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Managing a Multi-Channel Open Enrollment Campaign

An informational guide to planning, developing, and executing a successful open enrollment marketing strategy

If you are a marketer for Medicare or Quality Health Plans (QHP) as part of the Affordable care Act, or both — you are well aware that it’s “go” time.

You’ve done your homework: performed data analytics on last year’s campaign to identify what works and what doesn’t; explored the market to identify new media and new targeting technology to make the next campaign more effective; planned your budget with careful attention to marketing mix and spend allocation by channel for the optimal go-to-market strategy; and you have the most responsive creative to attract interest, convert leads, and ultimately enroll new members.

Now what?

In-market optimization of any campaign is just as important as the planning that leads up to the launch. Both DRTV and digital media should be managed on a weekly basis by your media team. Key performance metrics (KPIs) such as cost per response (CPR), cost per lead (CPL), rates such as click thru rate (CTR), and lead conversion rates should be monitored closely. How they are optimized varies by channel.  It is essential to meet weekly as a team and review results from the week prior as well as cumulative, in detail.

For DRTV, the campaign can be optimized by creative — if there is more than one spot in rotation and especially if there is a new test spot vs. control, station, and daypart. When testing creative, there might not always be a clear winner. For instance, different spots may work better on different channels so fine tune the buy to reflect that. Ultimately, you want to direct marketing dollars toward the best performing creative, station, and daypart to maximize responses, leads, and sales. A media team that can provide that level of data and transparency is required. Meeting on a weekly basis to review the results and make real-time optimization decisions ensures maximum efficiency. For DRTV, decisions about changes to a media buy should be made by Thursday in order to impact the following week starting Monday.

Digital works similarly, in that you can optimize the buy based on best performing ad units. This is more micro than DRTV where you are working with one or two spots. Digital creative is prime for testing and there should be scores of ad units that swap out message copy, image, buttons, etc. Additionally, on a weekly basis you are reviewing performance by ad unit. Today programmatic buys on digital platforms take care of the daily optimizations. If your media team is managing it correctly, poor performing ad units drop out of rotation and best performing ad units rise to the top as those most often served. Plus, the digital platforms optimize to not only creative but better performing sites. Poor performing sites receive few dollars so top performers are maximized.

Direct mail is harder to optimize while in market due to the time it takes to produce material. Instead, make sure that most of your base is getting control creative with proven historical success and then test, test, test! Test results from new creative / targeting / calls-to-action, etc. now sets you up for next year’s campaign. Direct marketers never stop — we are always thinking one campaign ahead. The goal is always to ‘beat the control’. Every little lift in performance across channels, no matter how small, leads to overall increased efficiency year-over-year.

Now what are you waiting for? Get those recurring team meetings scheduled to discuss results in real time and optimize to the max!  

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