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Product review: Friends Life’s Consumer Segmentation Model

Friends Life has launched its Consumer Segmentation Model, a new tool that aims to help employers tailor benefits appropriately to their employees.

Jointly created with Caci, a marketing solutions provider, the model is designed to give insight into financial attitudes and behaviours of employees.

The Consumer Segmentation Model takes into account information about consumers’ home, work, wealth, leisure, media use and thoughts on brands and advertising. This is then used to gain insight into what financial services and benefits employees would find most important.

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Upon analysing data, Friends Life says the information can be used to inform various areas of corporate benefits activity. This includes helping to engage employees with their pension and get the best from it; maximising their options in retirement; analysing financial attitudes and behaviours in relation to the company’s benefit package; establishing which auto-enrolment messages different sets of employees are most inclined to respond to; and attracting new members to pension schemes.

Corporations who use the model will be directed back to their advisers for guidance on how to practically implement the recommended changes in light of the information gained.

The standard package starts at £2,000, but can be tailored to the requirements of the employer, so the cost may vary. Friends Life has been using the model internally, but it is now available on the open market to all employers.

Comment

Initially, it could be tempting to perceive this as a threat to the work of financial advisers in the corporate advice arena. Technology supplanting tasks that are usually carried out by a qualified professional is rarely a good sign, but the Consumer Segmentation Model appears to work well alongside the real-life skills of an adviser.

If this tool is used correctly, it should be an asset to both employer and adviser. If you can prove to the employer that you can provide additional value to the information they obtain using the tool, then the system enhances the work of an adviser rather than replacing it. It identifies data that it then falls to the adviser to work with in the most useful possible way to the employer, creating a smooth system of researching the wishes and needs of employees in relation to company benefits.

With costs running from £2,000 to use the tool, it would realistically only be suitable for large corporations willing to spend a substantial amount of money on getting the right benefits package for their employees – and probably willing to spend on solid advice.