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Chris CiccarelloSenior Director, Pricing and Customer AnalyticsFarmers Insurance Group
Though traditional metrics still play a role in brands’ marketing strategies, predictive technology is what keeps companies moving forward. Predictive tools make historical data actionable, and enable brands to make more informed marketing decisions. Chris Ciccarello, senior director of pricing and customer analytics at Farmers Insurance Group, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about how predictive analytics help strengthen the brand’s personalization efforts.
eMarketer: How does predictive technology fit into your overall approach to marketing?
Chris Ciccarello: It’s a key part of the marketing strategy. One area of focus is understanding how long we will retain specific customers and how we can grow our business with them. We use historical data to figure out what appeals to customers and use predictive tools to project that into the future and determine the right products and messages for them. It helps ensure that we get the right mix of spending and optimize what we’re putting out into the market.
eMarketer: How are predictive analytics better than traditional metrics?
Ciccarello: Traditional metrics are typically backward-looking. Looking backwards is important because that’s where the historical data is, but now it’s about projecting that forward.
eMarketer: How do you ensure you’re getting the right insight on your customers?
Ciccarello: Our senior leadership sets clear goals for the year, and the functional teams collaborate to hit the goals. One thing we do a lot is test and learn. You can’t measure it if you haven’t tried it, right? Experimentation is a key part of advancing our knowledge, whether that’s a change in ad spend or more personalized messaging. Technology is also critical. We’ve got a lot of data and we’re getting better at pulling it together.
eMarketer: What kind of data do you rely on?
Ciccarello: We’ve got a ton of data on our own customers, but we also work with third parties to add to our knowledge and improve our understanding of what would appeal to prospective customers.
eMarketer: How are you using predictive tools to improve personalization in your marketing?
Ciccarello: Personalization is a huge initiative for us. [We need to be] better at understanding our customers and what they’ve liked in the past in order to target them with a message that works for them. Whether it’s somebody that has some trepidation about insurance, or somebody else that wants a breadth of offerings, tailoring the message is absolutely something that we are working on.
eMarketer: What are some of the challenges you face as you implement predictive tools?
Ciccarello: One big challenge is getting all our data together to be able to do the analytics we want to do. Another challenge is getting the right talent to perform the modeling and advanced analytics. We need folks who have both strong analytic ability and the ability to work with big data.
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