DMNews recently published a new article from journalist Mary Elizabeth Hurn that explores how financial services companies are marketing to worried retirees. As many retirees have seen their savings plunge along with 401(k)s, companies addressing them (ie reverse mortgage lenders) need to careful when communicating with this demographic.
“They’re way beyond skeptical,” says Jack Wallace, solutions leader at Acxiom, which works with numerous top banks and insurance providers. “Maybe ‘panicked’ is a better word. Some of these retirees have watched their 401(k)s plummet as much as 40%. That’s just head-spinning.”
“Historically we, as an industry, have done ourselves a disservice in terms of how we speak to our customers,” says Mark Kirby, head of corporate advertising for ING. “We’ve used terms that are very internal and not consumer-friendly. [Retirement] is tough stuff. It’s a complicated, complex category, so we want to break it down and make it simpler.”
Barbara Goodstein, CMO and chief innovation officer for AXA Equitable, agrees. Part of being able to reach your customer, she says, is knowing exactly who they are and what they’re looking for. “Retirees spend 10 hours a week on the Web. They’re information-hungry and Internet-savvy,” she explains.
As an example of what companies are doing to market to retirees, Hurn shows an example of the direct mail campaign that MetLife used in the first quarter of 2008 that sent a letter explaining reverse mortgages to consumers. After generating leads, MetLife sent a follow up letter along with a brochure which straightforwardly answered questions a consumer might have. The letter included the name and direct phone number of a consultant who could answer any further questions.
There is some other good information from the article, definitely worth the read.