The Science Behind MassMutual’s 401(k) Campaign Win

By aiwpadminAugust 30, 2018

By Eric Schaal

If you think about financial products, it’s easy to see how retirement savings programs would always be among the toughest to market. Quite simply, people have a hard time being convinced their sacrifice in the short term will be worth it later (when they are certain to need it).

Meanwhile, who among us hasn’t thought retirement savings is something we’d tackle at a later date? In the insurance and financial services industries, these thought processes have names, and marketers need to find ways to counteract them.

At insurance giant Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., the challenge came in the form of a 401(k) enrollment and contribution push. Working with the team at HBT Marketing, MassMutual leveraged behavioral and data science to drive business and further engage existing customers. On the second day of this year’s LeadsCon Connect to Convert in Boston, you’ll hear how MassMutual and HBT pulled it off.

The Challenge: Increase 401(k) Sign-ups and Contributions, Plus Consolidation
The goal of the campaign at MassMutual was to increase 401(k) enrollment while increasing contributions of current account holders and consolidating accounts, too. John Sisson, president of HBT Marketing and a presenter at the LeadsCon session “How MassMutual Accelerates Financial Engagement With Science,” described the challenge as one of considerable difficulty.

“It’s notoriously hard to get people to save for retirement,” Sisson said. “They put it off, thinking they can always do it later (something called status quo bias). Meanwhile, they’re generally hardwired to prefer short-term gains (known as temporal discounting).”

After crunching the data with MassMutual, it became clear to Sisson and his team how decision science would be the best approach. Gregory Long, head of customer lead generation and delivery at MassMutual, also presenting at LeadsCon, spoke of how it worked for the campaign.

“We are always looking for ways to increase efficiency in our marketing spend,” Long said. “Leveraging data science helps us to identify where to concentrate our efforts, instead of blanketing all customers with multiple communications.”

The Solution: HBT and MassMutual Utilize the Science
Nancy Harhut, HBT’s chief creative officer, who will also be presenting at this LeadsCon session, broke down some of the science deployed in the MassMutual campaign, which ended up with improved sales and ROI.

“We turned to the behavioral science principles of scarcity (people placing greater value on information that’s scarce), loss aversion (people are twice as motivated to avoid the pain of loss as the pleasure of gain), and social proof (when undecided, people often do what other people like them do).

“Using an integrated campaign,” Harhut continued, “we wove motivating elements of these behavioral science principles throughout the messaging, taking care to sync them up with each of MassMutual’s three distinct personas.”

That might sound easier than it was to put in practice. Long noted how tricky it was to match third-party data to MassMutual records. At LeadsCon, you’ll hear how Long, Sisson, and Harhut creatively made these solutions work — so much so that the campaign was a clear winner.

To learn more on what’s driving today’s customer acquisition, performance marketing, and sales, join us at LeadsCon’s Connect to Convert this October in Boston. Register today.

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