Welcome to 2015. It’s the time of year for trends, predictions, and forecasts. So we figured we’d jump on the bandwagon, break out our crystal ball, and share what we are seeing in the marketplace, hearing from our clients, and observing from the end consumer. Health insurance is changing – no Magic 8 ball required for that prediction. The much-hyped “evolution of consumerism” is here and reform is entrenched. Now, what are you doing about it? Are you listening to what your audience is telling you? In our forthcoming blog series, we will address five key areas that you should be thinking about as you plan projects for 2015. Stay tuned weekly for a deeper dive on each of these topics.
Unified Customer Experiences: Think Mobile First
Thinking about your digital experience on the mobile platform is no longer optional, especially as we look at the largest growing segment of new insurance buyers – 19-34 year-olds. In 2014, 60% of total digital media time was spent on smartphones and tablets . It’s important to maintain consistency across your channels so that as your users have different touchpoints with you, they have a consistent brand experience. Don’t lose customers through disjointed channels.
It’s a Consumer-driven Marketplace
This isn’t a new trend, but it’s one that still requires significant attention in the health insurance digital space. In a survey conducted by PWC, 82% of respondents reported price as the most important factor in purchasing healthcare products and services . In 2015, the number of insurers participating in public exchanges will increase by 25% – in 4 states it will double ! How will you differentiate? As you add third-party tools and features to your public and secure portals, how are you ensuring a seamless experience? How easy are you to do business with? That’s important for all of your audiences: consumers, brokers, providers, and employers. How are you competing with new entrants who threaten to bring disruptive approaches to the marketplace? Continuing to improve your customer experience will be important for 2015 and beyond.
Transparency and Self-Service: Lower Costs, Give Consumers the Information they Need
How much does it cost and what will my insurance cover? That question is first and foremost on consumers’ minds. Unfortunately, it’s often a difficult question for insurers to answer. Consumers are taking charge of their health care like never before. With enrollment numbers of high-deductible plans tripling since 2009, customers are no longer willing to seek medical care without understanding the cost ramifications.
Are you leveraging the appropriate data and tools to answer these questions? The marketplace is full of third-party tools, so you don’t have to do this yourself – but you do have to do it. How can consumers better manage their health and insurance information? How do insurers manage the costs of providing this information? Making features like online bill-pay and a high-quality provider finder available online to your members is critical to reducing call volumes and saving costs. Further, it’s essential to engage those consumers who want to be engaged – tie the health data they are already collecting to your rewards program. Tools aren’t the only way to improve transparency – focus on the content as well. Make sure the language used on your site is at the appropriate reading level and avoids insurance jargon whenever possible.
Content Marketing: Think Differently to Engage Differently
The most common New Year’s Resolution is weight loss – and in the age of infobesity and digital noise, we’d suggest you take a look at your content and see if it can lose some weight too. Visual storytelling is one strategy to stand out and foster engagement with your audience. If you can craft content that inspires emotion and sparks action, you will be light years ahead of the health insurance norm.
For example, we are working with insurers to develop Life Event sites that generate shareable content in a non-traditional, highly engaging way. Changing the conversation help people understand that insurance can be about more than deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, and dry wellness articles. However, it’s not enough just to build a content marketing strategy – you have to write it down. Documenting your strategy can boost successful results tracking by 43% .
Analytics: Measure and Manage
It still amazes us when we sit down with clients and they aren’t tracking what is happening on their public site or member portal. Or maybe they are tracking it, but no one is analyzing the information. Sometimes it’s just about not knowing what questions to ask. This year, it’s time to measure and manage what is happening with your digital assets, and to demonstrate real ROI on features and functions. However, setting up analytics is not the end of the road – it requires ongoing diligence, and responding to the findings. Set goals, identify metrics, assign responsibility, measure results and report outcomes. This will tell you the story of what is truly happening on your site. Tie this to your usability studies or voice of the customer feedback and you can begin to establish measurable and meaningful change in your digital assets.
There are so many aspects to digital marketing for health insurers, these are really only the beginning of what we are hearing, seeing and observing. Stay with us for the next few weeks as we take a closer look at these topics and trends, and continue to share our insights with you. Think we missed something? Leave a comment and let us know – we’ll tackle it next in our series.
 comScore June 25, 2014
 HRI Consumer Survey, PwC, 2014
 Content Marketing Institute, Oct 2014