“No one uses e-mail anymore”

Mobile phone subscribers per 100 inhabitants 1...

Image via Wikipedia

A comment on a very interesting Mashable survey which suggests that Social Media is now more popular than e-mail on mobile devices.

That comment in full

I would agree with this because who checks their email any more. All i do is get on Facebook which to me is pretty much the same thing except without the spam

The Mashable report states that

Mobile users spend 1.4 times as many hours using social networking sites than reading and responding to e-mail, according to a recent study by research company TNS. On average, users spend 3.1 hours per week on social networks, versus 2.2 hours on e-mail.

In most mature markets — such as the U.S. — the trend is reversed on PCs; consumers spend more time on e-mail (5.1 hours per week) than social networking (3.8 hours).

The study, which tracked the online activities and behaviors of nearly 50,000 subjects between 16 and 60 years of age in 46 countries, cited “the increased need for instant gratification” as well as “the ability to offer multiple messaging formats, including the instant message or update function,” for the popularity of social networking platforms on mobile devices. More consumers, both in the U.S. and abroad, expect to spend even more time accessing social media on their mobile devices in the future, rather than their PCs.

The less on is relevent to those pondering how to get people to engage and take responsibility for their retirement planning – especially those in the UK who will be entering into pension savings arrangements for the first time, people who do not use PCs but use the internet via 3G devices.

It confirms something that has become  apparent to me in the past twelve months. There are an increasing number of people who are determining what information they receive by taking control of the information feeds, prioritising what they chose to read and selecting information feeds that suit them.

The battle to get on people’s information feeds is intense and it is one that the UK pensions industry has so far failed to join.

With limited space on a mobile screen and a demand from consumers for instant gratification, there is no opportunity to provide complex financial information.

The pensions industry is going to have sell its information feeds against pure entertainment games ,videos, jokes and smut. It will have to compete for space and time with other financial feeds – the bank balance, the council tax bill as well as the plethora of junk that people will mistakenly subscribe to.

Make no mistake – the doormat is not working. What arrives through people’s letter boxes is bad news – bills. Delivering pensions information by surface-mail may work for generation X (just) but it won’t work for Generation Y or Z.

If you are in the business of engaging with your customers, whether you be running NEST , the pension scheme of an SME or a personal pension for the self-employed you need to re-think your strategy and targets.

You are going to have to understand your customer base, understand what information they want and how they want it. There is no point in sending mail to those who throw it in the wastepaper bin nor is there any point in requiring e-mail addresses from those who don’t read their mails. How many pension databases have up to date information on their customer’s mobile phone accounts and how many pension operators have considered asking let alone asked members whether they’d like their pension account balances delivered to them by text?

If you can deliver a text, you can deliver a TinyURL and a link to your educational website but don’t expect the majority of your customers to press on that link anytime soon.

The key lesson is to pander to the need for instant gratification and the only bit of good news you can feed most people about pensions is that they have a pensions balance. However small someone’s pension savings, the regular notification of a DC account balance builds engagement.

For many people, their personal pension, occupational pension or NEST account will be the only account balance they have in the black. Seeing that figure as it accumulates could become a source of comfort, a point of engagement and the first small step in getting people involved in planning for their retirement.

We are in the middle of a revolution in communications that embraces all social classes and all age-groups but the pace of change is fastest among the very groups who have had least to do with pensions in the past – the young, the recent immigrant, the mobile employee and the partially employed.

Those of us who are interested in increasing pensions literacy and helping people to build pensions savings have a major opportunity to take advantage of this revolution. We should recognise the opportunity, rethink our strategies and implement without further delay.

The major changes in pensions surrounding auto-enrolment and the introduction of NEST provide us with a once in a generation to get things right.

Related Articles

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply