Follow ‘digital breadcrumbs’ to clients, advisers told

Just as start-up businesses comb through data to learn as much as they can about their target markets, pre-existing advice business should be looking to do the same, according to former Premier of Tasmania David Bartlett.

Speaking at Zurich's Blueprint for life insurance advice roadshow last week, the former Tasmanian premier and now keynote speaker on innovation and technology, said everything people do online leaves a trail of "digital breadcrumbs" which advisers can use to their advantage.

Mr Bartlett explained that start-ups use all the data that is accessible to better understand the current client market and client expectations –  something pre-existing businesses should also be doing.

"In Australia we have extraordinary publicly-available data sets from the ABS, from our census of the population, and often it is not our customer data but it is the overlay of some of these free data sets that gives us a real picture of what's going on in our potential customer base," he said.

"This deluge of data and finding more ways to make sense of it is a real threat but it is also a real opportunity for a business."

As start-ups enter the marketplace with the latest innovations available to build into their business, they are better equipped than those that have been in business for the past five or 10 years, Mr Bartlett said.

This, he explained, is how advisers should be looking to operate their business, by assessing what is available in the marketplace and how they can introduce new tools to better prepare them to meet client needs and even regulatory change.

"Culture can strain strategy, and if you have a culture in your business that allows you to have a conversation about new ideas ... then you are going to have a lot of strategic options available to you," Mr Bartlett said.

"If you have a closed culture that says we do it this way and we have always done it this way, you are going to have far fewer strategic options."

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