Communication, convenience and cost prompted Neil Saxton to take a high-tech approach to encourage greater participation and engagement among participants in the Health Employees Superannuation Trust Australia, which serves more than 800,000 members and has a total of A$34 billion ($25.9 billion), in assets.
Mr. Saxton launched HESTA's “welcome series,” a digital-based communication campaign using data analytics to reach specific audiences, which impressed the Excellence & Innovation Award judges with its scope and strategy.
“Welcome series allowed for an advanced digital campaign that has gone above and beyond what I've seen in other digital campaigns,” one judge wrote. “The targeted research combined with spreading digital touch points over an extended time period was very well thought out.”
Another judge praised HESTA's use of “big data analytics” to support targeted online marketing of retirement planning for participants. “This should improve engagement among participants who are increasingly doing everything digital,” the judge wrote.
A cornerstone of the welcome series is a digital membership card that can be downloaded to a participant's smartphone via an app.
“Increasingly, our phone is becoming the repository of all personal data and is the most personal of all technology devices,” said Mr. Saxton, executive-engagement strategy for the Melbourne-based HESTA, which serves members in the health and community services industries. HESTA is an acronym for Health Employees Superannuation Trust Australia.
“We know our members have embraced smartphones,” he said in an e-mail interview. “Members overwhelmingly prefer digital channels to interact with HESTA (and) 52.5% of members who engaged did so on a mobile device.”
Mr. Saxton said participants most likely to switch to another superannuation fund are people younger than 30 who have been HESTA members for one to five years. “These members predominantly interact with HESTA via their smartphones so it made sense to design a retention strategy that focused on this device,” he said.
Before launching the “welcome series” in the first quarter of 2015, HESTA relied on traditional membership cards. ”These were costly to print and distribute and there was no way of telling if members actually used them,” Mr. Saxton said. “The digital member card solved all of these problems, and was a much more cost-effective way of increasing engagement and member retention.”
Producing the digital member cards cost less than A$50,000, “considerably less than ongoing delivery of physical member cards to more than 800,000 members,” said Mr. Saxton.
Mr. Saxton said there has been “strong uptake” of the digital membership card among different demographic groups, including older participants. Members prefer digital to physical because the former is “so much easier for members,” he added. “Competition for wallet space is intense.”
Mr. Saxton said the digital member card had strong appeal to women, who represent more than 85% of employees in the health and community services industries.
Because many work shifts, they want to access their superannuation fund “on the go, 24/7 and when it's convenient for them,” he said
“They're indicating a strong preference for interacting with HESTA via digital channels, particularly mobile/hand-held.”