22
May
2018
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Capturing the Unexpected Medicare Audience: The WP65 Group

What's your plan for marketing to people working past 65?

As Medicare marketers, we generally market to three groups of people. The first group, called the “Age-In Group,” is made up of those who are 64 and about to turn 65.

The second group includes all those who are currently enrolled in Medicare. During AEP, we try to sway the 10% of this group that is likely to switch plans during Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period.

And the third group is a combination of the first two groups. This group has commercial plan members, and, as marketers, we attempt to keep them “in the family” by enrolling them into their health plan’s Medicare plan. This group is known as “Feeder Plan Enrollees.”

There is a fourth group, however. And strangely, most Medicare marketing organizations don’t plan marketing to this group. This is the “Working Past 65 Group” (WP65), and it comprises people delaying or modifying their entry into Medicare.

The WP65 Group is growing every year.

So far in 2018, about one-third (32%) of Americans 65 to 69 are still employed. As KERN Health is a consistent sponsor of the three largest Medicare marketing conferences each year, we’ve had a chance to discuss the WP65 Group with marketing leaders from the nation’s top plans. Over the past few years, what we’ve learned is that few of these marketing leaders, if any, have a specific go-to-market plan for the WP65 Group.

And declining retirement doesn’t stop at age 69. Those past age 70 are also still working. 19% of 70- to 74-year-olds are working in 2018, up from 11% in 1994.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2024, 36% of 65- to 69-year-olds will be active participants in the labor market. “That’s up from just 22% in 1994,” writes Ben Steverman in his Bloomberg article “Working Past 70: Americans Can’t Seem to Retire.”

Steverman writes that there “are many factors keeping older Americans in the workforce, including the fact that many are healthier and living longer than previous generations. Some decide not to fully retire because they enjoy their jobs or just want to stay active and alert. Others need the money. The longer you work, the easier it is to afford a comfortable retirement. Longer lives and rising healthcare costs have made retirement more expensive at the same time that stagnant wages and the decline of the traditional pension have made it harder to save enough.” According to a Gallup Poll in May of 2017, 74% U.S. employed adults plan to work past retirement age. As the WP65 Group substantially grows in numbers over the next six years, Medicare marketing organizations must have an action plan in place to compete against this growing group that now has significant share of the addressable market.

New WP65 Audience = New WP65 Marketing

The old tried-and-true methods aren’t going to work on the WP65 Group. Think that they’ll be included in your Age-In campaign? Think again. Even those enterprising Medicare marketers who begin their Age-In communications very early, such as when the target audience is age 63.5 (63 and five months), haven’t considered that their last Age-In direct mail piece will be delivered when the target is 65.3. Do you think that the 65½-year-old is going to save your direct mail piece for four years until they retire at age 69? They’re not. And if you feel like your AEP campaign is likely to touch these folks, you’re probably right. They will be included in your demographic lists after all, but even if they are, your marketing message isn’t right for the WP65 audience. AEP messaging is all about switching, benefits of switching and why people should be switching, and very little of AEP messaging is developed for welcoming people to Medicare—which is exactly what the WP65 audience is seeking. During AEP, you might have the right audience, but you have the wrong message.

Medicare Marketing Lead Nurture Program

Medicare enrollment takes place in a condensed period of time, which usually eliminates the need for a formal lead nurturing program. For AEP, we’re marketing to the addressable audience for 10 weeks, and for Age-In, we have a seven-month window in which we must convert the prospect into a member. However, Medicare marketing to the WP65 audience is going to absolutely require a long-term lead nurture program. And there’s the rub. Most Medicare marketers do not have a lead nurture program in place, nor do they understand what a best-practice lead nurture program is.

Having experience marketing in B2B and in other long-sales-cycle businesses has provided KERN with many opportunities to showcase our best-in-class lead nurture programs. We have developed complex, intelligent lead nurture programs for some of the best-known brands in the world, including SAP, HP, Iron Mountain and Adobe, and in healthcare as well, for Merck & Company. And our expertise in lead nurturing provides us with an unfair advantage in marketing to the WP65 audience for Medicare.

Asking your Age-In audience if they’re prepared to retire at 65 is a great beginning for your lead nurture program. Having a process and system in place to record those answers and develop a WP65 marketing database—while checking all the CMS compliance boxes—is where you will need to start.

From there, you will need to develop a digital strategy, utilizing marketing automation and precise laser-targeted digital media advertising to enable your organization to really keep your brand top of mind for those WP65-ers. Then you can track their digital body language through marketing technology to alert your organization to best understand when they are indeed ready to retire and buy Medicare coverage.

What’s your plan for marketing to the WP65 audience?

If you don’t have one, it’s time to build one. If you need some assistance, speak with your marketing agency, or feel free to contact us at KERN Health. Simply email me at slevine@kernagency.com

WP65. They’re here to stay, and you need a plan to capture market share of this important and growing segment of the Medicare-addressable audience.
22
May
2018
Capturing the Unexpected Medicare Audience: The WP65 Group
SHARE

What's your plan for marketing to people working past 65?

As Medicare marketers, we generally market to three groups of people. The first group, called the “Age-In Group,” is made up of those who are 64 and about to turn 65.

The second group includes all those who are currently enrolled in Medicare. During AEP, we try to sway the 10% of this group that is likely to switch plans during Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period.

And the third group is a combination of the first two groups. This group has commercial plan members, and, as marketers, we attempt to keep them “in the family” by enrolling them into their health plan’s Medicare plan. This group is known as “Feeder Plan Enrollees.”

There is a fourth group, however. And strangely, most Medicare marketing organizations don’t plan marketing to this group. This is the “Working Past 65 Group” (WP65), and it comprises people delaying or modifying their entry into Medicare.

The WP65 Group is growing every year.

So far in 2018, about one-third (32%) of Americans 65 to 69 are still employed. As KERN Health is a consistent sponsor of the three largest Medicare marketing conferences each year, we’ve had a chance to discuss the WP65 Group with marketing leaders from the nation’s top plans. Over the past few years, what we’ve learned is that few of these marketing leaders, if any, have a specific go-to-market plan for the WP65 Group.

And declining retirement doesn’t stop at age 69. Those past age 70 are also still working. 19% of 70- to 74-year-olds are working in 2018, up from 11% in 1994.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2024, 36% of 65- to 69-year-olds will be active participants in the labor market. “That’s up from just 22% in 1994,” writes Ben Steverman in his Bloomberg article “Working Past 70: Americans Can’t Seem to Retire.”

Steverman writes that there “are many factors keeping older Americans in the workforce, including the fact that many are healthier and living longer than previous generations. Some decide not to fully retire because they enjoy their jobs or just want to stay active and alert. Others need the money. The longer you work, the easier it is to afford a comfortable retirement. Longer lives and rising healthcare costs have made retirement more expensive at the same time that stagnant wages and the decline of the traditional pension have made it harder to save enough.” According to a Gallup Poll in May of 2017, 74% U.S. employed adults plan to work past retirement age. As the WP65 Group substantially grows in numbers over the next six years, Medicare marketing organizations must have an action plan in place to compete against this growing group that now has significant share of the addressable market.

New WP65 Audience = New WP65 Marketing

The old tried-and-true methods aren’t going to work on the WP65 Group. Think that they’ll be included in your Age-In campaign? Think again. Even those enterprising Medicare marketers who begin their Age-In communications very early, such as when the target audience is age 63.5 (63 and five months), haven’t considered that their last Age-In direct mail piece will be delivered when the target is 65.3. Do you think that the 65½-year-old is going to save your direct mail piece for four years until they retire at age 69? They’re not. And if you feel like your AEP campaign is likely to touch these folks, you’re probably right. They will be included in your demographic lists after all, but even if they are, your marketing message isn’t right for the WP65 audience. AEP messaging is all about switching, benefits of switching and why people should be switching, and very little of AEP messaging is developed for welcoming people to Medicare—which is exactly what the WP65 audience is seeking. During AEP, you might have the right audience, but you have the wrong message.

Medicare Marketing Lead Nurture Program

Medicare enrollment takes place in a condensed period of time, which usually eliminates the need for a formal lead nurturing program. For AEP, we’re marketing to the addressable audience for 10 weeks, and for Age-In, we have a seven-month window in which we must convert the prospect into a member. However, Medicare marketing to the WP65 audience is going to absolutely require a long-term lead nurture program. And there’s the rub. Most Medicare marketers do not have a lead nurture program in place, nor do they understand what a best-practice lead nurture program is.

Having experience marketing in B2B and in other long-sales-cycle businesses has provided KERN with many opportunities to showcase our best-in-class lead nurture programs. We have developed complex, intelligent lead nurture programs for some of the best-known brands in the world, including SAP, HP, Iron Mountain and Adobe, and in healthcare as well, for Merck & Company. And our expertise in lead nurturing provides us with an unfair advantage in marketing to the WP65 audience for Medicare.

Asking your Age-In audience if they’re prepared to retire at 65 is a great beginning for your lead nurture program. Having a process and system in place to record those answers and develop a WP65 marketing database—while checking all the CMS compliance boxes—is where you will need to start.

From there, you will need to develop a digital strategy, utilizing marketing automation and precise laser-targeted digital media advertising to enable your organization to really keep your brand top of mind for those WP65-ers. Then you can track their digital body language through marketing technology to alert your organization to best understand when they are indeed ready to retire and buy Medicare coverage.

What’s your plan for marketing to the WP65 audience?

If you don’t have one, it’s time to build one. If you need some assistance, speak with your marketing agency, or feel free to contact us at KERN Health. Simply email me at slevine@kernagency.com

WP65. They’re here to stay, and you need a plan to capture market share of this important and growing segment of the Medicare-addressable audience.