Insurance isn’t the only industry that’s been rocked by changing customer appetites and attitudes. The media world was arguably one of the first to see major changes in how its product was consumed. It was in that world where Farmers’ head of digital, Amanda Reierson, honed skills that she brought to the insurer. Before coming to the insurance industry, Reierson worked for the Los Angeles Times, DirecTV, and Yahoo in b-to-b and b-to-c marketing roles.
At Farmers, she is responsible for all the company’s digital assets, as well as its CRM strategy and customer experience. She says that there’s lots of opportunity to improve insurance’s reputation.
“We’ve moved to a real on-demand, 24/7 environment for all kinds of brands,” Reierson says. “Customers are used to having what they want when they want it — its a self-serve world.”
That doesn’t mean that Reierson came into Farmers like a whirlwind upending the established agent channel. A major part of her job, she says, is enabling agents to focus on what they’re best at, and let corporate pick up other tasks.
“Our agents really thrive on the one-on-one engagements with customers,” she says. “We’re answering customers’ needs as far as self-service, but the beauty of digital is that it takes some of the simple tasks off an agents desk.”
Throughout Reierson’s tenure, Farmers has recorded an increase in leads generated online. From there, she says, it’s about the handoff to agents and making sure that they have the materials they need to succeed in the digital world. Reierson recently launched an initiative to deliver new, standardized websites for 14,000 Farmers agents, and has guided a unified social media strategy from the brand down to the agent over the course of her four-year Farmers career.
“If I’m doing my job right, I’m getting all those digital tools out there so agents can do what’s right for them,” she explains. “We find that social media really humanizes our agents, and we have a program around it where we publish content that agents can use to push out to their own customers. When we’re really delivering on that brand promise and trying to give customers added value, that is a whole movement bigger than just social.”
Digital transformation isn’t just about new technologies, Reierson says. It’s also about culture, and she is working to develop an innovative one at Farmers.
“Through that culture of innovation not only are we moving into more agile delivery models, but also looking at the startup community and where we see potential technology innovators we can bring in to help achieve our goals,” Reierson says. “We always want to be one of the first movers. The great thing about digital is that it’s a great test-and-learn platform”
On the professional development side, Reierson is part of Farmers’ Women’s Inclusion Network of mentors and role models, and is one of the group’s most sought- after mentors. Recently, she created and led a workshop on building a personal brand and provided women at Farmers with her perspective on how to build the confidence to push their careers forward.
“I’m really impressed by the investment in not just women’s careers, but everyone’s careers, for that matter,” she says. “If I look at my staff, I have a good hybrid of folks that have been at the company for a long time, and new fresh talent that you’re bringing into. The company really invests in its employees.”
Despite the fact that her job technically falls under the marketing umbrella, Reierson is aware of the impact of its initiatives on the larger tech environment and works closely with Farmers’ IT department.
“If you’re going to be a good marketer, you need to understand your systems,” she says. “We are all driving toward shared goals.”
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