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Redesigning retirement planning through service design

Jackson pushed their industry forward by applying service design principles to retirement planning.

laptop with retirement planning tool

Summary & Goals

Jackson helps customers plan and save for their retirement through their network of financial advisors. Realizing that a nest egg is only one component of a successful retirement, Jackson developed a new educational offering encouraging advisors and their clients to make sure that their financial goals are leading toward a meaningful, fulfilling life. The program began to resonate, but outreach consisted of face-to-face meetings with physical workbooks. To broaden their reach, Jackson partnered with Think Company to discover and conceptualize how to best facilitate this planning digitally.


  • Financial Services
  • Insurance
Retired couple socializing

Research to Inform UX and Content Strategy

We took a mixed-methods approach to our design research, learning from financial advisors and their clients. We started with a survey to gather feedback on the program from a broad group of customers. Diving deeper, we observed workshops and facilitated in-depth interviews with customers by age and other segmentations that helped us understand what retirement preparedness means and what is missing in the landscape of retirement products and services.

person leading a presentation
white board with sticky notes


With our research insights, we mapped the advisor and customer experience for this program in the context of the broader retirement planning journey. Since this is one of many programs and services that financial advisors can use with their clients, a journey map helped identify any gaps in the program and opportunities to better integrate the program into the overall retirement planning experience.

Retirement services marketing pipeline


We learned that a communication funnel was key to the overall success of the program and that it was important to overcome barriers at each phase, sequentially. We created a framework to articulate these phases and barriers.

Awareness: The current process of marketing this program was word of mouth, supported by presentations at conferences, without a digital presence.

Consistency of Message: Financial advisors had different ideas about the goals and benefits of the program, leading to inconsistent presentations by different people.

Adoption and Training: Once Financial Advisors understood and saw the benefits of the program, it was difficult to implement and lacked clear next steps or guides.

Product Integration: Financial Advisors wanted simple tools that tie the program back to the financial products that best serve their clients.

person signing up for retirement plan via phone


Our design research surfaced opportunities for Jackson to improve and evolve the communication and distribution of the program at each phase of the process. This included content improvements by providing more concise and action-oriented information. Additionally, we designed a testable prototype for financial advisors. This starter-kit will support them by showing clear pathways for customer learning and adoption.


As is often the case, our partners had to communicate these ideas to internal stakeholders including company executives. We supported them by creating a presentation that shared the future vision for a new customer experience. This helped them clearly communicate the core recommendation and value in a simple and compelling way.

Customer profile on retirement site


Our research gave Jackson a clear picture of how customers and agents use their content and evaluate their products. With these learnings and the design concepts we provided, Jackson is prepared to build tools that better service these audiences.

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