It’s a long way between the comprehensive product lines of Lincoln Financial Group (LFG) and individual American consumers, but the firm is moving to close the gap by creating a new chief marketing officer position.
Named to the position recently was Richard Aneser, who plans to use his two decades of agency and corporate experience to develop new opportunities for advisers, agents, and consultants to market Lincoln’s portfolio of insurance and retirement products. Specifically, Aneser was named CMO of the LFG’s wholesale distribution subsidiary, its Lincoln Financial Distributors unit.
“Our business at Lincoln gets done through our advisers,” he said in an interview with CMO.com, noting that Lincoln markets its portfolio through advisers and consultants at financial institutions, insurance brokerages, and banks. “It’s critical to understand more about what motivates the end consumer. Trust must be built all the way down to the individual level. The brand is built from the bottom up.”
Most recently, Aneser was managing director and head of advisory and solutions marketing and wealth management Americas for UBS, where he worked to transform the marketing organization to promote growth at the individual adviser level. Before that, Aneser held various marketing positions at Merrill Lynch, Fidelity Investments, and Hill, Holiday Advertising.
Lincoln and its affiliated companies offer product portfolios ranging from annuities and life, group life, disability, and dental insurance to 401(k) and 403(b) plans. Also included in the portfolios are savings plans and comprehensive financial planning and advisory services.
Pointing to the financial upheaval during the past decade–wild stock market swings, recession, housing troubles–Aneser noted that baby boomers, for instance, are seeking more secure financial products than they have in the past.
“They’ve been doing all the right financial things” by preparing for their retirement, but the future landscape is still uncertain, he observed. “We want to make it easier for our advisers to prepare for this.” The Lincoln Financial Group cites a MOOD of America survey (Measuring, Optimism, Outlook, Direction) that indicates many Baby Boomers might be overconfident about their retirement resources.
The survey also found that just 54% of respondents believe they will have enough financial resources to live on when they retire. One area that Aneser is singling out for attention is the growing percentages of elderly Americans who are likely to need long-term care. He expects Lincoln will work to develop additional products to address that need.
“There’s been a long-term shift from guaranteed pensions,” he said. “What we’re seeing is a need for more certainty.” While there are many products for long-term care, Aneser indicated more situation-targeted products should be developed that will attract both advisers and end consumers. As examples, he said there could be improved products aimed at elderly people without children who often function as caregivers for parents.
Aneser was asked whether he would use any special approaches in his new marketing position. “We definitely want to use data,” he said referring to the mountains of unstructured business intelligence that can be mined through new technology techniques for research in developing new products. He added that social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are also likely to provide help. While he views Facebook and Twitter as still in their early stages as useful research tools, he expects they will eventually be “a great set of tools” to use.
In his new position, Aneser will report directly to Lincoln Financial Distributor’s president and CEO, Will Fuller, who said Aneser’s “deep knowledge of the financial services industry and expertise in designing solutions-based marketing programs for retirement, banking, investment and advisory platforms will be an enormous benefit to our strategic partner firms and financial professionals.”