5 Tips to Maximize Medicare’s Short Campaign Window

Medicare marketing is uniquely difficult. Those companies who can successfully navigate the annual plan development, the governmental approvals, the marketing campaign development, the internal compliance reviews and the media planning and placement are given the reward of less than two months to market their plan, and they must do it at the exact same time every single competitor is also marketing their plans. Knowing how to maximize every moment of the annual enrollment period is vital to success, and from our experience, these are five tips to ensuring success.

Tip #1: Start with strategy

The best campaigns begin and end with a great strategy that allows for clear reporting. It’s tough to hit a target if you don’t know what it looks like. Starting with the end in mind will set the stage for future optimizations. It will also inform which tactics will give you the most bang for your buck. For example, if your goal is brand awareness, display tactics can help you reach the most people. If you’re looking for an action, tactics like paid search can put you in front of users who are actively searching for you and may be more likely to convert.

Tip #2: Get in market as early as possible

You may be faced with constraints that influence your time in market. Whether you’re dealing with regulations, limited information, or time-sensitive content, look for ways to prime the market before your campaign goes live. Having brand messaging in market prior to a campaign launch may be a good way to boost awareness. Consider teasing an upcoming release to generate interest before more details become available. In general, the more time you have in market, the better. Platforms like Google require time to optimize to benefit from machine learning. For paid search, we recommend at least one month in market before your campaign goes live to help maximize results.

Tip #3: Give yourself options

When time is of the essence, it helps to have a wide range of pre-approved options, especially in markets where regulation is high. Build twice as many digital ads as you need so you can layer in or remove the ones that aren’t performing. The more ads you can swap in, the more opportunities you have to learn.

Tip #4: Optimize effectively

Not all optimizations are created equal. Think through the underlying goal of each tactic to make sure you’re optimizing appropriately. For example, brand awareness campaigns focus on overall impressions. Optimize these for reach. For campaigns geared around conversions, optimize on user actions like clicking “enroll now” or “buy now.” Understanding what success looks like for each tactic will help you make game-time decisions so you can get the best performance out of your campaign overall.

Tip 5: Take good notes

One of the best things you can do to set yourself up for future success is to take good notes of everything you learned during the campaign. Any helpful findings should be shared out and saved in a way that makes them easy to reference as part of the strategy development process for the next campaign.

At Jump Company, nothing thrills us more than seeing campaigns deliver game-changing results. It’s amazing to see what is possible when you are intentional about how to make the most out of your time in market…no matter how limited it may be.

Selling Is Hard; Hiring Is Harder

When people think of marketing, they most often focus on branding campaigns or advertising campaigns designed to sell products. However, systemic changes in the job market, especially resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, have made recruitment campaigns an increasing focus for industries that depend on a large, skilled workforce. Our experience working with healthcare clients has taught us the hardest thing to market in healthcare might just be a job. What changes when the thing you are selling is a career? These are four lessons to keep in mind when you must grow your healthcare team.

Know your audience

Say you are trying to hire nurses. No one nursing position is alike and neither is your talent pool. To achieve your hiring goals, it is critical to conduct research to understand the unique roles you are hiring for, what candidates are likely a good fit, and what would likely interest and motivate prospective hires. Knowing your target audiences on a more personal level allows you to tailor your campaigns to better cut through the clutter.

Ensure your value proposition is actually valuable

Let’s face it, the available talent pools are incredibly low in relation to available positions. On top of that the competition is fierce and healthcare workers are even being lured away by different industries. Your offer not only needs to be competitive, but you also need to be able to authentically articulate what you can offer a candidate beyond salary. This is where a solid employer brand is critical in addition to being able to highlight your culture, benefits/perks, flexibility and variety as well as training and advancement opportunities.

Personalization is key

You not only need to know your audience, but you also need to personalize your campaigns to meet them where they are. Take a hard look at what your talent pools care about and where they spend their time. Create personas that align to what motivates those individuals. And then leverage data, personalize your communication strategy, and tailor your outreach and response strategy to ensure your message is relevant, reduces barriers to conversion and cuts through the clutter.

Brand + Lead Generation

The “secret sauce” for successful healthcare recruitment is the right balance between brand and lead generation. Stay top of mind to avoid getting lost in the noise and keep critical channels always-on while layering in targeted campaign strikes that drive action. Reduce friction across the recruitment journey and think about your brand as more than just a campaign. Conducting experience audits for our clients have proven to be incredibly valuable to diagnose where gaps in the experience may be to ensure you aren’t losing valuable prospects.

Achieve alignment across the organization

Marketing’s success can only go so far without collaboration with the HR department, hiring managers, system leaders and colleagues. Getting input on the positions you are hiring for, current priorities, quality of leads, and what led to an offer being accepted or declined keeps marketing authentic and provides the opportunity to constantly improve. Additionally, sharing the messages in market and the personas you’ve developed with recruiters and hiring managers can help prepare teams and aid them in better connecting with candidates.

Jump Company has not only helped our healthcare clients generate leads, but more importantly, exceed their hiring goals. We attribute our success to not only our strategic, performance-driven approach but also our own successful recruitment of great employees.

Not Your Grandma’s Medicare

Did you know that by the year 2034, seniors will outnumber children in the United States? Medicare is undergoing a massive reorientation as it prepares to serve larger numbers of people, and that is being felt specifically by Medicare Advantage plans and the heated competition to identify and convert prospects each year. It’s an exciting time to be in the Medicare business.

A few weeks ago, Jump joined over 500 leaders and senior executives in the managed care space at the RISE Medicare Marketing & Sales Summit. This marquee conference focuses on insights, strategies and tactics from industry leaders to deliver in this rapidly evolving marketplace.

The next generation aging into Medicare looks very different than what you would typically expect. It includes Madonna, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Barak Obama. What has worked well with Medicare marketing in the past may not be the right approach for these bold, tech-savvy individuals who are now reaching retirement age. Here are a few of the notable takeaways from this year’s conference as you prepare for the annual enrollment period only seven months away:

Personalization and Targeting are Key

People want to feel seen. With technology developments, it is now more important than ever to meet prospects where they are online and show up with messaging that is relevant to them. Consumers are looking for more conversational and personalized interactions with businesses. 

Authenticity Wins

The market is saturated, and it is tough to stand out from the competition. Authentic brand storytelling is the best way to break through the noise. Be real about who you are and offer comprehensive and dynamic journeys that demonstrate you truly care about them. 

Marketing Mix Matters

Direct mail has been the historical workhorse of Medicare marketing, but the tide is turning, especially as new generations age into Medicare. The marketing mix needs to evolve. Consider omnichannel marketing with tactics that build on each other in a strategic way.

Playing by the Rules Has Never Been More Important

CMS is cracking down on marketing activities. Rules are being enforced, and penalties are steep – sometimes even including suspension of enrollment activities. Now is the time to be more vigilant than ever to ensure you are following all the regulatory guidelines.  

These are exciting new days in the world of Medicare. The opportunity is rich, but the competition is steep, and regulations are strict. If you’re looking for a marketing partner who understands the dynamics of this market, we’d love to help you tell your story in a way that will make even Madonna open her heart to you.

6 Ways to Gain an Advantage in Medicare Marketing

Every industry has unique marketing challenges, but marketing Medicare Advantage products during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) may have more in common with a season of Survivor than a seasonal campaign.

Having led Medicare Advantage marketing programs for several years, we’ve seen competitors move in and out of marketplaces and increase and decrease spends as plan offerings change. We’ve also seen consumers’ needs change and priorities shift. Throughout all the volatility, the constant is that it ultimately comes down to driving leads. Here are six valuable lessons we’ve learned about Medicare Advantage marketing and lead generation.

Start early. It’s natural to want to have all the information before you start to develop a campaign, but the timelines and mandatory review periods of Medicare simply don’t allow for it. Don’t get caught waiting for every detail before you begin; work with the information you have and layer in new information as it becomes available. In order to scale the work, we start planning in April.

Align processes. We find the most successful way to work is for the agency and provider teams to be fully in sync. Design for complete transparency around timelines, build shared project plans, created shared sources-of-truth documentation, and collaborate in each other’s systems across everything from project management to communication channels.

Understand your audience. 65+ looks a lot different than it did ten years ago, or even three years ago prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s easy to focus on the overall increase in digital engagement as a tactical challenge, but we also need to focus on listening to our audience about what matters to them. Understanding the 65+ audience as they are this year – today – may unearth less widely understood health needs such as mental health support, transportation, food, virtual care, or mail order prescriptions. These are keys in designing a Medicare Advantage plan, but also in how to market one.

Don’t forget your brand. The market is completely saturated during AEP, often with very similar messaging. We’ve even heard members talk about receiving enough direct mail to fill an entire car! Cutting through the clutter is increasingly challenging for marketers, making it even more important to differentiate your offering with not only product information, but also your brand’s value proposition.

Build omnichannel funnels. It is easy to get caught up in lead generation goals and lose sight of how much awareness is needed to drive individuals through the funnel. How much brand awareness you need is different for everyone, but a good place to start is to be honest with how well your market knows and trusts your brand and how much outside marketing/sales support you have with brokers and other partners. This will allow you to identify any awareness or perception gaps that might create barriers to conversion.

Leverage data. We can’t stress this enough. Data is critical to your success. It starts from the beginning by ensuring you have data that helps you understand your market and audience. It becomes even more critical when determining how you can best use your marketing dollars to target individuals who are more likely to convert. And is arguably the most important when you are optimizing campaigns, analyzing what messages and/or channels drove the best results, and determining the final ROI of your marketing efforts.

As a business, Jump Company has been driving innovation in data-driven Medicare Advantage marketing for a number of years. As individual employees, this makes us a sought-after resource for our parents, grandparents and family friends who “just have a couple questions before we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner.”