a Channel of Engagement or what do you suggest to or listeners?

Azril: Yeah, so in GoBear, email is our number one engagement channel or maybe I would say it’s about number one Channel. I actually know it like in Singapore our  Journeys email I mean our automated email has a 91 percent open rate right now. I just saw it yesterday so said well I will and that’s really amazing like, you know, people really want to read what we said to them, especially when it’s relevant to that intent and reading, so email is giving us much better conversion rate because people know it a vision that I will be sharing and like, you know, like people you think GoBear is not to just compare the ship products, but they want to learn more about the programs. So we using the email we are able to share useful knowledge and meaningful information to them depending on their behavior and intent and why they’re interested in and again, we always use And then send it to them at the right time. I think that that’s what makes email very powerful.

Arihant: Absolutely, right communication at the right time is something of which I personally believe that a lot of marketers need to optimize, and did I hear is correct, you said 91 percent open rate in Singapore. I mean, that’s really awesome. Like it’s way above the standard and that’s the pretty good takeaway for email as an engagement Channel. Do you prefer any other channels to do send out your Communications? 

Azril: Yeah, so we try to leverage all channels. I mean like the SMS also have to give is like a very good result. However, SMS costs are as cheap as the other channels. In my opinion, I  feel that browser push notification is underrated. I say underrated because it’s very hard to know to find a good case study around VPN, right? However, I feel that is as powerful as a push notification, it can be very personalized and you can really customize your messaging and you can even add an image to it. I feel that everyone should plan. The VPN is the same way how the plan for emails and other channels as well.

Arihant: Right. So you mean browser push notification, which is also known as the personification is trending and it would ideally give you Optimum conversion engagement with users, especially when in order to get them through the website if they’re surfing on another website, I mean, yes, that’s really thoughtful. That’s great. How about some growth advice to our listeners? I mean in terms of you know, how should a marketer look at the growth marketing and  I believe there are a lot of channels which you achieve its ends to be confusing. So what do you suggest to our Market marketers like a young marketer to look at the growth of digital Industries?

Azril: Everything I ever need to focus on marketing automation, especially on the Omni Channel optimization and I believe that everyone needs to think of it as a marathon, not a Sprint. All right. So if people should take a similar approach to this just like how did they how they SEO right so like you should go slow but you have to be strategy all the time, right? You just have to do what’s right for consumers and then think that how will this benefit the business as well, right? So like whenever you plan, and campaign around like it has to be like driving consumers down the funnel. So if they had a first-time visit to your website and your mindset will be like, how can you bring them to meet funnel? For example, I read useful content, and only after that if they read the content, which means that okay they have got Come on down to the mid-funnel then you think about okay, how do you feed them? How do you push them about the USP of your products right pushing them to buy your product and that can be later.

Arihant: Yeah, I mean coming back to the retentions with faith about the you know, the major challenges we face these days is to get you to know, customers buy from us and again the tap them in order to get converted and worth it. So for retention, You think of the new renewal Communications are really important for them to know Bank on so that you get like Optimum conversion from the old users. 

Azril: Yes that definitely like right. I think it is easier to convert your previous customers than getting the new ones right? So I really think that when it comes to Mark the information the primary focus should be on how you retain your customers. How do you get them to buy from you again? However, when it comes to tactics, you should never be pushing your product because you are talking to people who have experienced your product right? So right composition should be around like you know, like how can you help them be better with your products So in a way that let’s say you selling less expensive Even in our context I GoBear. So, let’s see if someone has signed up for a home loan we go back and we know that okay, this consumer has an interest in homes, or maybe he ingested in a home in insurance. So instead of us that you know pushing the whole issue is directly so we will share some articles related to Like Home Furnishings, even Renovations and then only we will see that a why do not you know you check out some home insurance products as well. So in a way that you know, like it doesn’t have to be direct, right so we can start with some indirect approach some energy readings and then then then only that you start pushing like other products you suppose cell.

Arihant: That’s really insightful again. So I saw a lot of Markets is they have they had like the really big expectation of 2020 but because of the pandemic everything went on a roller coaster ride, some of them they thought it’s an era of AI some of them thought that’s a year of you know, the era of virtual reality so covid changed everything. What do you think? I mean in the future coming back because I think 2020 is already gone. And what do you think about 2021? Do you think CDP or personalization, this kind of module will take the take over the traditional digital channels?

Azril: Oh yeah. CDP position is they feel I already being in 2020 so hugely these days. But I strongly feel that like 21 will be so much different than 2019 especially like with 2020 has you know, right like drive everyone to go digital in almost everything that we do right as something that surprised me the most is like the live streaming, live streaming has got lots treasure actually, you know, whether you can see live streaming almost any social platform today. So I think is equally important for marketers to about how can we leverage this trend and the platforms. I really actually looking forward to seeing how we can leverage your partnership affiliate marketing to be part of the suggestion right when we come to like how do we plan our marketing with our consumers.

Arihant: Right, basis the industry standard what we have noticed personally is this is my working experience also, in the past few months the SVOs, which we call the single view of the customer is trending. I think it’s only possible with CDPs and personalization. Everyone would want to get a personalized message. Now. It’s not restricted to the traditional personalization where you just personalize the name, but definitely, the content needs to be optimized basis once personality and basis of one’s buying Behaviour, or maybe past. Do you think that that’s really important now?

Azril: Yeah. Yes. I think everyone must have it. If you want to be ahead of your competitors. Then you really need to be personalizing your marketing initiative and your messaging this paper.

Arihant: Right. All right. Thank you so much  Azril for giving your time today. I am seriously happy about the session, it was really insightful. Our listeners have enjoyed it too today. Thank you to all the listeners and especially Azril, I’m looking forward to connecting back with you again.

Azril: Sure anytime just give me a call. Yeah, I thank you for having me in this session. Yeah, and to all the other listeners and thank you for listening to the end.

Arihant: Definitely. Thank you, guys. This was your host Arihant Jain along with Azril Arif from GoBear, stay tuned to MarTechno beat for more marketing insights in the future. Thank you so much, guys.

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