Zurich Insurance believes in giving it customers not just what they require but also at that time and place where they require it and in a fast, easy and fair (Zurich, 2010). This is not always very easy especially bearing in mind the changing circumstances of the market and needs of these customers. That is the reason why companies usually devise marketing strategy to guide them towards this end. In this paper we will be exploring the best way of achieving exactly that.
As mentioned in the case study, Zurich operates in more than 170 countries distributed in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Middle East. The market in these countries that Zurich operates is very competitive. And as a result, Zurich needs to provide the best products to its customers as a measure of enlarging its market share. The key issues discussed in this paper are market research and how it has been used in developing a business strategy. The importance of customers is highlighted this is the basis of developing a good business strategy. Through the application of the Swot analysis of the Zurich Company the company has established a good business strategy that will enable the company. The case study illustrates how Zurich used its strengths in developing a competitive advantage in the market (Cummins & Xie 43). These included; strong brand name, a good reputation and other values. The success of the company has also been based on avoiding its weakness and instead seeing every opportunity that may present its self. The opportunities as well as the other factors in the Swot analysis could only be realized through the use of Zurich’s research.
Vision, Mission, and corporate Objectives
Being customer-centered in the Provision of what the customers require, and at the appropriate place and time, in a fast, easy and fair way (Zurich, 2010). And also, to provide the best possible products for the company clients in order that the company can compete and grow its market share
In order to achieve those marketing objectives contained in its vision, Zurich Insurance will advertise aggressively across the globe using a combination of both outdoor and airport billboards, internet and especially its website, sponsoring art and sporting events, and email and direct mail marketing (Zurich, 2011).
- Corporate Objectives
Zurich aspires to be a leading insurance provider, as measured by among others, customers’ satisfaction, employees’ engagement, and shareholder returns (MCIS Zurich, 2010). The company research has showed that its customers essentially require a relevant and reliable help from the insurance provider they are involved in, which is actually what the HelpPoint concept was initially invoked. However Zurich has come to realize that it brand ought to go beyond the word “help” which has became synonymous with the launch of the HelpPoint concept (MCIS Zurich, 2010).
Zurich Insurance believes that marketing is for each and very employee working with this company, this is essentially the reason why all members of staff of this company have been encouraged to devise new and innovative ideas that will enable the company offer better services. Other than being innovative the company realizes that they also ought to have a customer-centric emphasis (Zurich, 2010). In order to be in touch with what its customers want Zurich Insurance realizes that there is need to employ market research consistently in a bid to get up-to-date information on the customers’ requirements and needs and also launch more effective ways of helping it customers. This will also enable the company institute changes that it believe will lead to, the retention of customer and their loyalty, improved financial returns (i.e. higher profits), market leadership or what we can refer to as being the number one in offering insurance services, energize the company employees because of the way they suggest new and innovative ways of being competitive, and lastly, increasing the Zurich brand value (Zurich HelpPoint, 2010).
Zurich Insurance was founded in 1872 and it’s a financial services group based in Switzerland (Zurich) where the headquarters are located. The services offered by Zurich include; motor insurance, life insurance, risk management, investments and pensions, and business insurance programmes. In an effort to improve their product provision to the customers, Zurich Insurance decided to conduct a market research based on the fact that it is a customer-centric firm. This was indeed an effective way of establishing the needs of the potential customers as well as their perception towards the company.
Various research methods were used in order to obtain the necessary information that was required in regard to the macro-economic analysis of the company. The primary research was the basic method that was used and this addressed some of the specific issues that Zurich needed to know exactly what is happening and these were the first things to address. The other is the secondary research which outsources information that already exists. This may include market research reports or sales data that has already been compiled regarding some of the big associations. Other sources of secondary sources include some the county or the national government bodies (Cummins & Xie 233). The purpose why such data is usually collected is to serve some specific market objectives regarding some various types of companies and this ensures that an investor makes the right decision. This kind of research is quite easy and faster in the collection of data. However, the specific data that may be required for a given company may not necessarily be found in the already documented materials. This is also an expensive encounter to go through based on the fact that some of the information cannot be accessed without making payments. A good example of such resources that must be paid for is what is referred to as ‘syndicated research’. In the case of Zurich, the secondary research that was conducted indicated the comparison of the company to other players in the same field or basically, the competitors.
In the second method, Zurich secondary data regarding the insurance industry was obtained from a market research that was conducted by a company by the name Nielsen. The report indicated that 61% of the people who use the internet rely on the various communities that operate online for their recommendations regarding the products as well as the services that they are supposed to use. This was a very important discovery for Zurich as this meant that they needed to upgrade their website to serve as a communication mdium for what they referred to as HelpPoint. As a result, the secondary research provided very essential data that was used by Zurich to enhance their own primary research (Cummins & Xie 183).
Quantitative and qualitative research was also conducted in regard to the development of the brand strategy of Zurich. Special focus was put on the various features and aspects of the service of this insurance company. The company learnty a lot of things that was very crucial in ensuring that its market is sustained and that the company continues to grow in the insurance industry (Kysar 256).
The insurance industry has gained popularity recently with various investors picking an interest in investing in this kind of business, as a result, the global market in this particular industry has become in a way flooded and this is the reason why there is need to maintain a competitive edge at all times. This is the reason why Zurich insurance had to move a step further to conduct several research in order to ensure that they are giving their clients what they need. This will maintain a good customer relationship that will work hand in hand in ensuring that the company maintains its competitive edge at all times (Stuckle 23).
The market research that was conducted by Zurich was based on four major divisions. These are the primary, secondary, qualitative and quantitative types of research (Stuckle 273). The primary research was carried out to find out the kind of personal insurances that Zurich customers desired. This was conducted through the use of some formulated questions that were directed to the people concerning Zurich (Cummins & Xie 123). The information that was obtained was totally confidential and apart from the company itself, the competitors could not have access to the information.
This was a process that involved four major stages. These included the design of the research, implementation of the design in carrying out the research, analysis of the results and giving recommendation on necessary action (Stuckle 153).
The internal analysis is used by the management of Zurich only and is composed of the various evaluations that were considered by the various departmental leaders in finance, marketing and operations. This is usually based on the nature of the information forwarded by these departments. Some of the important issues that Zurich considered in their internal analysis were the core competencies. This is the strength that the company has in the insurance market (Sawyer 56). This strength could be based on their products or services, the customer relations, the development of the market and other important factors. These are some of the essential strengths that the company relies on in ensuring that they sustain a competitive edge.
Another thing that was held dear by the company’s management is the Customer Relationship Management which a key issue that deserves to be considered in the internal analysis of the company (Colandro 84). This concentrates on how the company relates to the various customers. This was the major reason why the company considered the implementation of the HelpPoint service. This has become a very effective tool in the industry assisting a lot of Zurich customers in regard to the various services that the company offers. For example, the initiative supports the claims of motor insurance as well as giving support to the repair centers as well as the recovery in the majority of countries.
One other important thing to consider is a way of setting a competitive advantage as this determines the future growth of the company. This may come in terms of the brand name, the reputation, the price or even the extra benefits that the company offers that stand outs as unique when compared to the competitors (Colandro 134). Finally this also ensures that the weaknesses of the company are well catered for not to affect its performance. Zurich ensured that the weakness was approached from both the internal and external perspective (Grunbichler 223).
Summary of Current Situation
A good summary on the current situation in the case study reveals how Zurich insurance has employed both SWOT and PEST analysis in ensuring that the company maintains a healthy competitive edge in the insurance market industry (Hatami-Marbini 145). The SWOT analysis is based on the strengths and weaknesses as viewed from within the company and these remains the company’s secrets that they are supposed to implement to be able to generate the change they desire to see (Grunbichler 23). Furthermore, the opportunities as well as the threats are considered in the outside world and these are achieved through considerations in the external environment. These include the socio-cultural factors that may influence the operation of any business among other major factors (Colandro 34).
At the heart of Zurich marketing is what has been summarized as “customer centricity” which essentially refer to the actual giving priority to the customer in all of the company’s endeavors. In this regard Zurich Insurance realizes that delivering help to a customer when he or she requires it most makes himself or herself feel valued and equally important, taken care of. This is a strategy that enabled Zurich Insurance to maintain a competitive advantage as part of improving service delivery which also forms an important part of the marketing strategy (Zurich HelpPoint, 2010). Zurich Insurance has come up with the Zurich HelpPoint concept which essentially help to communicate and also summaries the company’s strategy. Equally important, this strategy realizes that the internal customers are as crucial to the company has its outside customers and therefore gives them the requisite attention. HelpPoint has found several applications in the company majority of which enhances the company services delivery while at the same time helping it maintain a competitive advantage (Goey, & Bonin, 2009). Initially, Zurich HelpPoint started-out just as a free helpline for motor insurance clients with claims. However, today it has grown to a totally different thing altogether, with far much application and benefits than was initially thought. Currently, HelpPoint is an expression of the various way through which Zurich delivers services to its clients scattered all over the world (Goey, & Bonin, 2009).
The implementation of this customer-centered marketing strategy that the Zurich has formulated is as important as the formulation itself. In this case the implementation process will require taking cognizance of the importance of going beyond the word ‘help” which form an important part of its marketing strategy or the HelpPoint cooncept.
Zurich Insurance provides a wide range of products that include; motor insurance, risk management, life business, pensions and investment, programmes for business insurance, and finally, content and building insurance(Pederson, 2008).
Zurich insurance’s “HelpPoint” concept ought to be expanded in other new divisions not only in Zurich but also other places where it intends to expand. This expansion should include incorporating insurance brokers together with other worthy partners in its marketing efforts (Pederson, 2008).
Zurich insurance pride itself has a provider of quality services to its customers, this is a feat that it has been able to achieve through the integration of its “HelpPoint” to its marketing strategy (Sacher Associate, 2010). It is also through it that it has managed to offer services that are first-class and innovative solutions to the problems of its customers (Sacher Associate, 2010). This does not mean however that there is no room for improvement, in fact strategies have already be proposed on how to improve them which include not only upgrading the current services that the company considers to be customer centric even under HelpPoint, but equally important, re-launching them, a task which will most definitely require investing more funds (Sacher Associate, 2010). Still under improving services delivery the company ought to expand its HelpPoint division which will also require a sizeable amount of fund (Commerce Clearing House, 1973).
Zurich has embraced Information technology in it marketing campaign. However, it is yet to reap the full benefits of information technology which is unfortunate especially bearing in mind its effectiveness as far as reaching sections of the potential market is concerned. Therefore, it is important that it maximizes its use of HelpPoint, for instance, inform of changing its website in such a way that it becomes a communication vehicle (Weistein, 1998). It brand positioning appear weak if not ineffective, this is an issue that can be rectified without much ado, all what the company ought not only to understand but also put into practice is the fact that brand positioning can only achieve the intended objectives if only it is explained and understood by the company’s employees which is not the case at the moment (Weistein, 1998). This does not necessarily require a lot of resources; in fact, an extensive internal communication training and campaign might go along way towards that end. After that, the company might proceed toward communicating the new position to other stakeholder who includes clients, media, and investors mostly through a brand promotion campaign (Dowling, 2006). This campaign should include; advertising throughout the world through both outdoor and airport billboards and television adverts among other, online though the company’s website, email marketing and direct mail, and sponsoring art and sporting events.
Previous research on Zurich Insurance shows that customers require help more than anything, which explains why the company found it vital to develop the all-important HelpPoint. HelpPoint essentially explains the various ways in which this company delivers the services that customers require every time they require it. However, it is important that this company refocuses and also adapts HelpPoint services in a newer and more effective way than it exist now in way that provides an all-encompassing help service (Dowling, 2006). This will require a well trained team of staff who are familiar with public relation and especially customer services (Dowling, 2006). They also ought to be supported by another team of competent technicians and experts in information technology. This does not require overhauling whole departments or replacing the old workforce with others who are familiar with information technology, all what the company requires is the incorporation of leadership meeting, web conferences, and training sessions for its entire management in its refresher courses (Lacobucci, et al, 2003). As for its other employees, the company ought to integrate online courses, awareness raising conferences and workshops, online training courses, emails, features on its intranet, and posters (Lacobucci, et al, 2003). The company should also identify a number of employees which it should design has champions for this all important “HelpPoint” strategy. This team of employees should then be given extra training and responsibility of sharing ideas with the rest of the workforce on how to be customer -centered which is actually what has been found to be the magic bullet as far as the maintenance of the competitive advantage to the company is concerned.
Through HelpPoint Zurich manages to deliver it wide range of products to its clients, this is normally through the provision of information on it product, practical solution and advice, help on claiming procedure, and other support services (Lacobucci, et al, 2003). One important thing about HelpPoint is that it has made it extremely easy to offer top-of-the-range service. This (HelpPoint) coupled with the company’s diligent staffs that are ever ready deliver appropriate services whenever situation demand it eases the company’s processes in a big way (Lacobucci, et al, 2003). The processes are further boosted by the Zurich’s technological support that for instance include, it effective Human Resources and Information Technology to name but a few (Lacobucci, et al, 2003).
- Physical Evidence
As part of measuring the progress that has been achieved in this marketing effort Zurich would require a combination of online tools and also calculators that will help its customers in understanding how much insurance they require (Zaichkowsky, 1995). This coupled with teams that would be tasked with assisting customers in other relevant areas in all the businesses that Zurich is involved would go along way in increasing the acceptability of the already existing product together with other new products (Zaichkowsky, 1995).
Control, Milestone and Corrective Action
As the company implements this marketing strategy there is need to have a control mechanism that will show how precise the company objectives are being achieved and the extent to which the company has deviated from those objectives (Zaichkowsky, 1995). This includes the likes of customers’ satisfactions surveys that will be used in measuring the effectiveness of the tools that have been employed towards the achievement of these objectives (Zaichkowsky, 1995). Market research is also another measure that ought to be employed.