A number of local corporates have recognized the importance of digital media for marketing and communication and have significantly benefited from doing so.
Ceylinco Life’s Senior Deputy General Manager – Marketing Samitha Hemachandra testifies to the fact that digital has not only helped them rope in new business but has also helped penetrate a new market, namely, those below 25 who traditionally insurance sector hasn’t regarded as their target demographic.

Q: Sri Lanka has relatively low insurance penetration rates, regionally speaking, and this points to the fact that the country doesn’t have a culture of investing in insurance. Do you think digital as a medium for marketing and advertising can break this tradition?

We realized that like every other sector, insurance too needs to evolve and in that regard adapt technology and whatever other tools available to effectively approach the existing market as well as to take on board new customers.

Samitha Hemachandra
Samitha Hemachandra

With the competition being intense, we realized that investing in digital will help us get closer to the customers as online platforms facilitate real-time or prompt interactions and allows service providers to solve clients’ issues faster by communicating with them and getting feedback from the customers directly.

We have also realized that digital platforms help to target and approach a specific audience of choice – a useful option considering we have different products tailored with different potential clienteles in mind.

In addition, you can track the effectiveness of your campaigns, get a message across much faster, relatively cheaper and to a much bigger audience online compared to traditional channels. Digital has worked well for us so far and as a result, our allocations for the same have increased sharply over the years. We take digital seriously.

Q: In what way has use of digital platforms contributed to changing the way insurance is perceived, if it has?

In Sri Lanka, the traditional market for insurance is working adults between the age range of 25 and 45 years. By using digital platforms – social media, apps and such – we have been successful in reaching out to segments that are not within that category; ideally the much younger crowd who also happen to be tech savvy and spend a lot of time on the internet, meddling with communication tools, etc.

We have been successful in reaching out to this category via digital campaigns and get them to consider investing in insurance as well as retirement plans. This is a win-win by the target audience as well as us. The concept of retirement plans is still relatively new to Sri Lanka and by and by we hope we’ll be able to get more people to think about their future and plan ahead.

Q: What has your approach been in relation to getting the youth to consider investing in retirement schemes and insurance?

We did a recent campaign that was dreamed up by our digital agency Neo Ogilvy, using the FaceApp which got very popular among social media users. It was simply asking them to transform themselves to their old-selves using the mobile application and to leave a note as to how they plan on spending their life, post retirement.

We rewarded the winners who came up with the best ideas. This received a very positive response with over 20,000 engagements. It was a spoken about campaign in the local cyber-sphere because what we did was taking a trend and making it relevant to the product and thereby conveying a compelling message to the audience.

Likewise, we use our online and digital presence to actively engage our customers and learn from them, solve their queries and concerns.

Q: How important is seeking the assistance of a digital agency when conducting a campaign?

Very important, I reckon because they bring to the table necessary expertise and experience. The experience has been a positive one because the agency has sought our consultation and opinions at every stage of the campaign. Collaboration is important, so is communication.