There is an old joke about 3 statisticians who go out hunting together. After a while they spot a solitary rabbit. The first statistician takes aim and overshoots. The second aims and undershoots. The third shouts out "We got him!"

I’m not a statistician or data analyst, but here’s my take on some clear “layman” explanations and best practices from a business perspective of how data analytics, segmentation and modeling can help you achieve a greater ROI for your Medicare marketing programs.  

So why is this an important topic? Let’s look at a few numbers:

2,326, 25, 34…

According to Competiscan, during 2015 AEP there were 2,326 separate direct mail campaigns - representing a 25% increase in direct mail volume from the previous year. All of these campaigns are vying for the attention of just 34% of the eligible seniors who are actually shopping (according to Deft Research). That can make a bottleneck for your plan to resonate with the right people. Couple this with increasing government regulation and the pressure to do more with less from a budgeting standpoint, and Medicare marketers have a challenging job!

So how are you going to stand out from all the clutter? Simple (well, sort of) - Data Analytics!

In a recent Teradata survey of over 500 global marketers, the top 3 reasons for using data analytics in reverse order:

Data

(3) Create synergies across all of your marketing channels.

(2) Prove and measure the success of multi-channel marketing campaigns.  - Prove is a key word when justifying marketing spend.

(1) Achieving optimal customer response by knowing your target audience.

How well do you know your target audience? 

Yes, for you Kiss fans out there – Gene Simmons is now Medicare eligible. Feel old yet? Your target audience may not look exactly like  you think, – so, let the data tell the story of who your best members are and where to find more of them.  Direct marketing starts with the data, and data drives both the targeting and messaging of your campaigns. Factors such as income, home ownership, behavior and lifestyle have a significant influence on response. Knowing who your audience is, in order to make your communications and messaging more relevant, is an important and daunting task. Baby Boomers like Gene, turning 65, participate actively with Facebook, e-mail, and an ever-growing portfolio of web and mobile applications, so the best approach is to offer a broad spectrum of channels to reach all members.

Knowing your target audience all starts with data.  You read a lot today about BIG DATA and the need for organizations to compile and link disparate data sources to get a 360 degree view of their members’ behavior and attitudes.  The good news is that you have the ability today to supplement your member data, with data from third party database domains to understand who your members are and which ones are most responsive to your marketing programs. Fortified with this data you can incorporate profiling, segmentation and modeling. 

Come back for my companion post tomorrow on Profiling, Segmentation and Modeling for Medicare Marketers.

Rick Berman is SourceLink's Senior Director of Business Development, and as the title suggests, knows more about "seniors" and Medicare marketing than almost any marketer in the country. You can reach Rick at rberman@sourcelink.com or find him on LinkedIn here.