By developing very detailed profiles of employees based on their specific lifestyle and buying preferences, advisers are finding they can tailor sales strategies to appeal to individual workers. The results are more voluntary product sales.
The personalization goes beyond the traditional generation descriptions of baby boomers, Generation X and millennials, since not all workers within generations have the same benefits needs, Purchasing Power, an Atlanta-based employee purchase program, found through analyzing buying trends.
“There is more to customizing benefits than age alone. Employers can’t overgeneralize the generations today,” says Purchasing Power Chief Operating Officer Elizabeth Halkos. “Within the generations there are varying lifestyles and buying preferences that dictate what benefits are important to them. This is especially key for non-traditional voluntary benefits that offer the ultimate customization approach to the workforce.”
It is a new way of thinking in the benefits business and is similar to how political firms directly target voters, explains Patrick Toner, president of Customer Benefits Analytics, who recently presented his research at EBA’s Workplace Benefits Renaissance in New Orleans.
“Different employees buy benefits for different reasons,” he says. “If we know why people buy benefits and can deliver those messages to employees, they will respond better and we will get better lift” with the products.
“Knowing why people buy benefits allows us to shape the message and know what type of buyer that person is,” he adds.
Once profiles are established, brokers and their carrier partners can identify what type of buyer each employee is and then use data to further understand the employee. Toner’s company uses census files to append the data his company has using an employee’s street address to pull in demographic, socioeconomic, lifestyle and psychographic data.
Customizing the benefits has yielded higher sales results. “Any time we are able to take a more personalized and segmented approach to convey the value of our programs … we do see higher response rates,” Halkos says. “Organizations that take customization of benefits to heart and embrace further segmentation of the generations will be able to structure their benefits in a way that will attract, retain and engage the talent they need for the future.”
By personally targeting consumers, Toner’s clients have seen premiums on enrollment increase 20% to 30% year-over-year.
Halkos says advisers, who are already “stressed,” should lean on their partners to do the work for them and customize the marketing. “That’s why we are here,” she says, “We have the data.”
“It is almost too much for a broker to take on,” she adds. “Lean on the carrier to provide the analysis and recommendations and to advance how to approach the communications aspect of a relationship with a client.”
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