Health plan marketers have always been tasked with growing membership. In today’s volatile world, that has become a very tall order. Being a sales-driven category with marketing often taking a back seat, the focus has inevitably been on features and benefits that are often indistinguishable from the next plan (and a far cry from those offered by national plans).
The formula for success involves some simple math. At BVK, we call it brand+demand. It is a proven strategy for telling a compelling story of business growth for health plans. Coupling values-based brand building rooted in trust with lead generation and customer experience best practices produces the potential for short-term sales as well as long-term growth and differentiation.
Here is why initiating brand building and demand generation efforts in tandem produce long-term member growth. They work over different time frames but toward the same end – driving sales.
The Brand+Demand Strategy
There are three pillars to the brand+demand model and each makes a unique contribution to business growth. 1. Brand Craving, 2. Lead Generation, and 3. Customer Experience.
Brand craving is the result of brand building grounded in a core human value. Human values are the lifeblood of how people make decisions. Values-based branding establishes the soul of a brand and ultimately enables a data-driven, human-centered approach to bridging strategic insights, connection planning, breakthrough creative, and analytics to generate results. By finding the intersection of the audience (their cravings and values), the culture (trends, competition, distinction), and the brand itself (the essence and purpose) we can identify a brand value that is distinctive, differentiating, and centered in purpose.
In our perpetually connected digital world, one exacerbated by the isolation of the pandemic, a digital property is the optimal lead generation hub for health plans.
Craving is centered on audience profiles that pinpoint opportunity areas, cravings, and habits that can inform position and message development, tight targeting, and personalization.
The Offer is grounded in a messaging strategy that advances business growth in a relevant, differentiated, and compelling way.
Connections Strategy identifies the trigger, timing, and channel in order to optimize results.
Results are measured and optimized in real time.
This is a data-driven approach to precision modeling that defines the customer journey with key inflection points that are mapped to both audience segments and media channels for a fully integrated process intended to build and close leads.
The final pillar of the brand+demand strategy is the customer experience during acquisition as well as after they become a member. With four constructs of connection – full continuum, personalized touchpoints, personalized products, and provider integration – we will now focus the marketing driven aspects where trust can be either earned or lost.
The full continuum from prospect acquisition through member engagement, loyalty, and eventual advocacy is encompassed within the scope of customer experience. Most health insurance companies focus solely on net new membership and the importance of member experience is often overlooked. Because of this, retention and brand building through word of mouth tend to be underdeveloped. By spotlighting moments of truth that are crucial to health plan members, experience enhancement can create long-lasting impressions.