Health insurance marketing: Seek a long-term member relationship

Health insurers must build long-term relationships with customers--using methods that include data and technology tools--to compete and thrive in today's healthcare environment, according to a white paper from Frost & Sullivan. However, health insurance marketers must address several challenges to build lasting customer relationships, including:

Diverse customer pool: Health insurance customers include seniors, Gen X, baby boomers and millennials. And each demographic requires a different marketing approach. Moreover, insurers have to form relationships with employers, as well as with the employees, to implement appropriate efforts to educate, acquire and retain employees and employee dependents within group plans, Frost & Sullivan noted.

Existing customer engagement: With new customer acquisition costing more than retaining existing customers, health insurer longevity requires high customer renewal rates. So insurers must target email, phone call or print marketing campaigns to existing members to keep them engaged and informed, according to Frost & Sullivan. They also need to update the profile information of existing customers to prevent subscription fall-offs.

To overcome these marketing challenges, Frost & Sullivan points to data and technology solutions, such as using social media platforms to interact with Gen X and millenials. An online forum, for instance, that allows consumers to blog about their health and experiences would offer payers a "treasure trove" of relevant consumer information.

CoOportunity Health, which has limited advertising capacity as a CO-OP made use of social media, for example.

"We wanted to take advantage of the fact that some of these populations are very social media savvy and reaching out to them was a good opportunity,"CoOportunity Health CEO David Lyons told FierceHealthPayer in a recent interview.

Health insurance marketers also can use data-driven marketing analytics to track visitors' website behavior and interaction across marketing channels. Doing so allows health insurance marketers to create personalized content and more in-depth profiles of target audiences, the white paper noted.

To learn more:
- here's the white paper (.pdf)

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