Tip 1—Know Your Audience
As a Medicare marketer, you know how critical it is to meet your membership goals every year. Medicarians are not the easiest group to market to. They are wary of marketing, and their vision issues can render your materials unreadable. In this first of a 5-part series, KERN Health will help you develop a greater understanding of this audience. We’ll show you how you can communicate on a more personal level and create materials that are more compelling and effective. Understanding how this audience thinks, how they feel and some of the challenges they face will give you a leg up in your marketing efforts.
If your audience can’t see your materials, they won’t bother trying to read them—and there goes your sales opportunity. When you develop materials, consider how vision changes affect the color palette you choose, the fonts you select and the layout designs you develop.
As we age, our vision goes through some drastic changes. Our pupils get smaller and let in less light. What’s more, older eyes see all colors as more muted. Here’s how you can make your communications easier and more inviting to read:
How you depict your audience reveals how well you understand them.
- Always present a visual image that is both relevant and realistic. A good balance combines active shots with those showing people relaxing and chilling.
- People aging into Medicare can hardly believe they’re Medicare age. So they don’t identify with photos of people in their 70s and 80s. This audience still thinks of themselves as being in their 50s. So choose photography that depicts a younger look.
- The younger spectrum of boomers prefers candid, “in the moment” photography. The older spectrum prefers portraiture. If you’re casting a wide net, we suggest blending the two.
- Whatever you do, make sure the shots look as natural as possible. Photos that appear staged or depict an unrealistic interaction (e.g., physicians and patients always smiling) will inhibit the effectiveness of your communication.
- Make sure your photography doesn’t involve complex images or cluttered backgrounds. Keep the scenes as simple as possible. Also, do not crop photos too tightly. Disconnected imagery does not connect with this audience. And although blurred edges and soft focus can convey warmth in a photo, these visual techniques are challenging for this audience to see.
To ensure your marketing communications are persuasive and resonate with the audience, it’s good to understand this target’s backstory.
- Baby boomers came of age during turbulent times—the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, the sexual revolution and drug experimentation. They are rebellious, skeptical of authority and still interested in shaking up the status quo.
- Those aging into Medicare are the “Rock and Roll Generation.” They grew up listening to the Beatles, Elvis and the Rolling Stones. They are hip and cool and want to be respected and spoken to in a way that acknowledges their youth—not their age.
- They are financially conservative, and even the more affluent among them want good value for their money. They also want straightforward information before making any important or large financial decisions, and choosing health care is a critical financial decision. They believe that credible information comes from established institutions.
- Medicarians are more stressed than prior generations and are particularly stressed and confused about what to do for their Medicare coverage. They want security and reassurances as they search for the coverage that’s right for them.
- There are more women than men in this audience, and about 50% of them are great-grandparents. They may be burdened not only with taking care of elderly parents, but also with having their own children come back home to live. So, we refer to them as the “Sandwich Generation.”
- Baby boomers are resentful of manipulation and marketing fluff. The minute they feel snowed, condescended to or stereotyped, you’ve insulted and lost them. And whatever you do, don’t refer to them as Seniors. It’s a term they hate, because they think of themselves as vital and active.
- Boomers at heart are still optimistic. They changed the world in ways not many other generations have. So your content should appeal to their aspirations. Write in a friendly, conversational tone. Don’t presume you’re buds yet, though. You have to earn that privilege and respect. Write in a clear and simple manner and shoot for an 8th-grade reading level.
It’s important to keep all these things in mind when you develop your creative concepts and messaging. Establishing an emotional connection in a concise way is key to the success of any campaign targeting Medicare eligibles. Strategies that have the best chance of success are those that reinforce the strong sense of self that this target holds dear.
Want to meet or exceed your Medicare enrollment goals for 2019? Email Denise Graham a email@example.com. Or call her direct line at 818-449-4468.
In addition to her agency Account Management background, Denise has worked for multiple health plans, including Kaiser Permanente and PacifiCare. She has spent much of her career promoting Individual and Families and Medicare healthcare products. She was a key player in the development of Kaiser’s “Total Health” brand strategy and implementation in addition to the acclaimed “Thrive” marketing and ad campaign.
Boni is a Medicare specialist with over 9 years of experience marketing to Medicarians. As an Associate Creative Director, she leads the Medicare creative development team at KERN Health.