For example, by matching different datasets, in this case consumer sales and weather data, a global ice cream brand discovered that – contrary to all the assumptions in its marketing playbook – more people buy ice cream when it’s raining than when it’s sunny. The brand has now aligned its media spend to coincide with bad weather, leading to an uptick in sales.
Search trends (free, public information) are also an important listening channel for super funds. We now know that share of search is a predictive measure of share of voice – and eventually of market share. About six months after brands top share of search, this translates into share of market.
Be available: The fact that funds don’t pop up when members ask Google for super-related answers is a big deal. The (erroneous) impression this creates for members is that they can’t go to their super funds with super questions. As a first step to becoming visible in their members’ lives, funds need to correct this misconception.
Do the current communication mechanisms allow for proactive communication and make it easy for members to ask questions or talk to a fund?
We know many Australians either don’t understand super or don’t care about it until they near retirement. Younger people in particular are not keen to engage with an organisation that looks after their money until they stop work. As well as educating members and bridging what ASIC calls the “unmet advice gap”, funds will need to find a way to support their needs.
The answer may be to transition from an organisation that looks after your money to one that partners with you to support your financial wellbeing. That means showing up in the moments that matter – both good (first job, marriage, kids) and bad (redundancy, bankruptcy). This is not about offering financial advice, but rather ensuring members understand how super works and what their options relating to it are in key life moments.
Be trusted: Do members believe their funds are there to help them achieve a better retirement income? Would members turn to funds to assist them in solving higher order problems?
Around 80 per cent of people experiencing financial difficulty aren’t comfortable asking for help. But super funds – who unlike banks aren’t owed money by members – could position themselves as non-judgemental, trusted advisors Australians could turn to when they’re not sure of their financial options. Yet, right now, only 6 in 10 Australians trust super funds to act in their best interest. What can the industry do to build trust?
Consumers are drawn to brands that make them a better version of themselves – organisations that help their customers grow, thrive and prosper. Could funds build member engagement around that type of value proposition?
For super funds, 2021 should be the year of the pivot. The year funds join the public conversation, get to know their members and decide how best to support them. We need Australians to become more informed about and involved with their retirement savings. Super funds should be leading this conversation.