By Lindsay Resnick, September 26, 2011
With compliance scrutiny at an all-time high, a selling-season that has been dramatically shortened, and bonus payments and year-round marketing directly tied to the CMS Star Rating system—managing Medicare Advantage aren’t getting any easier. Add to the mix a surge of baby boomers entering the Medicare marketplace at a rate of almost 10,000 every day and one thing is for sure…you better have your Medicare marketing house in order.
Below are our Medicare Marketing’s Top Ten success factors to help sharpen your approach and meet or exceed stakeholder expectations.
- Understand the impact of CMS COMPLIANCE – Today’s Medicare marketers must understand and respect the important role CMS compliance plays in the member acquisition process. This means making sure the link between marketing, sales and compliance is as strong as possible, always supporting the spirit of CMS consumer protections.
- Be DATA DRIVEN to ensure a strong foundation – Always start with data. It needs to be sorted, cleaned, refined, and turned into actionable marketing intelligence. From building predictive models for most likely responders to variable direct response call-outs to optimize media buys, the goal is to bring a grow while continually lowering your cost per lead and cost per sale.
- Modernize your AGE-IN process – With thousands aging into Medicare every day, new approaches are needed to attract today’s boomer-seniors. “It’s not your Daddy’s Medicare.” It takes a combination of meaningful education, sequenced messaging, and innovative approaches to outreach to connect with newly eligible beneficiaries.
- RETAIN MEMBERS to increase ROI – In a fiercely competitive Medicare market, aggressive “switcher” campaigns have become routine. The cost of acquiring a new member is 5X the cost of retaining an existing one. Loyalty-based member engagement plays a big role in a health plan’s long-term profitability under the label of member LifeTime Value.
- STAR RATINGS impact the bottom line – As CMS deploys its 5-Star Rating across Medicare plans, marketing’s role is critical to ensure member communications reinforce customer satisfaction. Engagement marketing goes a long way in a plan’s ability to achieve the highest possible Star Rating and the bonus payments that go with it.
- CUSTOMER INTERACTION makes a key difference – Give beneficiaries a reason to engage and connect with a Medicare plan they trust. It’s all about them. It takes tested, personalized direct response marketing that create opportunities for one-on-one interaction to communicate value and answer a Medicare beneficiary’s most important question, “What’s in it for me?”
- Don’t ignore DIGITAL MEDICARE – As more and more Medicare shoppers use the Web as their primary research tool, it’s essential to have a Medicare online experience that’s user tested, compelling, and built for seniors. From ease-of-navigation to the images and words on your website, it needs to be tailored to your Medicare audience.
- Consider MULTI-CHANNEL SALES that match customer preferences – Different Medicare customers require different doors of entry….some will call on the phone; others come in through a website; some prefer to respond via mail; many like a discussion across their kitchen table; and, others may even desire a retail experience. A multi-channel sales distribution strategy is critical to success.
- Understand your DIFFERENTIATED VALUE – Being the health plan of choice for Medicare beneficiaries is achieved by building trust, credibility and relevancy around your value proposition. This means understanding drivers that motivate prospects to select your plan, and an ability to get the most differentiated and preferred product offerings in front of them.
- Measure MARKETING ROI to determine actual results – You can’t manage what you can’t measure! Combining sophisticated upfront data analytics, direct response discipline and flawless campaign execution can significantly lower member acquisition costs and increase retention. Tracking, analyzing and measuring results throughout the marketing cycle is a Medicare marketing must.
Successful Medicare marketing hinges on educating seniors, defining value and creating motivated buyers. It takes learning as much as you can about your target market so you understand what’s important to them, what concerns them, and what they want from their Medicare plan. It will go a long way toward answering Medicare beneficiaries’ number one question—what’s in it for me?