Benefits Management – Marketing Plan Design

How Benefit Pros Can Think More Like Marketers – Part 1

Benefit professionals can no longer be just benefit professionals.

In order for your benefits program to inspire loyalty among your workforce, your employees need to understand and appreciate the value it provides. Just like any other consumer good or service, if there’s no perceived value, there’s likely to be no buy-in. In today’s increasingly competitive job market, it’s vital that you determine how to effectively communicate the value of your company’s benefits program. And in that regard, you’ve got to start thinking more like a marketer.

Marketers create brand buy-in and loyalty by putting the right product at the right place, at the right price, at the right time. In order to do that, they determine the appropriate mix of what are known as the Four P’s of Marketing: product, price, promotion and placement. If each P is executed properly, the customer will be able to clearly see the value in the offering and be perfectly willing to pay for it. By taking a cue from marketing, you can put the right benefits at the right place, at the right price, at the right time, and transform your benefits program into an engaging brand that keeps employees happy, healthy and productive.

In this four-part series, we’ll take a look at how applying each of the Four P’s of Marketing to the benefits management process can give a lift to your company’s talent recruitment and retention efforts. Let’s get started:

Part 1 – Product

Just as a marketing team must determine what products to offer consumers, a benefits team has to determine which benefits to offer employees. That means knowing what the audience wants and needs.

In marketing, this is achieved through various forms of research (surveys, focus groups, demographic analysis, etc.) that helps answer questions like: Who makes up our audience? What challenges are they facing? What solutions are they looking for? Once marketers take in this information, they have a more complete picture of what’s going to satisfy consumer demands, and are better prepared to make product decisions.

A similar approach can and should be taken with employee benefits. In this new era of health care consumerism, it’s important for you to recognize that benefits are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Your workforce is a unique mix of different ethnicities, generations and socioeconomic situations, and your benefits program needs to reflect that, with an equally unique mix of products and programs that address the varied needs of the employee population. Developing the right mix requires you to take on the role of researcher and ask the same types of questions as your marketing counterparts.

Conducting a simple survey—with the help of email or other online tools—can be an easy way for you to gain perspective on what employees would prefer to see in their benefits. Beyond that, you can draw deep insight from looking at how employees are using their current benefits. Data analytics and reporting tools can track benefit plan utilization to shed light on how employees are managing their health care throughout the plan year. With this information, you can identify potential coverage gaps that can be addressed through new offerings or changes to plan design.

But the research shouldn’t end there. When making product decisions, marketers must also consider their competition and develop a product that stands out to their target audience. Likewise, you need to be well aware of what benefits your competitors for talent are offering. As mentioned above, every employee population is unique and coverage needs vary, but your company can differentiate itself from others by exploring new and innovative benefits such as pet insurance, student loan repayment and digital health services.

Learn more about how you can tailor your benefits offering to the needs of your workforce. Join us today at 1 p.m. ET for a FREE webinar—Uncovering Coverage Gaps in Your Benefits Program. Sign up here!

Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll discuss how you can apply the second P of Marketing—price—to benefits management.