You’ve all heard of not mixing business with pleasure. I found a new mantra for Medicare marketers, mixing business with “Measure!” Throughout the Medicare Marketing Enrollment Strategies Conference last week and during the information sessions, I heard the following main themes repeated: 

The Deck is Stacked. Government headwinds and rising operating and marketing costs have changed the competitive landscape – putting pressure to reduce cost per lead and cost per enrollment.  In addition, Deft Research stated at the opening session that 67% of eligible Medicare Advantage senior didn’t even shop or switch plans during last AEP period. Today, you need marketing strategies to take those new realities into account.  

Star Power. The CMS outcome-based 5-star rating system will continue to gain importance by providing highly rated health plans with competitive and financial advantages. While premium and other costs are obviously very important to seniors, members will select and stay with 5-star plans over lower rated alternatives.  Conversely, sub-3-Star Plans face intense CMS scrutiny. 

Bill Murray, Morgan Fairchild, Cybill Shepherd, and Stevie Wonder.  It’s hard to believe but these celebrities are turned 65 in 2015.  The baby boomers like them shopping for Medicare Advantage plans are different than traditional seniors; after all they are “Born to Run” and like to “Rock and Roll All Night.” The boomers participate actively in an environment dominated by Facebook, e-mail, text reminders, and an ever-growing portfolio of web and mobile applications. The best approach is to not abandon traditional and effective mediums like direct mail, but to offer a broad spectrum of channels and technologies to effectively reach all members. 

Predicting the Future.  Leading Medicare Advantage providers are employing integrated online and offline strategies that use predictive modeling to leverage hundreds of variables to determine which variables are most predictive.  Maximizing your marketing spend by focusing on the best members of your prospect universe can lower your cost per acquisition by over 30%. 

“Testing one, two, three…” Many of the Summit sessions stressed the need to develop formal test and learn plans for Age-In and AEP direct marketing campaigns. What can you do to make your direct marketing more effective? That is the question that cannot be answered without constant testing. If you aren’t doing it, your competitors are – your perfectly good AEP direct marketing program may be beaten by your competitor’s even better one.  Test, test, test – then refine! 

The mathematical measurements of results are the best way to end debates on issues such as creative approaches, formats, number of touches, online vs. offline channels and offers. Gut instinct plays a big part in the creative process, but no one knows better what will work than your own prospects and members. Mix your business with measure, and the results are sure to follow.