How to disrupt an established category: Bought By Many’s data-driven strategy

Bought By Many are no strangers to disruption, they're a challenger brand making waves in the pet insurance industry. We spoke to their Content Marketing Manager about his data-led approach to strategy.

Bought By Many are a disruptor in the pet insurance market. Their pet insurance policies are 14 dog years (2 human years) old, and they’re already shaking feathers in the insurance world with their commitment to customers and providing something unique in the space; a truly customer-focussed insurance policy. The last two years have been a voyage of evolution for the Bought By Many brand, during which time their Content Marketing Manager – Digby Bodenham – has overcome many challenges. Read on to discover how this flourishing brand used Attest data to scale at every stage of their journey. 

“Here at Bought By Many, we create insurance that pet owners love. We look at all the things that pet owners are telling us they don’t like about pet insurance, what data tells us these people are searching for, what kinds of cover does and doesn’t exist. We use this to create those policies, a better experience and unique features that no one else has.”

It’s not easy being a disruptor in your category. Here we uncover the challenges facing a scaling brand and business, and how consumer insight and a trusted marketing technology (MarTech) stack is crucial for unlocking growth at each step. 

Step 1 – Focus the proposition

Finding the market that your brand should satisfy, and putting all your eggs into that one basket, can be daunting. For Bought By Many, pet insurance stood out as the category they could serve best, and they used consumer insight to give their initial offering direction – basing their products on the real consumer needs that were highlighted by research. 

Step 2 – Spread the word

Once you’ve found your niche, you’ll want to become the trusted authority for the consumers in that market. Spreading the word using SEO, PR and content all helped to cement Bought By Many’s position in their market. 

“We want to be there when someone’s asking questions like, “Do I need pet insurance?” and, “How do I find a vet?”, by making sure our content ranks highly in answer to those questions.”

“We used Attest quite a bit for PR, by running surveys for press releases and supplementing our own content. While we have good engagement on newsletters and emails, it’s nice to have something to give us richer data that we don’t just take from another news story. We could actually say, “Our survey of these consumers…”.”

Step 3 – Break the PPC ceiling

Every brand has a suite of tools they use in their marketing team to measure key metrics and guide changes that will result in higher leads, sales, and revenue. None should be taken as gospel in isolation, though. As Digby explains, it’s the job of these tools to put the data from others into perspective, and only through looking at all data sources can you truly understand what is valuable to measure and what might be missing. 

“We use Hitwise and SEMrush to look at search analysis on our site and other sites. Those two combined tell us what people are searching for, what sites they’re visiting and where on the web they’re coming to us from. If you just use one tool, our brand looks amazing. We do a really good job of capturing all the pet insurance search for organic and paid content, which is a huge sales driver for us. So if you just look at that data you think, “Great, we’re doing better than many of our rivals”. It’s when you add something like Attest to it that you get a deeper level of analysis. You discover that you’re capturing all the demand, but that not many people know who we are.”

“Before Attest, we were only looking at branded search to measure brand awareness. This looks amazing because it increases, but you have no idea what you’re missing out on or what people know or think about your brand. Once we got the brand tracker running it was really that data from Attest that spurred some of the action we’re taking on brand now. It immediately highlighted that we could improve our prompted and unprompted awareness.”

“And you can reach a ceiling with PPC and SEO. If we rank number one, and we’re paying to rank at the top, we can improve conversion on the site by doing some tech improvements on our side. But brand became something we had to develop. We needed to focus on messaging, and giving people the right Bought By Many feeling. Now it’s much easier for us to make business cases for brand work internally, and it’s made it much easier to get sign off on bigger brand projects.”

Step 4 – Give everyone access to the data

Once you’ve decided on a suite of tools that works to facilitate growth, fast-track that growth by giving other members of the team access. Funnelling insights through one manager just creates a roadblock to acting and reacting quickly. 

“I ended up owning Attest because I was the first to suggest we use it. So all the other members of the team were coming to me with their surveys, saying, “What about this? Should we be asking this in this way?” and so on. After a while I just said, “Just ask the team at Attest, they’re the experts!”.”

“Now it’s used across marketing, customer experience, products & partnerships, and international. Our COO came to the last quarterly meeting we had with Attest and was super interested in the data. Now we’re starting to get more interest and buy-in from the senior leadership team; they want to see the findings from it, they want to interrogate it a little bit and they want to know that we’ve used Attest to get data to check the actions we’re taking.”

Step 5 – Rinse & repeat for new markets

The goal for Bought By Many, as it is for lots of scale-ups, is to take everything you’ve learnt so far and launch internationally with even greater chance of success. But not all your lessons will apply overseas – it’s a whole new market with a whole host of new opportunities and risks for you to navigate. New research needs to be conducted, and considered in tandem with everything you’ve learnt in your home market. 

“We launched our cover in the UK in early 2017, and we launched in Sweden a couple of months ago. We’re going through the same process, but we’re a bit more informed, using some of the learnings, and obviously we have tools like Attest in place straight away. As a result we’re growing quicker in Sweden than we were at the same point when we launched our UK cover.”

“The market over there is both really similar and really different. A lot more people have pet insurance, it’s just more of a given. You’re not having to convince people to get it as much, but it’s harder getting people to switch. The price-driven comparison sites aren’t king like they are in the UK, and people often just get the same policy that their parents had and stick with it for life. In Sweden there are also fewer policy types, it’s slightly easier to understand, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone does.”

Proprietary research in every new market is crucial to selecting the right opportunities for your brand, and having a trusted MarTech stack in place to facilitate this will speed up the process.

Step 6 – Plan for the future

Your MarTech stack needs to provide you with the information you need now, but also suit a scaling business and its future needs. For a company growing as fast as Bought By Many, plans for the future need to fall into place rapidly, and their MarTech stack should support, not hinder, that process.

“Our two main focuses are on more markets and a tighter focus on our customers. We’ve been doing brand tracking, and we’ve seen a relatively low awareness, so when we do these surveys we don’t get a huge amount of information from the people who actually have our cover. We get loads of information about the market, where people are going for their cover, what other brands they’re aware of and what is important to them in general. What we’ll be looking at now, alongside our regular brand tracker, is doing quarterly surveys of Bought By Many customers, to see how our audience changes over time, and the things that are important to them. It’s just a symptom of us growing as a business; two years ago we didn’t have any pet insurance customers, and now we’ve got lots.”

Having a stable MarTech stack in place, knowing the perspective the different tools offer – and the context the data should be considered in – sets your business up with the greatest chance of success in the long run. You can make both iterative, small scale changes to drive conversion, and embark on larger-scale and future-focussed brand building efforts, with consumer data supporting your approach. 

“We feel much more confident about our brand now. We feel that we’re making decisions that we know in advance are going to have a good impact, because we can measure that stuff before we even roll it out. This data gives us a head start. Looking internationally, it makes me think that whatever the future will be for the brand, whatever we do, I think it has a much greater chance of being successful because we’ve got insight on how people think and feel about what we’re going to be doing.”

If you’re a marketer and you’d like to explore the confidence Attest can bring to your own brand’s business decisions, get in contact with our team today. Whatever size your brand, Attest can help put you in regular contact with the consumers that matter most for growing your brand. 

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Content Team 

Our in-house marketing team is always scouring the market for the next big thing. This piece has been lovingly crafted by one of our team members. Attest's platform makes gathering consumer data as simple and actionable as possible.

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