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Benefits Marketing is Supplanting Benefits Communication

July 25, 20235 min read

How Psychographics Personalizes Your Messages to Evoke More Engagement

Employee benefit communications has long been the cornerstone of HR and Benefits teams' efforts to inform employees about their available options. However, as the landscape evolves, a new and more personalized approach is taking center stage - benefits marketing - and psychographic profiling is becoming recognized as a key component. This technique taps into the power of employees' values and motivations to drive engagement and participation in benefit programs.

What is psychographic profiling?
While everyone is familiar with demographics, psychographics is an aspect of
consumer segmentation that goes beyond gender or generational categories. After all, every employee is also a consumer.

While demographic segmentation categorizes people based on age, gender, income, and other quantitative factors, and generational segmentation groups individuals by their birth cohorts (such as millennials, Gen X, or baby boomers), psychographics delves into the realm of individual psychology.

Employees are segmented (categorized) based on their values, beliefs, attitudes, interests, and lifestyle choices. This approach recognizes that employees bring unique perspectives and aspirations to the table, and by demonstrating a more personalized understanding of their needs and preferences, it has a calming effect on the fight, flee or freeze instinct, and layers in emotional triggers underneath the logical triggers of a given message.

psy mind map

Moving beyond benefit communication: the rise of benefits marketing
This approach is both more sophisticated, and more inviting. Rather than simply disseminating information, benefit choices can be framed in the language of employees' values and motivations. It's like, "Hey, these people 'get' me; they're speaking my lingo!"

Think about that. With values-based keywords and phrases, HR and benefits teams begin to elevate their messaging to a new level of accessibility and impact. This tailored approach connects with employees on a deeper, more emotional level, fostering stronger engagement and a sense of alignment with their employer's vision and mission.

Personalization activates
One of the most significant advantages of psychographics in benefits marketing is the potential to increase employee activation and response rates. More than just a laundry list of program features that leaves employees unimpressed, using the "what moves them" dimension of world views and beliefs means that benefit messages and descriptions are not only more relevant, but they're also more powerful and consequential.

By weaving targeted, motivational dialog into the necessary educational aspects of what's being presented or offered, you're moving into resonance with employees' individual aspirations. This approach makes employees feel seen and valued, ultimately driving higher engagement and participation rates in benefit programs.

The power of the "why"
Psychographics enables employers to tap into the elusive "why" behind employee benefit choices. Understanding the "why" is crucial because it addresses the core motivations that drive employees to select specific benefits. If you know that one type wants to be "in charge," while another typically puts family, colleagues and a sense of duty ahead of their own needs, and still another focuses on "living for today," you can configure the messaging so that employees comprehend the
personal significance of a benefit and how it aligns with their values and goals. They shift into a more active embrace and appreciation of what's available.

For example, an employee may perceive a retirement plan not simply as a financial product but as a means to secure their family's future, aligning with their value of providing security and stability. Highlighting this emotional connection through benefits marketing creates a compelling narrative that resonates with employees, encouraging them to take proactive steps towards securing their financial future.

Five elements of employee engagement
Moreover, by incorporating psychographics, you can more easily and effectively align with five essential elements of employee engagement:

1. Meaningful Work: By personalizing benefit messages, employees feel a stronger connection to their employer's vision and mission, making their work feel more meaningful and purpose-driven.

2. Autonomy: When employees come to see how benefit offerings support their sense of autonomy and align with their priorities and preferences, it reinforces their sense of control over their well-being and financial security.

3. Recognition and Appreciation: Benefits marketing that reflects employees' individual needs and values demonstrates recognition and appreciation for their unique contributions.

4. Professional Development: By understanding employees' aspirations, benefits marketing can address their professional growth and development needs, enhancing their commitment to their career.

5. Work-Life Balance: Psychographic profiling allows for benefits to be better-positioned as supporting work-life balance which, in turn, demonstrates that employers put a high priority on employees' overall well-being.

The last word
As benefits
marketing begins to supplant mere benefits communication, the integration of psychographics opens new avenues for customizing how the employer's benefits program can be applied across diverse employee populations. Understanding employees' values and motivations enables HR and Benefits teams to create meaningful connections that resonate on a personal level, encouraging greater participation and appreciation of benefit programs. By embracing psychographic profiling, employers can unlock the full potential of benefits marketing, ultimately fostering a happier and more loyal workforce.

Mark Head
© 2023. All Rights Reserved.

Today I'm going on a treasure hunt, to find nuggets of happiness in the most simple activities. To dive for pearls of wisdom in even the most mundane conversations. To look for diamonds of delight in the actions of those around me & to see jewels of the divine rising from each person's soul.
~ Elizabeth Richardson


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Mark Head


With 4 decades of combined experience in employee benefits consulting, wellness and health management, Head brings a unique combination of dynamic perspectives into a clear vision of where the future of health care is moving - and it's moving towards deeper human connection, awareness, and engagement...

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