Customer Experience Drives Allstate’s Mobile Strategy

drivewiseAt Allstate, the experience comes before the advertising.

“You need to create value before you can market against that value – you can’t go out of sequence,” said Allstate CMO Sanjay Gupta.

That’s especially true on mobile, which now accounts for 30-40% of Allstate’s online traffic.

Allstate is responding to consumer behavior in kind with a suite of utility apps that complement its flagship app offering.

While Allstate’s titular apps focus on more quotidian tasks, such as paying bills, finding an agent and viewing policy information, the Good Hands Rescue tool is like Allstate’s Uber for tow trucks.

Drivewise tracks users as they drive and doles out points, discounts and merchandise to reward good driving behavior. And Digital Locker allows users to keep an inventory of personal property to make it easier to file a claim.

Allstate often tests ideas and features as standalone apps before rolling the functionality into its main app.

“One of the main reasons we have multiple apps is so we can preserve our agility to introduce new things before we integrate them,” Gupta said. “We’re always looking for ways to create capabilities that go well beyond the core insurance level.”

AdExchanger caught up with Gupta at the Mobile Marketing Association event during Advertising Week in New York City.

AdExchanger: How does Allstate add value on mobile?

sanjayguptaallstateSANJAY GUPTA: Rather than looking at mobile through an insurance lens, our idea is to look at the consumer and ask, “How can we make your overall experience better?” If we can enhance that experience with insurance or beyond after that, then we will go there.

Can you share a few examples?

Some of the things we do are simple, like being able to log into the Allstate app using touch ID or accessing an insurance card without having to log in if the user gives us the permissions or being able to drop a pin so you can remember where you parked your car. It’s the small things that make everyday life better.

Beyond that, we have free apps you can use whether you’re an Allstate customer or not. Drivewise helps people drive better and gives them a way to have a better driving experience, while with Good Hands Rescue you can request a tow truck and see the estimated time of arrival just like with Uber. You can even message the driver and send your ETA to friends or family who might be concerned about you.

What’s your user acquisition strategy?

We think about it as relationship initiation. Whether that’s a marketing touch point or someone engaging with one of our apps, once a relationship has been initiated with us, we immediately think about how we’re going to cultivate it.

In order to be successful, we also have to initiate and do it in a way that’s as contextual as possible to you. If you’re stranded at the side of the road, for example, it doesn’t help to talk to you about Drivewise and all the rewards you can get because you just need a tow truck.

How do you approach contextual advertising?

Marketers need to know about customer behavior, but context can also be improved through other types of information, like location.

Say you know someone is getting ready to buy a car. In that case, insurance is likely something that person would be interested in and we can target accordingly. But if we have GPS information to suggest that someone is actually at a dealer, we can make the message far more contextual.

The customer journey goes well beyond A then B then C then D. It comes down to making sure I have products I know will be compelling to the consumer, leveraging data to make my marketing appropriate and gleaning insights so we can have creative that is best suited for that context and that person.

Allstate brought its digital media buying in-house in Q1 2015. How’s that been going?

We’ve been extremely happy with our ability to bring this in-house because we find that we’re much closer to the data, and that allows us to better optimize our marketing. We still have a great partnership with our media-buying agencies, but our internal team has seen good results.

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