News and views to improve the strength and vigor of all your direct response marketing activity.

First quarter. The calm after the storm. Winter on the cusp of spring. We Medicare marketers survived. The Annual Election Period (AEP) is over. We now have three restful months before gearing up for the next AEP ... or do we?

This is a rhetorical question. We all know the answer!

The months following the end of the AEP are critically important. This is our time to look back, analyze, and learn.

  • Did you gain or lose market share?
  • Was this shift in market share centered in a geographic region?
  • How did your product mix fair in the market?
  • Who purchased your product? What new insights can you glean about buyer segments?
  • Did you meet your goals?

The post-AEP analysis is almost as vital as your AEP campaign itself. The critical question is, “What can you learn from the previous selling season and apply to the next?”

Why Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough Anymore In Medicare Marketing

As referenced in my earlier blog, a preheat message should push the prospect to get out and shop, get informed, and look around to see what’s different so that they’re looking for something new when the time comes. The same holds true for marketers. If we hold too tightly to our status quo, we’re likely missing at least one opportunity that’s sitting right in front of us.

When you gain insight into your best-performing platforms, key messaging, and most-likely-to-buy audience segments, why wait until October 1 to unleash these learnings? The short answer is that you shouldn’t wait. Leverage what you know NOW. Strive to incorporate these learnings into all aspects of your AEP marketing ASAP. That’s why getting a September preheat message out in the market is even more essential and why it should be a part of your campaign’s strategic mix.

Preheating Will Not Break Your Budget

One common objection (or excuse) to not bother preheating campaigns is lack of budget. Don’t let this stop you. You don’t need additional funds. Instead, re-allocate what you have to work the best for you.

Like a traditional AEP campaign, Medicare preheat messages can be sent through various forms of media — DRTV, direct mail, print, or digital — making a form of preheat viable for any budget. If you apply your learnings from previous AEP seasons, your marketing and targeting should be that much sharper.

Preheating Can Generate Measurable Results

It is true that guidelines restrict your ability to generate measurable response. And, of course, you cannot solicit enrollments in the weeks leading up to the AEP. But there is an ROI to be had from preheating your campaign.

First, while you cannot make sales appointments or send out enrollment kits, we have uncovered acceptable ways to gather response and set up steps to invite shoppers into your sales funnel in the very near future. Second, we have measured a quantitative positive effect that preheat activity has on conversion and enrollment starting October 15.

While we’d like to think it’s just the way we execute the messaging, a large measure of preheat marketing’s effect is simply getting it done. If you’re not seeing a measurable, positive effect of preheat activity, however, please do give a call. We’d enjoy chatting about what you did and see if we can share any insights for improvement.

Come On In: The Water’s Fine!

Remember, implementing a preheat doesn’t need to be the equivalent of doing a cannonball in the deep end of the pool. Wade in at a comfortable pace. Just don’t be the last one in the pool!