The healthcare industry continues to see huge changes, and perhaps some of the biggest changes have been in the health insurance marketplace. The Affordable Care Act has completely transformed the healthcare market, and today the insurance marketplace has become a retail market fueled by consumers.
Consumerism in health insurance isn’t just a trend. As the healthcare landscape continues to change and shift, there’s no doubt that consumerism in the healthcare industry is here to stay. Health insurance companies can no longer turn to traditional marketing methods that have proved useful in the past — they must continue to change and update marketing techniques to reach today’s consumers.
▶ Challenges Facing Health Insurance Companies
The changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act has presented health insurance companies with many different challenges, and these challenges make it more difficult for health insurance marketers to meet their objectives. Some of the toughest challenges health insurance companies are facing today include:
- Multiple people making purchasing decisions: Health insurance companies face the challenge of selling insurance when multiple people are involved in making the purchasing decision. Commercial insurers sell to business that may offer employees multiple plan options from different insurers, which means businesses and their employees are involved in the decision making.
Insurers that sell regulated plans usually sell directly to consumers, but still multiple people in the family may be involved in the decision making. Prospective buyers may involve other people like their spouses, friends, caretakers or healthcare advocates. This makes it difficult for insurance companies to target marketing efforts when so many types of consumers can be involved in one decision
- New sales cycles each year: Each year, there’s a new sales cycle. Once insurance companies make a sale, they have to build relationships quickly and then work to get them to enroll again the next year. This requires building relationships throughout the year and working to keep consumers coming back
- Narrow marketing period: For marketers offering Medicare coverage, there’s only a very narrow marketing period each year. They face a short window of opportunity within a very crowded marketplace, which makes tailored, relevant messaging critical to success.
▶ Why Traditional Demographic Marketing No Longer Works
With the current challenges health insurance companies face in the changing healthcare marketplace, traditional demographic marketing no longer works. Yes, it can be used as a part of a marketing plan, but it doesn’t provide enough information to generate results. Insurance companies have traditionally used demographics for directional guidance in marketing, but demographic marketing offers little insight into the decision-making processes, goals and attitudes of consumers.
▶ Overcoming Challenges by Using Psychographic Segmentation in Health Insurance Marketing
Psychographic segmentation in health insurance marketing offers a more complete form of marketing that augments traditional demographic data with a closer look at the motivations and personalities of patients, including:
- Consumer emotions
- Consumer personalities
- Consumer values
- Consumer interests
- Consumer beliefs
- Consumer attitudes
While consumers may share the very same demographic variables, they don’t share the same motivations and attitudes. By using psychographic segmentation, insurance companies can customize consumer engagement and marketing messages to reach them based on their unique preferences and motivations.
When insurance companies are faced with a short marketing period, they have reliable information on how consumers think and feel that can help them create marketing messages that resonate with consumers.
By abandoning traditional demographic marketing methods and turning to psychographic marketing, health insurance companies can differentiate their products, come up with effective marketing strategies that will encourage consumers to take action, and better deliver consumer experiences tailored to the unique personalities and values of different psychographic segments.