The health insurance market is growing rapidly, but some marketers are not realising their ambitions due to poor strategy or execution across different digital marketing channels. Suzanne Jiggens-Johnson, Director of Digital Consulting, CACI, looks at the the key channels where marketers can gain an edge.
“Missed opportunities in affiliate marketing”, “low levels of email data capture”, “slow mobile website loading times”. These are just some of the takeaways from CACI’s most recent digital marketing scorecard for the health insurance industry. In the context of brand marketing efforts like AI adoption sweeping the insurance sector (from chatbots to AI-optimised/targeted ads) and immersive content marketing from consumer media brands like HBO’s Westworld, it’s more important than ever for health insurance brands to get the basics of digital marketing right.
Digital marketing needs to play a key role in business strategy for any brand. With more technology, channels and data in market than ever before, marketers can easily be distracted by the shiny new way of doing things. But it’s absolutely crucial for the basics to be in place before more advanced projects can be taken on.
What are the symptoms?
Outside of the top three big hitters in the sector, the trends we’ve picked out highlight patchy performance, grounded in uncertain strategy from some companies, and inconsistent tactics across different channels. Engaging audiences in the right context, as well as on the right device, is crucial. If tailoring ad campaigns to mobile is the norm, then running desktop ads on mobiles can only compromise marketing efforts.
Fortunately for health insurers, there is a real opportunity in a shifting but significant market estimated to be worth over £4.5bn, with increasing consumer interest through digital channels. More importantly, digital marketing can deliver clearly measurable impact for online revenue and ROI. Taking the UK health insurance industry as a blueprint, what are the crucial steps in diagnosis and how can health insurers reach peak fitness?
Taking the temperature
Before diving into the technical aspects of digital tactics, digital strategy has to be informed by really key questions for marketers, whatever their sector. Do you care what your customers have to say about your services and products? Can you work with partners in affiliate marketing? What will online customer service look like? And are referrals a key area for your business? From there, you can start to fill in exactly how digital marketing can support your overall strategy.
Taking the health insurance sector as an example, email marketing and data capture may be seen as crucial industry-wide because of the importance of quote information for prospective customers. Giving them the option to save and email quote information to themselves, as well as using automated follow-ups, could make email an effective, and inexpensive, direct channel for user acquisition and remarketing. Assessing the individual digital marketing channels to see the most relevant areas for your industry can crystallise similar conclusions and let you focus on the most effective channels.
Getting to full fitness – and beyond
The implementation of a sound digital marketing strategy builds the foundation for success, whatever the industry or sector. Once you have fleshed out the strategy to include a range of relevant digital marketing channels, you can then look to benchmark current performance and using those established metrics, look to optimise individual channels. This approach can highlight the areas where performance is lagging – as we’ve mentioned earlier, the health insurance sector has this patchy performance. One example might be customer care – not many health insurance brands offer opportunities for customer feedback. Identifying your performance here, and how you compare with competitors, could give you real opportunities to steal a march. Challenger brands are making the most of the opportunity to pull ahead in channels as varied as affiliate marketing (Freedom Health Insurance) and SEO (Westfield Health).
Digital is blurring more and more seamlessly with other marketing channels. But more often than not, we come across teams that are challenged by the basics. As only very few are doing this well, it means that there is a huge opportunity for competitors to get on top of their digital and take the lead. As health insurance brands look to engage with consumers in more innovative ways, they must remember to cure the ailments afflicting areas like SEO, email and content marketing, to make the most of opportunities in this changing market.
By Suzanne Jiggens-Johnson
Director of Digital Consulting