There is no dismissing the power of the mobile channel as it applies to insurers’ ability to obtain and service business. TextRequest.com statistics from 2015 hold that 84% of Americans report that they can’t go a single day without checking their smartphone, and admit checking it 150 times per day, including first thing in the morning.

As an insurance industry marketing utility, the mobile channel also has evolved. But even some carriers with the most sophisticated mobile strategies may be missing an opportunity.

“Our research shows that marketers who try to reach their audience solely on demographics risk missing more than 70% of potential mobile shoppers. Why? Because demographics don't help us understand what we really need to know—what consumers are looking for in an exact moment or where they are looking to find it,” says Lisa Gevelber, Google’s VP of marketing. Gevelber adds that companies that respond to intent are better positioned to be there and be useful for all of their potential customers, not just those that fit an age and gender profile. And they must do so with immediacy—being available to customers with what consumers are looking for in the exact moment they use their smartphone to find it.

“Intent beats identity. Immediacy trumps loyalty. When someone has a want or need, they turn to their smartphone for help,” Gevelber said. “When a need arises, people turn to search and YouTube to look for answers, discover new things, and make decisions. We call these intent-filled moments, micro-moments. And they're the best opportunity marketers have to connect with people at the exact moment they are looking for something.”

Insurers have many options when it comes to marketing via the mobile channel, from the use of social media as a trigger, cross-marketing from pop-ups to YouTube, and traditional emails that, if opened, drop the customer onto the insurer’s site with just one click. But the most underutilized mobile marketing tool, according to Kenneth Burke, TextRequest.com blogger, is the art of texting.

Burke offers some impressive statistics that prove text messaging works: Only a third of e-mails are ever opened, yet texts have a 98% open rate, and 95% of texts are read within three minutes of being sent. In addition, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than leads who weren’t nurtured. “The customers you have text conversations with will be the same ones you see spending more on your products and services,” he says.

The idea that people are addicted to their smartphone (mobile dependence) really isn’t a bad thing, Burke says. “Like when the radio came out, and everyone depended on it for news and music, and then the television for news and music and cheap entertainment, mobile phones actually improve our daily lives and what we're able to do with them.”

The leader in leveraging micro-moments and mobile dependence is GEICO, a leading personal lines carrier that continues to dominate the market in the delivery of auto insurance products through the mobile channel, according to Keynote, which provides an annual ranking of the top 12 US auto insurance carriers’ mobile delivery capabilities. And it does so primarily via text messages.

GEICO uses texts to communicate payment due reminders, towing benefits, and instructions to their mobile app, claims reporting and more. Let’s do the math: Texting has been proven as the number-one form of preferred communication from the smartphone. So if people can't go a day without their phones, and their number-one use of those phones is texting, doesn’t it make sense to incorporate text messaging into your larger customer service strategy?

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