Ros is right – birthday card’s get read – and so does she.

Plenty of us have been thinking about how to make that annual statement that we get about our pensions stick in our minds, so that we understand what we have. One person speaks to and for the nation on pensions and she is Ros Altmann.

Maybe I have Ros Altmann on the brain, which is no bad thing if your job is to find ways to reach ordinary people who don’t care for pensions.

Those thinking I’m a signed up member of the Baroness’ fan club need to appreciate I don’t always think she’s right, but when she’s wrong, she’s wrong in a constructive way!

And when she’s right, she’s big-time right, as she is in this amazing article in This is Money.  Those who know Hank Williams, will know his songs are right in a Ros Altmann kind of way.

She’s written an article in This is Money about birthday cards. The idea is simple, if we sent personalised simple pension statements as a birthday card, they would get read. And we know she is absolutely right;

This is what happens when someone with a powerful emotional intelligence is a genuine pensions expert and likes people.

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Birthday cards get read

Walk into any stationers and the array of colourful cards reminding you to have a happy birthday is the first thing you see.

Writing on his Genesys blog, Paul Richer talks to those in the travel business

Asked which channels or routes to market deliver the best ROI for your business, respondents put Facebook Advertising in first place followed by Google Adwords.  What was surprising was that in third place was Direct Mail, slightly ahead of Email.  Now, I have always thought of Direct Mail as one of the more expensive marketing channels.  Compared to the almost zero cost of email distribution, there are the significant costs of print and postage.  However, if successful marketing is about cutting through the noise then direct mail has characteristics that make it stand out compared to conventional digital channels:

  • A piece of direct mail has innate visibility.  It needs to be picked up off the door mat so it will definitely be seen.

  • Direct mail does not need to compete for attention alongside your competitors calls to action. Your message is more than just a listing or one of many adverts on Google.

  • It has staying power.  Provided it is compelling enough not to be immediately put in the trash, it can sit around for days, providing many opportunities to attract attention.

To translate this into the language we use in our own homes. birthday cards get noticed on the doormat, get stuck on the mantlepiece and get read and they stay in our faces many days after the birthday’s finished.

Why Altmann is head and shoulders the best ambassador pensions has

I recently wrote a response to the DWP’s consultation on standardised pension statements.

I was so busy with my ideas about “Open Finance” that I didn’t stop to listen, as Paul Richer listened, to the people he was writing to. I dissed the DWP’s ideas of sending statements in coloured envelopes and missed the opportunity that Ros intuitively spotted to link a pension statement to that great notification of maturity and longevity – the birthday card.

Ros Altmann is not writing here to the DWP, or pensions experts but to the people who get pension statements, and she does so with ideas and words that mean something to the readers of the popular press, of whom she is the financial doyenne.

She uses ideas that sniffy people like me pass by, and all too often , we walk away from the simple brilliant idea of the birthday card pension statement, because we’re off chasing fairies on Instagram or Tic-Toc.

That is why this bold, brilliant woman is Britain’s number one pension personality.

Ros Altmann refreshes the hearts actuaries cannot reach.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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1 Response to Ros is right – birthday card’s get read – and so does she.

  1. John Mather says:

    This is a simple idea that will work. It takes real skill to spot the obvious in a busy world Thank you Ros

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