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Ahead of Digital Marketing Leaders Summits Hong Kong 2019, we recently had an interview with Catherine Mak, Head of Marketing, APAC at Bupa Global. Catherine is a specialist in segment management, portfolio management, customer engagement, retention and loyalty management, investment and insurance product cross-selling and multi-channel marketing. 
Can you tell us a bit more about your background and your role at Bupa Global?
Bupa Global is the international health insurance arm of Bupa, serving customers around the world.  We provide products and services for globally minded and mobile people who want the most premium coverage and access to the healthcare they need anytime, anywhere in the world, whether at home or when studying, living, travelling or working abroad. 
I lead the marketing team for the Asia Pacific region supporting HK, CN, South East Asia & Australia, looking, after all, our marketing activities directly to our customers and also via our local partners and brokers in the region. Our central marketing team in the UK supports the Bupa Global business around the world, enabling a global standard on our product and service, giving our customers the same protection and support wherever they go, at home or aboard. My team in the Asia Pacific region brings this together with our local customers’ insights to create a high-value customer experience. 
What makes Bupa’s personalisation special in the healthcare industry?
Today our customers have heightened expectations driven by the likes of Netflix and Amazon – they expect all brands, regardless of channel, to deliver highly personalised and relevant messages and experiences to them. For various reasons, healthcare is one industry that’s been quite slow to embrace this – though arguably it’s the one industry where personalisation matters the most. Bupa Global has taken a different approach to other providers because, within our individual segment, we’re focused on targeting high net worth customers. And while digital is still key, we’re finding that providing an engaging offline experience is becoming increasingly important for this segment. 
Do you use marketing as a form of raising awareness about mental health issues?
Awareness of mental health as an issue is rising in HK and across many other countries around the world. We’ve seen a big increase in customers claiming for wellness benefits over the past couple of years. Awareness-raising is important to prompt people to seek help, but it’s equally important to ensure that they can access help when they need it. We have actually recently launched our new campaign, ‘Live your best life’. This is centred around the fact that living your best life means being free to pursue the things that drive you, and Bupa Global can actively support that lifestyle by providing world-class cover, designed to support both your body and mind.
Can you point out key differences between marketing in the banking finance industry and health-care industry?
Bupa’s purpose is helping people to live, longer, healthier, happier lives. As a healthcare partner, we understand that people have different, individual healthcare needs at different stages of their life and want ultimate peace of mind around their health. From my personal experience, marketing across banking and finance is very product-led and can be comparatively more tactical, whereas with healthcare it is a much more emotional purchase.
You will be speaking on the panel about improving customer loyalty and retention in the digital age. Without giving too much away, in your opinion, what are the most vital components of the customer experience that lead to loyalty and how can you actually implement this? 
We’re constantly investing and improving the way we work to ensure our customers stay with us for the long term – driven by our values and culture to be passionate about our customers and listening, learning and acting on what we offer to meet their needs. There won’t be one single program which drives loyalty, but we do place a lot of emphasis on personal contact. We contact customers mid-way through their plan to remind them that their policy includes an annual health assessment to ensure that they’re getting value from us, and we’re not just having conversations with them at renewal.
In what ways has customer loyalty changed with the advance of emerging technologies and the digital economy?
The availability of big data will help marketers to fine-tune our strategies to an even more personalised level. As customers are able to more easily bring together different pieces of health data from exercise patterns to DNA reports, we can offer even more tailored solutions and support to help them manage health. To the least, when we try to send out gifts rewarding their long term support, this new development and data would be able to help marketing pick the right channel and right gifts to engage our customers. All these will contribute to a more successful loyalty and retention strategies and be more effective to drive customers satisfaction. 
Catherine is the speaker at the upcoming Digital Marketing Leaders Summit Hong Kong 2019. To find out more about her presentation, please click here.

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