3 Steps to Finding the Love

February 14, 2017 is the last day that a Medicare Advantage member can dis-enroll from their existing plan returning to Original Medicare and a stand-alone Part D plan.  At this time plans can truly take stock of the change in enrollment from 2016 to 2017, and evaluate the success or failure of the prior year’s marketing efforts.  While who will succeed and who will fail is driven in large part to a multitude of factors including pricing, provider networks, benefits, and competition there is a significant amount of control that remains for marketers to make the most out of their budget.

Step 1:  Find Your Targets 

It is astounding that many insurers still are not using predictive analytics to assist with the identification of two very important audiences.  The first consists of who amongst prospects are most likely to be interested in a given insurer and a particular plan.  The second consists of who of all current members are most likely to leave.  Without being able to identify these targeted audiences, marketing dollars will never work at peak efficiency.  As a result, dollars will be wasted on poor targets leading to substandard ROI with a higher cost of acquisition and cost per member retained.  Acquisition models should be deployed during AEP, while retention models (aka churn models) should be used year round.  Of course the identification of target audiences is only a first step in the process.  The question next becomes how to best develop a communication strategy.

Step 2: Develop a Personalized Communication Strategy

During AEP, direct mail remains the workhorse for acquisition.  Typical calls to action include phone, web, or business reply.  Are you considering current customers during AEP?  They are likely getting solicited from competitors, so why stay quiet and out of the fray when you can thank them for their business and position and explain differences pre and post ANOC?  Are you speaking to members and prospects differently based on knowledge based segmentation systems?  All members are not the same and relevancy is vital for all consumers regardless of the product or service being sold.  Buzzwords like “Omni channel” are overused, however, delivery of relevant content and just as importantly housing of content when a member or prospects initiates an inquiry is paramount.  To this end, developing a consistent and engaging customer experience will have an impact on your brand affinity and net promoter scores.

Step 3: Map the Member Journey

Don’t you hate running into someone who you have not seen in years, and not recalling their name?  While most people are forgiving, it’s not a great feeling for either person. Insurers find a parallel when information is not shared across the organization, leading to inconsistencies in communications across channels specific to members.  This is only the beginning, since the best brands not only understand the past but anticipate the future at an individual (aka member) level.  Mapping the member journey will shed light on gaps, and allow for prioritization of initiatives to improve the overall member experience.

We live in different times today, where brands have taken form as “almost human” entities.  Every member interaction, observation, or perception takes on heightened meaning in a world where both the true and perceived can be magnified in social media, through word of mouth, or published in the blogosphere.  Identifying targets, developing a personalized communication strategy, and committing to continuous improvement with member satisfaction using Member Experience Mapping is a great way to make an impact in business results.