Marketing - full of ethical opportunities and risks

Marketers are involved in some of the most important aspects of the customer proposition. This is bringing them into contact with some of the most important ethical decisions facing the sector. 

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Insurance Marketing - the ethical lens

A few years ago, I wrote a detailed overview of the ethical issues that marketers working in insurance should have on their radar. Published by the UK's Chartered Insurance Institute, it is still the stand out text for guiding insurance marketers through the ethical issues they are encountering.

The paper addressed five themes in some detail...

Products and Services - putting the customer at the heart of a business, on three levels: product governance,  product strategy and product design. 

Information and Insight - ever increasing amounts of data are providing marketers with new insights into consumer attitudes. It is also raising some of the fundamental ethical questions that insurance firms face.

Pricing - an important component of every marketer's toolkit, but one which is under intense scrutiny at the moment. It presents some complex ethical challenges for insurance marketers.

Distribution - the proliferation of channels and players has its downsides. Roles become confused and intentions questioned. Conflicts of interest still abound, needing attention.

Partners and Suppliers - insurance marketers, in their role as champion of the customer, need to be aware of the ethical downsides to the many partnerships and suppliers arrangements in the market.

Ethical Culture - the challenge for insurance marketeers - 2016

Click on the guide to go to the CII download page 

Marketing and Digital Ethics

The digital era that insurance is entering presents marketers with countless insights from the data and analytics that insurers are now exploiting. Yet there is a world of difference between 'can I do this' and 'should I do this'. This will present marketers with some challenging ethical decisions.

Two of the key issues are manufactured vulnerability and emotion analysis... 

Insurance marketing and the dangers of manufactured vulnerability (link)

Manufactured vulnerability – how might insurers respond? (link)

How do you feel about insurers tracking and analysing your emotions? (link)

Automating the emotions that drive marketing and sales (link)

Nudging, ethics and modern insurance design (link

Client Project

This client had a distinctive reputation in the market and one of its senior directors wanted a clear map of the ethical issues that might disrupt its growth strategy. A facilitated workshop allowed for a range of issues to be aired, analysed and assigned for more detailed attention. The result was a more confident firm paying attention to how it used new digital techniques to engage with target markets. 

ethical decision making

Click on the course outline for download details 

I help marketing people to understand more about ethical issues so that they can make better decisions...

I help insurers explore the positioning of trust within their customer proposition and the steps needed to manage it. This moves trust from being something everyone likes the idea of, to being something managed and monitored on an active basis.

I often work with firms in a ‘critical friend’ role, bringing them insight from outside their normal thinking. I’ve identified ethical risks that their plans could run into, as well as highlighted when blind spots were influencing their performance. It’s informed, sometimes challenging, often insightful.

Data and analytics are now bringing marketing and underwriting closer together. I’ve participated in a number of insurer workshops looking at the big ethical themes that can come out of this. Some of them have been reputationally very significant. 

I’ve developed a number of ethical frameworks through which senior marketing people have better understood the ethical landscape for their part of the business. This has helped them move from a reactive to proactive approach, giving the right leadership for building trust

Get in touch for an informal chat about how I might help your firm - my details are on the contact page

More articles...

Honest Insurance is now a marketing favourite. What does it say to you? (link)

6 Reasons why Marketing is a Significant Harm Function (link)

Where the really fundamental changes in insurance will emerge (link)

Essential reading for everyone in insurance marketing (link)

A Good Read

'Emotional AI' by Andrew McStay is an important book for insurance people to read because it gets to the heart of the questions they need to be thinking about as they weigh up the use of voice and facial analytics in underwriting and marketing. It's coverage is thorough and well argued. 

Recent Articles on Marketing...

The big ethical challenges facing insurers in 2020

2020 will be an eventful year for insurers. During the many years I’ve been tracking the ethical challenges facing insurers, never before have I seen so many issues demanding attention. Some firms will find the learning curve steep and challenging.

(read more)