The marketing toolbox is bigger than it’s ever been before, bulging with all sorts of digital tricks and trinkets, from extensive analytics to open rate percentages. This is all great, but to entrepreneurs like Krishen Iyer, sometimes the old tools work just fine, maybe even better.
Krishen Iyer, the owner of MAIS Consulting, is a proponent of at least one method that never goes out of style: actually talking to customers. Crazy, huh!
He’s not the only one: many marketers are pretty much saying “we now know more than ever about a customer’s needs and wants” but there’s still a lot of guesswork involved in putting campaigns together if you rely mostly on this data.
What about, instead of creating a composite of the ideal customer and predicting what products and services he or she most want, you actually ask your customers?
This doesn’t mean a mass email or a friendly newsletter, although these are both great ways to reach a lot of people at once.
It means actually paying your customer a visit. Buy them lunch. See their office. Comment on their photos, awards, or décor. Get to know their people.
You’ll come away with a better sense of who they are and what they want than any kind of “optional survey” will tell you.
And they’ll enjoy the contact too. We all want attention and it’s always nice to put a face and a memory to someone you’re interacting with on a regular basis. This personal connection could pay off in other ways, including future orders and referrals.
Yes, COVID health precautions or a remote workforce might limit some of these in-person contacts or personal visits, but you can still arrange a quick video call and touch base that way.
Best of both worlds
Krishen Iyer brings more than 20 years of insurance industry experience. He continues to provide plenty of advice for people who are just getting started and also likes to connect professionals who have been at it for years with some of this newer personnel.
Both parties benefit from the relationship: the newcomers appreciate the assistance and expertise, and the older mentor figures enjoy the opportunity to share some of their knowledge to not only help someone succeed in the insurance world but help the overall insurance community.
With his company MAIS Consulting, Krishen Iyer helps clients in the insurance world with a variety of needs, including pointers on developing policies, contracts, and plotting their own strategic growth. He provides them with marketing advice in getting the word out to prospective clients and being a part of the community.
As someone who has seen many sides of the business, Krishen Iyer has learned the value of using all the tools at one’s disposal to see success. This includes including personal connections in your dealing with existing clients or developing new ones.
There can be all sorts of ways to include customers and clients in your marketing efforts, such as seeking testimonials in your marketing materials, sharing resources for ads, even running different ideas by them to seek their opinion.
The value of these efforts can go a long way:
- It gives you a more realistic sense of what’s on their mind
- It makes customers feel good to be helping
- It helps keep customers satisfied
- It makes them happy to learn some of the behind-the-scenes of how a campaign comes together.
- It can increase loyalty and lead to future personal and professional relationships.
The big picture
If you talk to someone who has been in advertising or marketing for years or read marketing books from the past, you’ll discover that “talking to customers” is almost essential for good business.
But over the years, aspects of the marketing world got away from this. Part of this was volume: the more customers you have, the easier it is to manage them remotely and connect with them all at once.
Maybe the hustlers of the past could manage a route that includes regular visits, but it’s much easier to connect and provide service through phone or even email.
Then, as more marketing tools were developed, people were given access to all sorts of customer and industry data, so you can essentially do business adequately without having to have one personal conversation.
But Krishen Iyer will tell you that this isn’t good enough.
All through his professional career, he has seen benefits from personal interactions with the public and clients as well as helping everyone with better digital resources. A mastery of both can benefit.
He studied public administration and urban development in college, and his early efforts in the insurance field includes managing companies and promoting affiliate distribution centers that offered products and services to clients.
His interest in improving the industry for customers and agents led to him creating a firm called Name My Premium, where people can customize their insurance portfolios based on how much they’re willing to spend. This unique customer- and budget-friendly approach caught the notice of Inc magazine.
Next, Kristen Iyer started Managed Benefit Services, a full-service licensed insurance agency combined with a marketing firm. Here, he helped people in the insurance industry with customer profiles and analytic data. This would give his clients good insight into how to approach different customer groups and which ones were more likely to lead to more sales of certain products.
This data gave clients better tools to use to approach customers.
After selling this company, he founded MAIS Consulting, where he continues to share his marketing expertise and support services.
How Krishen Iyer helps clients look ahead
Today, Krishen Iyer advocates that people in the insurance industry use every tool available and is happy to help them solve their problems.
This isn’t a general “I’ll help you all at once” approach either. Each day, he takes the time to talk to each client individually. He hears what’s on their mind, their challenges and accomplishments. If he can’t offer immediate solutions to what they’ve been dealing with, he’ll gather with the staff and brainstorm possible ways to help.
He’s found, although there are some great ways to reach a lot of clients or customers at once and learn about different customer groups and preferences, there’s no replacement for individual outreach.