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Aflac restructures marketing, hires Experian exec in new role

In the process of restructuring its marketing organization, insurance provider Aflac announced on August 9 that Experian’s John Harmeling has assumed the newly created role of SVP of worksite marketing, effective two weeks ago, says Michael Zuna, the company’s chief marketing and sales officer.

“Worksite marketing” is Aflac’s term to describe its outreach initiatives to sell voluntary benefits to employees.

The need to create the new position arose because Aflac is restructuring its marketing and sales approach in response to changes affecting the insurance vertical, Zuna says. “We’re bringing marketing and sales and strategy and product into one division,” he says.

In addition to worksite initiatives, Aflac will create a team focused on brand and customer experience, and a group focused on seniors, Zuna adds. The senior executives of these divisions, including Harmeling, will report to Zuna.

“We have an amazing B2B2C sales process,” Zuna explains. The process begins when Aflac’s salesforce approaches HR benefits providers and convinces them that Aflac insurance should be offered to employees, he says. Following that, the Aflac salesforce makes its pitch to the employees themselves.

Zuna adds that Aflac’s worksite marketing strategy is “completely integrated” and involves national television spots, social media, and one-to-one marketing, among other initiatives.

In a statement, Aflac said Harmeling will “focus on developing and driving growth strategies in Aflac’s worksite segment, overseeing integrated sales and marketing programs across all sales channels, and extending the company’s efforts to attract and retain customers.”

Harmeling, previously a VP at Experian and an e-commerce executive at Bank of America, was brought to Aflac’s attention through the executive recruiting firm Wiser Partners. Harmeling will oversee roughly 50 marketers and communications professionals. He is helping the company continue executing campaigns for 2012 while planning strategies for 2013.

Aflac is still in the process of rounding out its marketing teams. “We have a lot of great jobs open right now,” Zuna says.

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