Content Marketing News

Why New York Life Switched To A Consumer-Centric Content Marketing Strategy

Busy day? If this blog post is TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read), click through the slideshow below. We summarize the whole post in 4 slides.


The Internet is becoming less about pushing information out and more about interactivity. With this shift, New York Life, the largest mutual life insurance company in the US, had to pivot their content model. They had to start thinking about what their customers wanted before they were ready to buy.

Embracing education first and leads second.

In our webinar with New York Life’s Erin Smale (CVP of Web Strategy and Development), Erin pushed the idea of creating a trust relationship by becoming a resource to customers. “A hard sell on the web was not the way we wanted to go. It’s important to me that our customers view our content as a resource that gives them the information they want.” twitter-icon

Their 2012 redesign focused on this new model:

New York Life Navigation Path

They restructured their homepage’s top navigation to focus on providing answers for life events, life stages, planning for the future — all things their audience will be actively looking for rather than just purchasing life insurance. They began segmenting their audience and content based on keywords and page-level SEO.

This new model worked: looking at their conversion rates in the last 2 years, organic search terms gave over 2.5X performance than the same keywords they paid for. twitter-icon

New York Life's Content Marketing Strategy's Impact on Lead Gen

We need to let go of a sole focus on product and begin looking to the consumer. What does your consumer look for in your industry? How does your consumer search? What will make your consumer keep coming back?

Interested in learning more about a content marketing strategy based on a trust relationship with your customers? Download the webinar for Capturing Lifelong Customers Through Content: The New York Life Story.

2 Responses to Why New York Life Switched To A Consumer-Centric Content Marketing Strategy

  1. Ken Hittel says:

    While I’m quite aware that it is always the latest developments on a Web site that garner the most attention — justly so, indeed — I hope it is not too self-serving to note, for the record, that when we launched in 1996, it was based on a clearly articulated three pronged and prioritized strategy of 1) education/information; 2) customer service; 3) lead generation. In regards to 1), our content strategy was itself based upon the insight of New York Life agent Ben Feldman, that “if people only understood what life insurance is and how it works, we wouldn’t have to ‘sell’ it, they’d come knocking on the door.” The strategy was build on the viability and necessity of providing insurance and financial education, as unbiased as we could make it, with the explicit goal and expectation of building consumer trust. As for 2), we built the first online customer service capability in the life insurance industry in 1997 and continued to improve and innovate it over the ensuing years. As for #3, we built, over time, the most successful lead generation business in the industry, and by 2012 — the year of the latest major redesign — we had been net-of-costs profitable, to the tune of several million dollars annually, since at least 2007.
    The re-design, elegantly implemented by the current team, was an explicit reaffirmation of the original, well-proven, three-pronged prioritized strategy. With any luck it will continue to guide Web development at the Company for some more years to come.

    • Charity says:

      Thanks for the context, Ken. Fascinating story & a fantastic example of quality content marketing over time. 🙂

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