Bridging the retirement experience gap.
How Broadridge is helping an industry go digital.
Re-engineer internal workflows
Help clients get marketing and regulatory programmes to market faster
Increase engagement and enrolment through personalisation
Reduction in client project timelines
Increase in enrolment rates
Optimised experiences affecting 85% of the U.S. working population
“Advances in marketing automation technology have tremendous potential to help chip away at the retirement savings gap. Adobe came into the picture for us as we started looking to transform our approach to communicating with the U.S working population about retirement savings.”
Vice President of Customer Experience on Product Strategy, Broadridge
If you haven’t saved as much for retirement as you should have, you’re not alone. In the past five years, the estimated gap between what U.S. citizens did save and should have saved has skyrocketed from $28 trillion to $137 trillion. This phenomenon, known as the “retirement savings gap,” has huge implications not just on the economy, but on people’s lives. It’s a big problem. And it needs a solution sooner rather than later.
That’s where Broadridge comes in.
Since 2001, Broadridge has been chipping away at the retirement savings gap, starting with better communications. The company provides, among other services, investor communications solutions — including everything from financial documentation to marketing materials — across verticals. Though retirement is only one slice of the Broadridge pie, it’s an important one and rife with opportunity. Making retirement savings part of the cultural dialogue — giving it a voice that can be heard over the noise of quotidian financial concerns — would be rewarding to all parties involved.
But Broadridge’s clients, which include financial institutions and retirement providers, faced the challenge of communicating a message most people don’t want to hear. Coupled with ever-changing government regulations, the task at hand became even more complicated. The ideal programme requires messaging that is both personalised and adaptable to frequent regulatory changes. The industry has historically relied on print media for the bulk of their communications. Broadridge is guiding the industry through its transformation to digital, one that not only provides more meaningful customer experiences, but also narrows the retirement savings gap.
Rethinking industry conventions
Sal Gagliano, Senior Vice President and General Manager for the Broadridge Marketing & Regulatory Communication Business, challenged his team to think about the correlation between digital transformation and business model innovation. “Digital transformation enables new ways for how we develop products, work with our clients and deliver value to the market. We knew we had an opportunity to improve the way we worked, increase client satisfaction and deliver better retirement outcomes at the end of the day.”
And — first things first — Broadridge’s own internal processes were up for discussion. When the Broadridge team first began working with Adobe, they started by re-engineering their traditional “waterfall” approach to product management, where each step follows the previous until completion. Jim Young, Broadridge’s Vice President of Product Management, knew that changing the way of working in any large organisation was both rewarding and hard work. "In today’s disruptive market, realising ambitious product expansion goals and changing a business model is an exciting challenge. We have learnt a great deal as an organisation from our history of innovating with many of the nation’s leading financial brands. We knew we needed to distil these insights to create a new working model for sustainable growth."
Cindy Volker, Vice President of Customer Experience and Product Strategy, led the charge to bring the retirement participant experience into the 21st century. The team knew to help their customers make an impact with their communications, they needed to be able to get to market faster. “Like many financial services firms, we were running our product enhancements and our client initiatives in a traditional waterfall fashion. Getting a client’s marketing project, for instance, end to end, could take a good six months,” said Volker.
On top of transforming internal business operations, the company also faced an industry in need of a fast path to modernising the investor experience. The retirement industry has relied heavily on print materials and Broadridge is a powerhouse for supporting clients’ paper communications. But as Volker noted, today’s plan sponsors and their participants expect an always on, digital-first experience that sets a new standard for firms who want to remain relevant. Engaging in innovation, leveraging digital capabilities, creating connected experiences instead of fleeting transactional events and using insights, analytics and metrics to drive relevant customer engagement across digital and print channels is the new bar that investors expect brands they trust to measure up to.
The rigidity of print was a sticking point in terms of keeping up with ever-changing government regulation. With new laws arising and old ones in flux, keeping up with regulations felt like a constant struggle. As Volker said, “We're constantly, as an industry, adjusting for new regulation and legislation, so the problem keeps getting bigger and bigger.” Volker knew that to help their clients be as successful as possible — and to help move their clients’ customers to close the retirement savings gap — they needed to turn to technology for help.
Progress from the inside out
When Broadridge came to Adobe, they were looking for a way to disrupt their entire paper-based industry. Volker, with 15 years at Broadridge under her belt, saw the opportunity to use digital to help her clients not only communicate more effectively with their customers, but also provide transformational experiences. Because retirement planning isn’t first on everyone’s to-do list, it’s especially important to make the experiences surrounding it as simple and human as possible. In Volker’s vision, everything that could be digitised should be digitised, freeing up human resources to help customers navigate the complexities of retirement planning.
So in 2019, Broadridge brought Adobe in to help. But before they could fully embrace their new solutions — Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Analytics and Adobe Campaign — they decided to make the move from waterfall to Agile methodology. Volker explained, “We recognised that our pace really wasn't going to cut it and that we weren't going to remain competitive with our standard timeframes. Our clients need to get to market faster and respond both to consumer preference changes as well as to the increasing regulatory and legislative changes that we as an industry face.” Adobe worked with Broadridge to update workflows, oust outdated processes and instill the iterative, collaborative style the Agile process is known for. “It's been tremendous,” said Volker.
Along with their new Agile process, Broadridge worked with their clients to put customer experiences first. Volker and team dug in with a design-centric approach that centred not around their clients themselves, but their clients’ customers — the end-users. With a tremendous amount of research using field tests and interviews, the Broadridge team gathered valuable information that helped inform the materials, as well as the experiences, they were helping design. “We started wireframing new experiences before rolling them into prototypes. This allowed our customer experience and product design teams to bring our clients’ ideas and better overall experiences, to market faster. Now, we get continual feedback so we’re always improving, before we even get into development,” said Volker.
With their internal operations moving at a steady clip, Broadridge could turn their sights to the digital technology that would help them to disrupt their industry. And the industry sorely needed disrupting. In finance, the gap between customer experience and customer expectations is about as wide as the retirement savings gap itself. Volker explained, “Increasingly, financial services companies aren't benchmarking themselves against their peers, but by how good the consumer experience is. They're being benchmarked against the Amazons of the world. They're being held to the measure of the consumer-friendly retail experience that we’re all becoming used to, that we live and breathe on our phones and other devices all day long.” If Broadridge could position itself as a customer experience solution and not just a retirement planning communications company, they could dramatically increase their value to customers.
New solutions for new opportunities
What Broadridge needed was to combine their deep expertise in investor communications with Adobe technology in a totally unprecedented way. The aim was to revolutionise the services that Broadridge could provide to its customers. Before, they had relied on traditional means — everything from the waterfall process to high-volume printing. Empowered with their new Agile methodology, it was time to transform their tools, too and not just the process.
Working in close collaboration, Adobe and Broadridge created something new. By combining Broadridge’s deep retirement expertise and Broadridge CX technology with the Adobe Experience Cloud, they created a unique platform that streamlined digital marketing, managed thousands of unique plan sponsor brands and delivered logic-driven journeys to guide participants from the critical first step of starting to save, all the way to a comfortable retirement. Leveraging insights from behavioural sciences, the experience architecture was designed to encourage specific actions and outcomes. The system triggered engagement at the right times using the right touchpoints, guiding participants through their initial enrolment journeys and onto their path toward retirement. This extended the benefits of marketing automation to Broadridge clients, saving everyone time and budget.
The proprietary solution combined Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Analytics and Adobe Campaign with existing Broadridge solutions. Broadridge used Adobe consulting services to perfect this version of Adobe Experience Cloud, which allowed Broadridge to white label and license the integrated solution directly to clients. Finding their way through the practical and legal intricacies of such a project, Adobe and Broadridge were able to build a powerful platform together, combining the technical customer experience technology of Adobe with the unparalleled financial communications expertise of Broadridge. Known as a “multi-tenet platform,” the product spans four core systems within the end-to-end experience. Complete with highly defined permissions, it helps Broadridge shepherd their clients towards use cases specific to their precise needs. Once the platform was complete, Adobe and Broadridge spent over 500 hours in training sessions to get them up and running on it, independently. With their new multi-tenet platform, Broadridge is empowered to execute multi-channel, automated, personalised experiences at scale.
“Adobe helped us fully adopt a customer-first, digital culture by learning our business model and market, working as part of our team through the process of transitioning to a fully agile team on a new scalable platform,” said Volker. “Our clients will benefit from faster onboarding times and less expensive implementations, but the real beneficiaries are the 80 million people in the American workforce who will have access to better, more timely information around their workplace investment options.”
The right tools for the job
The platform set Broadridge up for success on a whole new level. With a powerful solution they could use across all clients, the company finally had the ability to make sure the end-users — their clients’ clients — had the personalised experiences that today’s customers expect. With Adobe Experience Manager, Broadridge could root their clients in ultra-reliable, ultra-personal communications, starting with client websites and extending to the full customer journey. “Now we’re able to set up a personalised, tailored, highly targeted journey that is highly compelling and encourages end-users to take advantage of their benefit programmes. But we can also provide behavioural nudges where needed and track and measure the effectiveness of the programme across multiple channels,” said Volker.
The ability to do all of this at scale was one of the most crucial requirements for Broadridge. With help from Adobe Campaign, the new Broadridge platform was able to do just that. As Volker says, “Being able to manage workloads at scale in an automated way helps us and our clients reduce the amount of manual work that marketing automation teams spend today.” With over 570,000 employers in the U.S. offering 401(k) type programmes and 68.2 million active individual employees participating, Broadridge needed powerful scaling capabilities that dovetailed seamlessly with personalisation. The powers of personalisation at scale gave Broadridge the ability to radically reduce the retirement savings gap. But it also introduced another big benefit into the way Broadridge worked with clients— marketing analytics.
With all their customer experience efforts centralised into one technology stack, Broadridge could help their clients collect and benefit from customer data. Now that they could marry online and off-line data with help from Experience Cloud, Broadridge clients had higher quality data to work with. Using Adobe Analytics, the company helped their clients pull tremendous insights and optimise programming for added efficiency and effectiveness. And Analytics also helped spur a virtuous cycle between Broadridge and their direct customers. With data to prove the increased effectiveness of customer experiences with the multi-tenet platform, clients — many which were still used to operating in a print-based world — understood the value of providing more (and good) data, which in turn spurred more positive experiences for end-users. “Having these statistics and success stories to take back to employers is critical in getting those employers to hand off the data that we need to communicate digitally,” said Volker.
Effecting large-scale change
Though their customer experience platform is still relatively new, Broadridge is already seeing the results of their hard work. As Volker says, “I think everything starts with data — and ends with data and analytics.” And the numbers are turning out to be better than expected. Broadridge estimates a 50% to 80% reduction in the standard time frames for creating client campaigns. As the company forges forward with their new customer experience technology stack, they now have the power to evaluate their performance, every step of the way.
But more importantly, Broadridge has found a way to improve on what they’ve done all along — help companies communicate critical financial information to employees and stakeholders. With their digital capabilities, the company is bringing their industry up to speed on the benefits of positive customer experiences. And helping to close the retirement savings gap along the way.
As Volker says, “Our ultimate goal is making an impact on retirement behaviours. In the retirement vertical, Broadridge supports communications programs that support over 85% of the U.S. working population. Getting our client base on the new platform gives us significant opportunity to make a dent in the American retirement savings behaviour.”