Marketing is to take over from technical and product design as the most important factor in enticing...
Marketing is to take over from technical and product design as the most important factor in enticing people to buy pensions, according to Winchester White management consultants.
The group argues that with products becoming less distinguishable, customers are more willing to question and compare products so brand and customer loyalty are becoming ever more important.
Nick Bromfield, head of sales and marketing practice, at Winchester White, said: "Providers must make sure that their brand proposition is recognisable, approachable and memorable."
Pension providers agree that brand is becoming more important with the similarity of products due to stakeholder legislation. Michael Craig, marketing development manager at Standard Life, said: "With increasing homogeneity of products, branding is becoming more important."
Despite this, Standard Life will not be making changes to its marketing strategy, he said. "There is no evidence that there will be a significant shift in our strategy. Standard Life still relies on IFAs."
Providers not involved in stakeholder also report that the new product has brought about changes to the make-up and marketing of their products. Nick Bladen, pensions marketing manager at Skandia Life, said: "In so far as we are competing against the stakeholder market, it is having a key impact on our products. It has made a difference to the products that we launched in April and how the commission was structured."
Bromfield also notes that the launch of stakeholder opens the way for the industry to improve its image. He said: "Through powerful branding and customer propositions, there is also the opportunity to restore the link between the industry and social improvement. This is an opportunity for the industry to restore its reputation after the pensions mis-selling and mortgage endowment crisis."
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