Whether customers are looking at facts or listening to rumors, you can’t avoid a discussion of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPAC) better known as Obamacare. I am not even sure the general population knows the correct name but they hear enough about it in the news.
The three marketing challenges for any insurance company is to see more people, sell more to the people you see, and retain more of the people you have sold. To accomplish this, direct mail marketing can be a valuable tool to accomplish all three goals and objectives.
With the U.S. Supreme Court today upholding nearly all of the landmark federal health law, affirming its mandate that most everyone carry insurance, companies will be scrambling to get the consumers dollar when it comes to healthcare coverage.
This is at the core of seeing more people and selling more to the people you see. Combining the traditional and non-traditional healthcare marketing will be key to reaching those people who either don’t have coverage, or do not have enough coverage. Economists see companies consolidating in the future.
Healthcare economist, Paul Keckley, according to Rueters says “upholding President Obama’s healthcare reform bill might mean biotech companies will be less likely to invest in research and development.” Discussing the erosion of innovation as the United States has funded a great deal of R & D costs and as the Bio-Pharma industry struggles to maintain margins, they will likely have to review their risk avoidance strategies.
Keckley goes on to say that he predicts consolidation across the board should accelerate because health care companies need “to grow revenue to sustain any margin in the near term.”
Direct mail marketing becomes more valuable and can accomplish the three main objectives to engage the potential customer as well as the current customer to other cross-sell opportunities. This is where integrated marketing comes into view. Successful Medicare Advantage plans as well as Medigap plans need multiple touches to the consumer before they are aware and actionable. The Medicare beneficiaries need and want to stay informed. They discuss their questions they have with their peers before making any decisions, and the more informed they are as consumers, the easier the sales process is.
What most insurance marketers have found is that the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) letter is just not enough communication with the customer and direct mail allows you to reach out and give that customer the opportunity to raise their proverbial “hand” to obtain more information.
Lisa Lough, Cigna’s VP of consumer marketing said to DMNews, “Cigna has been marketing directly to consumers for more than 20 years; however, it is aggressively expanding its consumer marketing agenda.”
With all of the changes of the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), their annual modifications, change in election period dates, and this year’s election year antics, there is plenty to communicate to the consumer. Direct mail is a great way to reach an audience who already trusts the value of direct mail.
The marketplace is changing. Insurance companies have been used to dealing with members through the consumer’s employer. “With the healthcare reform law, people will be interacting with the companies in a whole new dynamic,” said Tom Emmerson, VP of Sales and Operations at Premier Advantage Marketing. “Where the companies were traditionally styling their marketing B2B they are having to switch gears to a B2C style marketing strategy,” continues Emmerson.
Understanding more about the consumer requires study into the demographic and a more data analytical approach. Elena Kambitsi, VP of product development and market analytics for Blue Cross of NE Pennsylvania told DMNews, “We only get one chance to do it right the first time. If consumers don’t like the experience, they won’t come back.”
Understanding the generation and how they interact with direct mail is important to success. Boomers and Matures (born between 1925 and 1960) are electronically savvy. They collectively make up 30% of the population. Their opinions were formed by war and economic depression and with Boomers making up the largest on-line consumer base, it is best if a marketer covers all bases.
Direct mail marketing is a trusted medium. Information can be delivered to the consumer without the fear on their end that you are going to steal their information. By the very nature of direct mail you have a brief amount of time to communicate with the consumer without your competition having time to respond.
With information flying around about the Supreme Court’s decision and everyone vying for the attention of anyone and everyone to get them insurance coverage, make sure the direct mail pieces they receive and want to receive come from you and not your competition.
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