Content strategist Jennie Kim lays out the three components of a winning content strategy and...
Hidden Gems of Healthcare
When interactive technology is added to the word-of-mouth mix, there’s a new dynamic to take into account. Consumers are turning to websites where people review products, assign ratings or just plain rant. There are blogs, Twitter-type applications and Facebook-type social networks for informal exchanges of information. And there’s the ubiquitous e-mail. These cyber-communication channels give “word of mouth” a hyper-extended reach even a spammer would envy. Healthcare marketers will be challenged to monitor or measure the influence of such freewheeling external communications. Proactive marketers will reach select target groups to encourage information exchange using their own customized media communication channels.
Because consumers are prone to stay with a health insurer, health insurance is known as a “sticky” product. Stickiness aside, product loyalty is a tenuous quality that can make or break conversion efforts. Studies have shown that older consumers tend to be more product-loyal than younger consumers, the explanation being that risk adversity increases with age. For now, the baby boom generation seems to be following the brand-loyalty pattern in healthcare.11
But boomers have demographic and economic power—by 2015 they will account for about 40 percent of U.S. spending12 —so knowledge of their patterns is critical to retaining their business. Inaccurate assumptions and generalizations about any age group can derail the best-laid marketing plans.
When Forrester Research Inc., surveyed consumers shopping for health insurance, it discovered that the majority of them were disappointed with the materials they encountered, across print, online and phone channels.13
Marketing that misses the mark may be a problem of tone, style (too sophisticated? too dumbed-down? too much jargon?), delivery, timing or the message itself (confusing? too subtle? overwhelming?). Whatever the source of the trouble, it’s time to revisit the strategy and review a checklist of the basics, refining metrics until questions about targets and techniques can be answered with confidence.
Marketing direct-purchase products to individuals is a world apart from marketing group insurance to employers, requiring more intimate awareness of consumer behaviors of more narrow and distinctive market segments. That the individuals are current customers means little if the conversion strategy cuts too many corners.