A major component of the fast-approaching Affordable Care Act is the creation of Healthcare Exchanges. We’ve all heard of these by now. Essentially, they are new marketplaces where American consumers can learn, compare and shop for plans to ensure they select the best, most affordable plans for their needs. This marks a big change for healthcare insurers. Traditionally B-to-B marketers, they find themselves in the world of B-to-C marketing. Today’s marketplace is full of consumers that are connected, on the go, and expect transparency and service. They crave information and connections—practically in real-time. It’s consumer marketing in the age of the “Empowered Consumer.”
Of course, this isn’t anything new. Most every healthcare business, whether an insurer or not, saw the writing on the wall a while back. But it’s not about knowing it’s coming; it’s about embracing, adapting and changing to this new landscape. It’s about shifting the way you see your consumer and putting them at the center of everything you do. As Gartner put it, today’s empowered consumer nailed the coffin in the traditional marketing funnel. It’s time to start thinking differently.
This past week I was in a brainstorming session with my friend and trusted advisor, Mickey McManus of MAYA Design. We were discussing how my company can leverage the vast amounts of data we gather from millions of consumers each month for the good of the consumer, our partners and our business. We hit upon a phrase that really resonated with the entire group. And at the risk of tipping our hand, I’m going to share it: “We don’t sell leads. We make introductions.” Data can reveal insights that create personal consumer introductions.
Personalization. Targeting. Customer-centric marketing. Relationship marketing. Whatever you call it, marketers—especially healthcare marketers and insurers—must embrace the data to truly learn, understand and communicate personally with consumers.
Think about it on a personal level. You can strike up a conversation with someone with just a plain introduction or use insights about that person to allow you to grasp their attention—to make a connection. A simple, “Go Gators, I’m a fellow Florida Gator alumnus”… can create a much better connection than just a plain “hello” introduction. Data can reveal insights.
“We don’t sell leads. We make introductions.”
Welcome to the new world. You need to know your consumer. And they know you have the data and actually expect you to use it. It’s about making introductions, based on insights from data, that help cultivate meaningful, personal relationships. Relationship marketing hasn’t exactly been the strong suit of healthcare insurers. They haven’t had to focus on that before. Now they do. So what should they do? Here are five basic principles I believe healthcare insurers need to focus on for success: