Editor's Note: Healthcare Marketers Point the Way to Marketing’s Future1 Feb, 2014 By: Thomas Haire Response
Perhaps no industry is undergoing more change than the healthcare space. From medical providers to health insurers to — most importantly — customers, the recent enaction of the Affordable Care Act has created a firestorm of activity across the nation.
At the same time, the healthcare industry — especially insurance companies — is also one of the most prepared to use the combination of direct, digital and data-driven marketing that finding and maintaining customers will require in this new age. For years, now, we’ve tracked the healthcare business as it grew in the direct response space, and then watched it lead other verticals to understand how best to maximize the digital DR aspects of a campaign.
So, not surprisingly, these companies — like this month’s cover subject, Premera Blue Cross, and others like Humana and WellPoint — are those leading the charge today. Combining old school direct response calls-to-action with extensive online capabilities, health insurers are simplifying both the information consumers need and the decisions those consumers need to make — whether they are young folks looking for a new plan or older individuals trying to upgrade a Medicare plan.
What happens, though, once a healthcare consumer becomes a customer? That’s where this industry is again ahead of the game, utilizing existing customer data to help those customers get the most out of their plan, while also offering those customers upgraded plans at the same time. It’s a win-win, all driven by healthcare marketers’ access to and knowledgeable stewardship of customer data.
Since debuting our new tagline last month — Direct. Digital. Data-Driven. — I’ve been asked a number of times “Why those terms” and “What’s the difference?” Fortunately, I knew this issue featuring healthcare marketers was sitting in my back pocket, and that it would perfectly delineate what we mean.
No longer is a simple direct response marketing plan enough. No longer is digital just a place to get customers additional info or the place to send them to order. And, no longer can marketers minimize the importance of maximizing their data — whether it’s front-end sales data, back-end consumer data or existing customer data.
Consumers are more in charge of the marketing process than ever. Marketers of all stripes will succeed only if they can reach consumers with a targeted message both where and when they want it — and then understand exactly why that consumer wanted it that way.
There’s no better issue of Response than this one — with its focus on the healthcare industry’s groundbreaking expertise in direct, digital and data-driven marketing — to begin to understand where the marketing business is headed.
Thomas Haire, Editor-in-Chief