Winners in Medicare AEP Marketing Must Be Nimble

It’s a multi-channel world. Some consumers prefer to pick up the phone after seeing a commercial on TV. Others are strictly online, using search and various sites to research products and services in the moment of interest, expecting immediate answers. And traditional channels such as print and direct mail are still highly effective at bringing in leads.

Medicare marketers know this. Limiting your AEP marketing to just one or two channels doesn’t just mean you’re limiting the number of customers you retain and acquire; it means you’re losing customers and market share to those competitors that are in those other channels. As a result, many Medicare marketers are going out to find partners to make sure they have a presence in each channel. They’ve got the list guys who’ve been doing the DM for years, the brand agency that’s handling the television buy, the new digital shop that’s designing the website and managing the online media—but they don’t do search, so then there’s the search agency to cover Google and Bing.

This approach may cover all of the bases, but it leaves the marketer managing multiple partners rather than focusing on their top priority, the short AEP season.

A better solution might be to have a single resource managing all of the channels as part of an integrated campaign.

Right now we’re in the third week of the 10-week Medicare AEP season. For many of our Medicare clients, we’re executing multi-channel campaigns coordinated to drive efficient results and sales volumes. Being a single team managing all of the channels, we can be agnostic to the channel and fine tune the executions to maximize the return for our clients.

Throughout the campaign, we’re collecting, analyzing and reporting performance on all aspects of the effort. We don’t just learn which creative is winning, but we learn how channels compare. We don’t expect TV to perform the same way digital or direct mail does—but we can quickly figure out when something is either exceeding or not meeting expectations. When we see a big winner, we can move budget quickly from a less-successful medium to the winning tactic on the fly. With various partners managing the different channels, a marketer might not ever get an honest assessment of how each channel is performing.

Additionally, pulling back budget from one channel/partner to shift to another channel is not going to happen quickly. Every three or four days during AEP is 5% of the entire season. The sooner you course correct, the more profitable your whole campaign will be.

If you want a better ROI at the end of the Medicare marketing season, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Multi-channel is the best way to go. But make sure all those baskets are managed by the same team.


Written by Eric Osgood, Director of Media at Serum Agency