What are best practices in Medicare advertising including media mix / channels (e.g.: DRTV success, etc.)? And what are best practices in Medicare advertising execution (e.g.: messages that resonate, etc.)?

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What are best practices in Medicare advertising including media mix / channels (e.g.: DRTV success, etc.)? And what are best practices in Medicare advertising execution (e.g.: messages that resonate, etc.)?

Medicare marketing is beginning to change. The DMN3 Medicare Advantge Marketing Benchmark Study found that online marketing is playing a bigger role in Medicare marketing. Integrating digital marketing with more traditional marketing (direct mail and direct response television) will increase a marketers return. Below you will find in-depth descriptions of best practices for marketing Medicare as well as marketing strategies.

Best practices marketing medicare

Best practices for the marketing of Medicare include integrating online and offline marketing, strong branding, early lead generation, in-person interaction, and knowing your competition.

The increase in the use of digital marketing is quickly coming into the mix of Medicare marketing strategies. It is easy to see that the first best practice is to incorporate both online and offline marketing. Baby Boomers eligible for Medicare go online for health information and Medicare options. Television and direct mail are still the best offline channels to get people interested in offers or to search online for more information.


According to a Kaiser Family Foundation Study familiarity with the name of the insurance company was almost as important as cost and access to preferred providers in choosing plans. Branding typically involves community involvement, education events, social media and good public relations programs.


Lead generation means targeting those who are not yet eligible to receive Medicare based on age. Targeting individuals between the ages of 63 and 64 engages them before competition reaches them. The goal is to have them opt-in to receive education emails. This is the best way to provide timed email campaigns that nurture age-in prospects through the decision process.


The Kaiser Family Foundation Study also found that seniors are frustrated by the volume of information they are exposed to during the enrollment period. They are still confused about what plan is best for them and feel unqualified to compare things like costs, coverage, provider networks and other benefits, despite all this information. They often want to speak to an actual person whether it's insurance agents, seminar speakers, plan reps or other trusted sources to help them sort it all out.


Another best practice is knowing your competition. It's difficult to form a successful marketing plan without understanding how the competition is marketing their plan and engaging potentials.

Strategies for marketing medicare

Digital marketing is quickly becoming a large part of medicare marketing, but the traditional marketing strategies(direct mail, DRTV, etc) still offer the most effective return on investment.


Baby boomers spend more time online than millennials: 51% of baby boomers spend 15 hours per week online, while only 41% of millennials spend the same amount of time online. This is why it is important to integrate digital marketing strategies with traditional marketing. Below is a list of digital marketing strategies.

1. SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING (SEM). SEM is also known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC). Pay-Per-Click marketing is a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically.
Recommended strategies include using brand keywords, targeted non-brand keywords and conquesting, which is using a competitor's brand or name as a keyword so that when someone searches for them your sponsored ad listing will also appear. Another recommendation is to bid on government related keywords such as ACA and Healthcare.gov because the government only relies on organic traffic and does not advertise.
2. RETARGETING. Retargeting can be used in combination with SEM. Everyone who visits your website, as the result of SEM or banner ads, can be retargeted with banner ads on the entire ad network. This means the banner ad will “follow” them on all other unrelated sites reminding them of their interest in the site and increase the potential of them returning to the site.
3. DIGITAL VIDEO ADVERTISING. DMN3 found that those between 64 and 69 love YouTube. This makes it the perfect platform to market Medicare. There are three types of video ads; in-stream video, out-stream video and in-banner video. In-stream videos play within a video player, such as YouYube. Out-stream videos play independently as with video players which can be placed anywhere on the screen. In-banner videos play within a media banner.
4. EMAIL. Setting up drip-email campaigns (pre-written set of messages) to those who have visited your website is a natural way to nurture those in the market for Medicare coverage. Consistency between emails along with informative, helpful messaging can lead new applicants and those looking to switch to seek you out.
5. SOCIAL MEDIA. More than 55% of those 61-70 are active on Facebook. Marketers experimenting with Facebook have had great results. Both lead generation and awareness display ads are effective.


Traditional marketing strategies included direct mail, DRTV and print. There are many strategies to ensure a successful campaign using direct mail, DRTV and print.

1. Leading with $0 or low price points. This past year’s direct mail (DM) packages, print and DRTV spots emphasize low or $0 premiums, deductibles, or co-pays. Print and DM pieces from Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Humana, use oversized zeroes and bold icons to promote premiums and co-pays starting at $0. Since it is a primary motivator for the Medicare audience, low cost and no cost options should be played early and often.
2. Differentiating beyond $0 and price. While $0 options continue to be a leading motivator for consumers, it’s not the only factor that matters. Highlighting other plan offerings, including prescription drug coverage and delivery, physician networks, preventive care, wellness programs, and coverage for dental, vision and hearing is a way to stand out from competitors. Kaiser Permanente and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield use their direct mail to advertise different plan add-ons associated with quality, ease and convenience, in addition to cost savings.
3. Simplifying complex products with icons and graphics. For complex Medicare products, graphic elements, like icons and charts, make the content more scannable, helping consumers to focus on the key details. By drawing attention to eye-catching icons in a sea of black text, marketers are able to create more digestible direct mail packages.
United Healthcare makes use of the same strategy, with its DRTV spot, using simple animation, graphic icons, and voiceover to communicate its messaging clearly and effectively.
4. Using facts and figures to convey expertise. Using Medicare marketing as a means of storytelling can be warm and memorable, but getting straight to the point with facts may be more effective. For example, in Humana’s DRTV spot, its spokesperson highlights its current membership size of 3 million members to convey the established trust the Medicare audience has in the brand. The spokesperson for Kaiser Permanente points out its 5 out of 5 star Center’s for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) rating and that it’s the highest-rated health plan in California, an indisputable fact likely to resonate with prospective seniors.
5. Clear, frequent and repeated calls to action (CTAs). Having eye-catching design and compelling messaging doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t prompt conversions. That’s where effective calls to action (CTAs) come in. Strong CTAs are nothing new for Medicare marketing, but with so many options for enrollment and lead generation, not to mention competitors, it’s essential for consumers to easily spot the CTAs and understand how to learn more or enroll. In Humana’s DRTV commercial, 40 seconds of the 60-second spot features an 800-number and website URL in the lower third or full screen, as well as voiceover that creates a sense of urgency to call or go online in order to take the next step.
In its direct mail outreach, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield highlights the importance of in-person meetings, a phone number, and website, but also adds conversational tones, a method that’s shown to be powerful with the Medicare audience.


With the next generation of Medicare recipients being tech savvy, important to integrate digital marketing with traditional marketing. Luckily there are a multitude of sources available to help determine how best to accomplish this.