Can’t save money that isn’t there

Fails: List, Timing   

The person receiving this letter had a 401-k account through his employer administered by Fidelity. A few weeks after he left the job, he moved the 401-k balance to a Rollover IRA with a discount broker. That took place a full month before this letter arrived from Fidelity.

Creatively, the message is on target. The outer envelope teaser cites information in the letter.  Interior lettercopy takes the tone of a consultative and informative soft-sell with a call to action to speak to a Fidelity Representative to help the customer.

However, the “Vested Balance” remaining when the letter was produced was zero, which is why the balance listed on the upper-left corner is “Unavailable”. So there was no point to Fidelity sending the letter – the customer made his decision. In this case, never is better than late.

If Fidelity is ensuring customers keep their money there after employment ends, a letter like this should mail when still relevant to the customer, e.g. 2 weeks after the key event – not 2 months. When preparing production, customers with no balance left in their 401-k should be dropped from the mailing.

Learnings: When sending an event-based letter, time the mail to arrive when relevant to the customer. Before sending a mailing, include a step to drop from the mailing list customers where the message is no longer applicable.

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