Tea preferences – the key to pensions communication and engagement?

How do you like your tea? Milk or no milk? Three sugars or none? Strong or minimum brewing time?

Tea preferences – the key to pensions communication and engagement?

I’m a milk, no sugar, builder's brew type of person. And it’s usually been microwaved a couple of times (with a two- and a four-year-old at home, I hardly ever get to drink it fresh). My husband? He likes his tea stronger, small amount of milk and he thinks it’s barbaric to microwave a cup of tea.

We have different tea preferences, different food preferences, we differ in our opinions on novels, holiday destinations and what music to listen to in the car. Why? Because we are different and we all have our unique preferences, quirks and values.

This got me thinking. I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at member engagement and how to make a change. My husband and I are the same age. We live in the same location. We work in the same sector. By this reasoning, traditional segmenting methods would result in us both being targeted with pensions communications in the same way i.e. relevant to our age, or our job role, or even where we live. And this is if any segmentation occurs at all.

The assumption is made that everyone in, say, their 30s should be communicated with in a certain way, and with similar messaging. But this isn’t true. What may work for one person won’t work for another – even if they are in the same age group. Some may prefer apps and digital content, others like to receive paper communications. Some may enjoy taking risk, others strive for financial security. Responsible investing may be very important to one member but not to another.

Any sort of segmentation for pensions communication is a great start to drive engagement. But what if we could take it even further? What if we really get to know members and why they behave the way they do? Sure, segmenting by age has its place. But if we could combine that with communication channel preferences, financial preferences and beliefs, key milestones (eg linking contribution increase communications to pay rise timing) and really personalise pensions communication, I’m sure we would increase engagement.

And allowing for diversity and inclusion most definitely has a part to play. Are communications being translated into members' first languages? Is the language used appropriate (or are we referring to ‘spouse’ when there may not be one)? Is the wording used for those on family leave appropriate?

The digestive biscuit to go alongside my cup of tea would be to ask your members how they want to be communicated with, and act on it.

The author is Greer Flanagan, DC consultant at Hymans Robertson.

This article is provided by Hymans Robertson.

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