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In spite of the vast potential, the retirement solutions category remained virtually
untapped by the Indian Insurance players - until ICICI Prudential decided to build and
explore this hidden goldmine. The following case study discusses how ICICI Prudential
used smart marketing strategy to exploit this opportunity to its advantage.
Sussan Verghese
ICICI Prudential.

Market Scenario
With increasing life expectancy on one hand and rising inflation and medical costs on the
other, the need for planning one’s retirement was emerging as an important one.
However, it was quite surprising to know only 11 per cent of India’s total working
population was adequately covered for post-retirement life. This was mainly due to low
awareness of and attitudinal barriers with respect to these issues among consumers.

The Opportunity
About 90 per cent of the working population in India was without retirement cover. Of
this, a sizeable portion belonged to the age group of 30-40 yrs - a big market left
unexploited so far.Even the market leader LIC, which has been in the country for
decades, had failed to truly drive growth of the retirement products category. Proof being
the mere 4.16 per cent contribution of pension products to its entire portfolio (as of end

The Barriers
The task of capturing the unexploited market however, turned out to be an uphill one.
The first barrier was low awareness of the need for early retirement planning among
consumers. Add to it the consumer’s notion that planning for retirement starts only in
your 50s. The bigger issue however, was the consumer’s perceptions and fears as far
as retirement was concerned. The word ‘retirement’ itself brought to mind all the
negatives associated with old age – loss of independence (social, financial and physical),
causing ‘avoidance’ or deferment of decisions regarding the same.

The Challenge

• To re-position the traditional concept of retirement planning and thus create

relevance for it among the 30-40 yrs age group.
• To change behaviour, inducing consumers to invest in retirement planning early in


• Bring the concept of planning for retirement into the consideration set of 30-40
year old working men/ women thereby creating a new market
• 50 per cent of pensions contributions to come from persons
below 40 years Sales and market share targets within six
months post campaign (for the period Sep 2002 to Mar 2003):
• 1. Sales target: INR 400 million
• 2. Share of total pensions market: 10 per cent
• 3.Contribution of pensions to portfolio: 20 per cent


• SEC A, B, 30-40 year old, chief wage earner, who: is at the prime of his working
life, with a higher disposable income and majority of work life still at hand.
• Currently thinks that retirement planning holds very low importance, as compared
to other needs of asset acquisition, child’s education etc.

Consumer Insight “Retirement is a long way off – why plan for it now?”“Retirement
means the end of all good things in life”Creative strategy
To a younger target group, for whom retirement is synonymous with growing old, the
strategy was to offer a fresh perspective by mirroring the never say die attitude of the 35
yr old. If age doesn’t stop him from sharing in the joys of life now, why should it stop
him later? Proposition
ICICI Prudential Retirement solutions help you plan early for retirement, ensuring that
you will continue to live life the way you always wanted to.The advertising message
“Retire from work – not life!”


The laddered task of share gain through changing consumer attitudes and behaviour,
called for a multi-dimensional communication strategy that went beyond traditional mass
1. Retirement Solutions Seminars: Through a tie up with The Times of India, full-page
educative advertorials were released in three metros inviting consumers for a free seminar
on early retirement planning. Over 2000 consumers attended these seminars.
2. Direct Marketing Campaign: More than 15 databases were carefully chosen to
accurately target the 30-40 yr old. Customers of/subscribers to ICICI Bank credit card
holders, Safety Bond holders, Money control and Myiris are few of the databases that
were used.
3. Retirement Planner: An educative booklet in the form of a planner was created
explaining why it made better sense to start planning for retirement several years in
advance. The mode of distribution was an innovation in Brand Equity (The Economic
4. Retirement calculator: A user-friendly calculator was designed to help customers
calculate the current savings required in order to meet post-retirement expenses. This was
made available on the brand website and used extensively as a needs analysis tool at the
time of sale.
The overriding objective of the media strategy was customer interaction through various
touch points using a 24-hour cycle. So a multi media strategy was developed to contact
the target at every possible touch point.
1. TV: This was the main medium for reach, impact and demonstrate the emotional pay
off. For the first month of launch a high reach, high frequency plan was implemented,
followed up with three months of sustained activity. The activity started with 40-second
commercials and then moved to 20 and 30 seconds edits aimed at increasing frequency.
2. Print: Press reinforced the rational benefit of saving early to cushion your retirement
by highlighting the product’s comprehensive features. Vehicles were chosen based on the
best cost per response i.e. the publication which would generate the maximum no of call
3. Radio: The new FM channels launched in the previous year were explored to reach
audiences out of home. The spots were aired so as to get the morning and evening office-
going traffic.
4. Outdoor: A high visibility-high impact outdoor strategy was implemented across 21
cities. Morning traffic sites were specifically selected to target the office going consumer.

5. Internet: Used innovatively to seek responses via click-throughs. Financial sites and
general interest sites were chosen considering the net is used both in office and at home.
6. Direct Marketing: Mailers and brochures played the dual role of educating the
consumer on the rationale behind planning early for retirement and the advantages of
ICICI Pru Retirement Solutions.
7. Public Relations: Was effectively used to educate consumers on early retirement
planning, making them more receptive towards the brand’s communication. Competitive
Media Spends: The combined spend of just the top 2 competitors put to- gether amounted
to Rs 16 crores approx. Comparatively the spends on the ICICI Pru campaign was Rs 4.8


• Television
• Newspaper
• Consumer Magazine
• Radio
• Point-of-Purchase
• Out-of-Home
• Public Relations
• Sales Promotion
• Consumer Seminars

EVIDENCE OF RESULTS Overwhelming response

• To begin with, the campaign triggered a large number of consumer response calls
and e-mails (35000 calls and 3000 emails).
• The response rate for mailers sent out (Direct Marketing) varied from five per
cent to 7.5 per cent, far higher than both domestic and international norms across

Changing Attitudes
The average age of a person investing in ICICI Pru retirement solutions dropped to 38.5

Sales and Market Shares:

The success of the campaign was not limited to phone calls alone. The campaign
contributed greatly to the organisation’s topline and bottomline as is evident form the
charts below: 1. Sales achieved for the period Sept ‘02 to Mar ’03, were INR 740 million
as compared to a target of INR 400 million. 2. Market share Gain: The brand increased its
share of pensions market to 23 per cent against target of 10 per cent for the period Sep
2002 to Mar 2003. The table below which compares ICICI Pru’s share in the pensions
market with the overall life insurance category puts the campaign’s success in