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Marketing Imperatives for Healthcare Payers

As the exchange markets take hold across state-based and federal-facilitated healthcare insurance exchanges, the opportunity for direct-to-consumer marketing—on a personalized level—becomes a disruptive force for payers to grab market share as well as profitable members. Despite the media-driven hype and compounding issues of the federal exchange, it is estimated that more than 8 million individuals will have purchased a healthcare benefit on the individual exchange through May, and of that number, 87% or 6.9 million were previously uninsured. According to Reuters, it is estimated that the average monthly premium for a mid-tier plan will cost consumers $328/month. This represents more than $2.2 billion in new premiums across the US healthcare insurance industry and also represents a new norm for how healthcare insurance will be purchased outside of the workplace going forward.

For more than a decade, the healthcare insurance industry has been talking about the consumer-centric transformation of the business. Now that the Affordable Care Act is in market, this transformation is no longer a conversation, but a reality that will create clear winners and losers in the marketplace.

Marketing Imperatives to Capitalize on the Opportunity at Hand

Addressability at Scale (AAS)

Addressability at Scale is defined as the opportunity to create competitive advantage through the ability to deliver targeted, personalized experiences to prospects and members. The first version of AAS occurred in the 1990s when marketers such as GEICO and CapitalOne harnessed the power of data and analytics to drive targeted, relevant messaging through millions of mailboxes. Leveraging the United States Postal System (USPS) as a platform for creating a more qualified pool of responders to their products, they were able to deliver a personalized message to a specific individual at a specific address based on the available data and analytics.  

Today, the opportunity to find and attract millions of additional qualified prospects exists in leveraging the massive scale of social platforms like Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others where the ability exists to match anonymous individuals to known datasets—like name and address—and deliver personalized messages across devices when a consumer is engaged in a specific product or topic. This delivers more valuable prospects to the top of the sales funnel and dramatically increases the brand’s ability to drive more profitable and valuable acquisitions, reducing cost per lead and cost per acquisition.

Realizing Value From Platform Marketing

Today’s necessary marketing capabilities are much different from the days when the USPS ruled the roost.  Healthcare insurance marketers today must be healthcare benefit product experts, data analysts, digital media planners and buyers, and marketing technology specialists to understand how to engage audiences on the new platforms. Not only does this mean that you’ll need to develop and deliver personalized messages through these platforms, but you’ll also need to be aware of privacy regulations many marketers face today. Understanding and implementing measures to track digital media performance (attribution) have never been so important. In summary, platform marketers must develop competencies in the following area:

  • Identity management
  • Audience management
  • Consumer privacy and compliance
  • Media and channel optimization
  • Measurement and attribution
  • Experience design and creation
  • Technology stack

Building the Technology Stack

Today’s digital world introduces marketing technology challenges for insurance marketing technology professionals. Industry leaders are implementing integrated technology networks to provide a consolidated view of first and third-party data with online and offline customer activities. However, it is not only important to select the right technologies, but it is imperative to properly “stack” these technologies to optimize efficiencies in these major functions: identity management, marketing databases, analytics, data management platform, decision management, and execution currencies. Therefore, platform marketers must evaluate if their existing technology stack is creating sustainable competitive advantage. If not, best practices for selecting and creating a technology must be implemented.

Prepare for Transformation

These Marketing Imperatives mentioned above—addressability at scale in social platforms, realizing the value in platform marketing expertise, and building the technology stack—drive more personalized 1:1 messaging to the right customer, at the right time, in the right place, on the right device, and is transforming Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM). At Merkle, we call this transformation Connected CRM (cCRM™) and it is not an easy task to achieve, even for a seasoned platform marketer. However, getting the full support of executive management—commitment to vision, budget, and designated staff—is crucial to every successful cCRM implementation.

High value
The Connected CRM maturity model
Low value

As healthcare payers continue to evolve capabilities in the direct-to-consumer market, marketers must keep a keen eye towards where their organization stands on the first three levels of CRM maturity. Building “what right looks like” for your organization is critically important. The Basics of cCRM fall into four key areas:

  • Data and analytics drive segmentation, focusing marketing efforts on specific segments of customers. This is where you start.
  • Marketing campaigns and messaging are targeted at individual segments and—depending on the maturity of the capability—can be targeted at specific individuals as well.
  • Establish a marketing database as the single source of truth for analytics and business intelligence and results. This is the key marketing technology platform from which to build CRM capabilities.
  • Results are constantly fed back into the system in a closed-loop environment to drive decisions on where to best spend your next marketing dollar.

cCRM creates long term, sustainable customer value and competitive advantage. To learn more, visit the Connected CRM website. We would be happy get together to answer your questions.

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