Best's Review


Insurance Marketing
Marketing Lessons From Asia

Content marketing, mobile communications and artificial intelligence challenge traditional approaches in rapidly developing markets.
  • Lori Chordas
  • January 2021
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Companies have long been relying on performance and digital marketing to bolster their brands and build their businesses, but many are now “open to experimenting” with other methods—such as content marketing and artificial intelligence, said Vaasu S. Gavarasana, chief digital officer at Ageas India Royal Sundaram, featured guest in a Nov. 13 webinar sponsored by AM Best and the Insurance Marketing and Communications Association.

Gavarasana said an actual shift, however, has been somewhat slow.

There is still skepticism about the power and value of marketing, he said, but marketers are well-positioned to demonstrate how it is vital not only to building a brand, but also to generating revenue and aiding in digital transformation.

Vaasu S. Gavarasana

Vaasu S. Gavarasana

Following in an edited transcript of Gavarasana's comments.

What is the impression of marketing within your company?

When I joined, the only marketing being practiced was performance marketing. Since I joined, we expanded the role of marketing to include all the subdisciplines of marketing. It's been a long journey, but there's still an overriding perception that brand marketing is probably not so necessary. We've come some way on that journey, but we're not there yet. It takes more convincing to demonstrate the power.

There's a growing focus on content marketing. Is there a role for it in mobile?

Absolutely. I'm sure it's happening to a larger degree in the United States. Ad blocking is on the rise. Another problem marketers face is inflation. The cost of a click is going up. A lot of media is getting splintered. The best way to engage at a lower cost is search engine optimization. But SEO needs content, and social needs content. If you create contextual relevant content ... you can use it in your social and on your site to drive SEO, which means you're getting more organic traffic for a fraction of the cost, compared to what you would spend on performance marketing.

Performance marketing shows immediate results. Content marketing takes a bit more time to kick in. Today in India, we cut our spends in half because 50% of our traffic is organic, coming on the back of our SEO, which is coming through content we create for consumers. People don't want to engage with ads. Marketers engage with ads. People are hungry for information: “I'm not healthy. What should I eat?” “I need to protect my car. What do I do?”

How do you see digital marketing evolving?

I think the tug of war is going to be with [artificial intelligence], increasingly on the creative side. We have AI helping in performance marketing, which is welcome. Creating dynamic ads on the fly is also welcome. But I'm a bit skeptical about the human creativity being written by an AI, because creativity is not a formula. That's going to be the greatest tussle going forward, but I think AI is increasingly going to play a larger role in marketing.

Lori Chordas is a senior associate editor. She can be reached at

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