I joined TIAA-CREF in 1999 to manage a team of writers which had been responsible for creating long-form collateral materials and retirement plan enrollment kits. I transitioned the team to focus more on marketing initiatives and campaigns with measurable goals, and defined schedules. This included some turnover of staff and the creation of several new roles. Because the practice of strategic marketing hadn’t been used broadly, I had a tremendous opportunity to introduce its principles, and design and implement campaigns to support the business goals of the firm which were to gather retirement assets.
TIAA-CREF tended to favor large-scale mailings to most of its 3 million participant base, despite the fact that only a clearly defined segment of that population was eligible or potentially interested in a particular offering. My team conducted exhaustive research into the participant base to identify subsegments based on age, contribution level, products owned and other demographic factors. These smaller mailings were highly efficient and tremendously effective in driving assets under management for the firm.