Aviva’s tips on segmentation for advisers
Understanding your clients better
Segmentation is an activity that helps you ‘group’ your clients: for example, by age perhaps; or their life stage; needs; location, circumstances or business type.
You may have just 20 clients, or you may have built up a client bank over many years to a point where you have thousands of individuals’ or company contacts’ names on record. Segmentation is a great way to find hidden opportunities within your client base – it’s about understanding and identifying those factors that group clients or potential clients together.
By doing this, and identifying groups of people or businesses for whom your message is appropriate, it is much easier to focus your efforts on effective marketing. Segmentation is all about finding better ways to direct your marketing communications.
How to start segmenting your clients
There are many sophisticated pieces of software that could help you track and sort this information efficiently, but one of the simplest ways of segmenting your clients is to keep an Excel spreadsheet. The key to success is making sure that you list data consistently and keep it updated regularly. As a minimum, a segmentation database should include:
- Personal details, such as name, age and address
- Family details, such as marital status, number and age of children
- Life stage - singles and couples, young families, mature families, empty nesters etc.
- Employment status and salaries
- Products held and their renewal dates
- Notes on attitude to risk and savings
- For business clients – their industry, number of employees, location, methods of communication with staff or even the type of product / service being supplied
With the bank of information under those headings, it’s clear that you could plan several campaigns straight away. And with a little thought, a whole ‘segment’ could generate some inspiring campaign opportunities.
Examples of segmentation
Segmentation helps you identify clients’ traits and find opportunities to engage them about products, services and policies.
Segments help you identify needs. ‘Elaine’ segments her clients carefully. Looking at her notes, she sees that over half her customers had told her about life stage changes – new family members, divorces or changes in employment – but she’d neglected the opportunity to engage with them about PMI recently.
She organises her diary, and schedules 30 phone calls over a period of seven days. In each call, she canvasses opinion on the added value benefits of private medical insurance policies – were clients still finding them useful? Two said they weren’t aware of potential premium-reducing schemes, and one client mentioned that he’d recently considered cancelling his policy as a result of a change in employment.
Elaine arranges meetings with all three clients and talks through the available benefits on their policies, correlating their importance to her clients’ needs. As a result, she rewrites two policies with enhanced levels of cover and reduces the cover levels on the third due to affordability, ‘saving’ the policy in the process.
Good business leads to great business. ‘Toby’ takes a close look at the business he’s been writing over the last twelve months. By entering all the data he has onto a spreadsheet, he can see that much of his time was spent with small local companies, writing business protection policies. He enjoys this, as it’s often opened up a conversations about PMI schemes – but he realises that he hasn’t been making the most of that activity as a specific campaign.
Toby writes a short letter, contacting every one of his business protection clients. In it, he asks for an opportunity to explain the benefits of PMI to his key contacts – and how improved health and fitness amongst employees could contribute to the company’s bottom line. As a result, five clients call him pro-actively to set up an appointment.
Our segmentation tips for financial advisers:
- Start with some very simple segmentation exercises. Group your clients – or their employees – by age and birthday. ‘Happy birthday’ mailings should be a regular feature in your calendar.
- Include all the information you can about your clients – aiming for consistency as much as possible. New arrivals? Weddings planned? Divorces? These clients could all benefit from a policy review.
- Look for common denominators – that’s the key to making segmentation work. For example, if you have clients working for the same company, that could trigger a business-wide campaign.
- For business clients specifically, ask yourself – do you have a number of estate agents; metalworking companies; plumbers; retail clients?
- Could you group your corporate clients by geographic area?
- Think not only about the products that you can offer, but the way they work and how they relate to client segments that you’ve identified.
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