Marketers learned years ago that if you can figure out exactly what your customer wants, you establish your strategy, brand, product and communications to cater to your customers and accomplish results. Often, tactics that marketers use end up being adopted by HR a few years later. All year long, but especially during open enrollment time, there are lessons that HR can learn from marketing.
Here are three ways HR can think like marketers and drive results:
1. Segmentation 101.
Divide your audience into sub-groups based on similar characteristics, needs and wants.
If you are considering what type of new benefits to provide next year, think beyond the Millennial, Gen Xer and Baby Boomer generations that exist in your workforce. Even these generalizations may not be true for all employees, because within the generations there are varying lifestyles, characteristics and buying preferences. For example, one Baby Boomer may be an empty nester while another had children late in life. The more you segment, the more successful your efforts to reach an audience will be. Our whitepaper (Beyond the Generations) illustrates one way to segment the generations and identify benefits that suits each wants and needs.
2. Communications best practices.
Today’s employees expect a consumer-like communications experience - worthy of their time, meaningful, easy to consume, delightful and consistent. One-size-fits-all won’t work here. Take a tip from marketers and target your message to your audience. It’s not just how you say it, but the method you use to communicate it. Marketers choose the medium for their message based on communication platforms that various audiences prefer. Utilizing both traditional and non-traditional methods of communication, as a marketer would, will help make sure your message gets through to your audience. Don’t forget to check out other tools marketers are using these days, including content, personas and more.
3. Well-rounded campaign development.
One-offs aren’t nearly as successful as campaigns. When marketers plan a campaign, they think strategically about what they are trying to achieve and the best way to get there. Take open enrollment, for example. Year-round communications programs about benefits better prepare employees for open enrollment time. No matter what channel employers use to manage open enrollment, from paper-based to the most elaborate web-based systems, there must be a communications strategy that will engage employees. Proactively communicating with employees about the state of benefits within the organization and making HR available for employee questions is always the best policy is part of campaign thinking as well.
These are just three examples of lessons that can be used from marketing. Just remember to put on your marketing hat and keep your eye on your marketing department for new ideas.