[Redo] Medicare Research

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Medicare Advertising Statistics

Direct mail advertising and direct response TV ads are both powerful mediums for reaching the senior market. Research shows that direct mail drives seniors to websites three times more than TV advertisements and the internet. About 50% of seniors take time to go through direct mail from various medicare insurance providers and about 25% of seniors read direct mail even if they have no intention of purchasing an insurance plan. Direct response TV Medicare ads that portray information using small facts, figures, ratings and simple animation have been a success amongst seniors.


This particular market is a large group that holds great buying power. According to CDMG Inc., seniors are known to spend over 50% of their purchasing amount, whereas marketers spend less than 5% in advertising to them. Seniors respond particularly well to direct response advertising like direct mail, paid search, infomercials and TV ads, Facebook, banner ads, remarketing, and email.

How seniors respond to direct mail advertising

— Seniors have been found to be the group that is most responsive towards direct mail advertising. They tend to enjoy receiving and reading their mail thoroughly. They primarily enjoy reading lengthy letters with lots of details. This demographic is the best group of mail-order buyers based on multiple purchases, frequency, and amounts of higher dollars. This is why an “informational approach” is found to be highly successful with seniors. Modern data modeling in combination with the mailing lists of “psychographic profiled seniors” and “precise targeting” will provide greater ROI than other methods of advertising.

— Marketers can expect around 50-60% of purchases being made by phone. Seniors prefer the use of a Basic Reply Envelope (BRE) for mail orders. Mail campaign can result in as much as 30-40% of all orders.

— According to a study by Deft Research of seniors purchasing Medicare insurance, direct mail advertising was found to be the top promotional medium for driving seniors online to purchase Medicare insurance. It was also found that direct mail drove senior visitors to websites three times more than TV advertisements or the internet.

— According to the 2017 Deft Research Study, the rate of reading direct mail advertising reached 41% amongst seniors.

— Deft Research reported that direct mail attracts the attention of seniors when large fonts and professional-looking envelopes are used. Direct mails that have information arranged in bullet points with a combination of graphs and charts attract more seniors to consider purchasing Medicare plans.

— The 2016 Deft Age In Study reported that the use of direct mail advertising to purchase Medicare insurance plans by seniors increased from 12% during 10-12 months before they turned 65 years of age to 41% during 4-6 months before turning 65.

— According to Digital Dog Direct, seniors find direct mail advertising to be the top influencer in choosing and purchasing Medicare insurance plans. 50% of the senior demographic will carefully go through the direct mail sent by Medicare insurance providers and 25% of this group will read direct mail even if they have no intention of purchasing insurance plans.

— Direct mail advertising was also found to be more effective than all the digital channels combined by seven times, as reported by Ascentium Capital.

— According to the Medicare marketing report, seniors lean more towards purchasing plans that provide facts and figures than generic statements. They find mail envelopes that are more visual in nature to be more attractive than traditionally designed envelopes.

How seniors respond to direct response TV ads

— Most companies target seniors through direct response television and direct response radio because of the success they have found by targeting infomercials towards the senior group. Infomercials are particularly effective because they are designed to be leisurely and step by step. It also helps them make decisions at their own pace and without coercion.

— Direct response TV (DRTV) ads are known to be a powerful medium used to reach the senior market since this is closely related to cable, television sets, and broadcast TV. This is the right medium to advertise to seniors about the more complicated plans and services.

— Seniors have been found to respond better to direct response TV ads that portray information in the means of “storytelling” which effectively helps reach this demographic on a more personal level. Simple animations have also been reported to be a success rather than using a spokesperson on DRTV Medicare adverts.


To wrap up, direct mail advertising and direct response TV ads are both success proven mediums to reach the senior demographic. Seniors prefer to read lengthy letters and are careful to go through all details. They respond well to facts, figures, ratings, and simple animation where DRTV Medicare adverts are concerned.

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Direct Response TV Commercials

Creative best practices for direct response TV commercials include a strong, attention-getting opening, a clear call to action, and simple, communicative language. DRTV is aimed at inducing action in its viewers, unlike traditional advertising that generally wants to build brand image and awareness for a product or service. Direct response also has a few advantages that traditional ads don't have; below you'll find my full rundown of these differences between DRTV and traditional ads as well as a list of creative best practices for direct response TV ad creation.


The biggest differences between direct response and traditional advertising are the most practical. DRTV ad buys, which are traditionally done by dayparts (broader time slots that can be several hours long), tend to be much cheaper than traditional ad buys, usually discounted by 40-70% from the traditional time slot rate. Traditional ads tend to be more expensive to produce as well, often requiring "at least one sound-stage, craft services, talent location scouting," and more.

Creatively, the two types of advertising generally have different focuses. Traditional advertising's goal is to build awareness of a brand, product, or service over a longer period of time; brand advertising is "a long-term commitment" with long contracts and broader scopes than DRTV advertising. DRTV ads should focus entirely on the product or service, its value to the customer, and what the customer can do to get their hands on the product (the call to action). Direct response is also much faster-paced than traditional advertising; ads can and should be tweaked based on audience response, feedback, and analytics multiple times over the course of a campaign.


Direct response TV ads have to get attention fast; the initial headline is responsible for "as much as 80 percent" of the attention the ad will get. Generally, "the level of interest you reach in the first 5 seconds is the highest you will get" with a DRTV ad. Throughout the ad's length, the call to action has to be clear and urgent. While creativity can be a positive in direct response advertising, it's possible to get too cute; wordplay, puns, and other embellishments tend to get in the way of the call to action, taking up viewers' mental energy that they should be using to respond to the CTA. The call to action should be immune to misinterpretation; in other words, "in 30 seconds, your TV ad should tell viewers what you’re selling and how they can get it."

That's not to say that DRTV ads should be totally straightforward. Effective DRTV ads integrate "the clear benefits of your unique product/service with your story as the backdrop." As the saying goes, "words tell, but emotions sell." Readers are engaged by product benefit demonstrations, but they make the purchase decision with their emotions, so ads have to appeal to both sides of their brain. Ads should ride the line "between direct and pushy" — this can be accomplished through the actors' or narrator's tone, body language, and in the script itself.

DRTV ads also have to appeal to multi-screen viewers with their calls to action. Older audiences tend to have a tablet with them when they're watching TV, making digital or web CTAs more effective than phone numbers. However, URLs can be hard to remember, so search keywords or other web-based methods can be more helpful. DRTV creative best practices can also shift based on the daypart you're pursuing and the product message: longer spots (60 seconds) allow for more explanation and tend to do better outside of prime dayparts, while shorter ads can get more attention and appeal to different viewers in late afternoon and early evening.


Unlike traditional brand ads, which aim to build brand awareness over a longer campaign, direct response ads have to motivate viewers to respond right away with a clear call to action. DRTV ads are generally cheaper and can be tweaked slightly over the course of a campaign if viewers aren't responding to certain elements like the graphics, script, or acting. Effective direct response ads focus on a clear, concise call to action and a combination of emotional appeal and value demonstration.