Create a solid foundation for individual products

September 1, 2010

Health plans must accurately assess the overall opportunity for their individual business.

Managing product design, membership acquisition and financials for the emerging individual market requires a health plan to reinvent its business.

By clearly segmenting groups using these criteria, plans can begin to formulate a strategy on how to attract and retain the best customers, and simultaneously avoid having the least valuable customers select their brand more often than the competitors'.

Plans should determine what products, messages and media will be most effective in generating interest and ultimately purchase. In the past, plans eyeing the mainstream consumer market often have relied on mass marketing approaches that have been ineffective for two reasons:

By leveraging segmentation and marketing analytics, health plans can focus their marketing dollars on the segments they most want to attract, with messages that are more likely to resonate, and through media that their audience finds engaging.

Plans should track campaign execution in a manner that links segmentation systems and analysis from strategic planning with the tactics of prospect and customer-list management.

By tying response and purchase data back into customer-relationship systems, plans can understand which segments generated the most business and which campaigns and media were most effective. Health plans must use this information to adjust their segmentation schemes and experiment with different marketing tactics. Only by seeing this as a continual process will organizations be successful in building individual plans.

Strategies can include the individual plan as the foundational relationship around which many other products and/or services can be attached.

An individual policy holder might serve as a hub around which services such as long-term care, dental or life insurance policies might create additional value and serve as profit enhancers themselves.

Tony Glebe is Vice President, Practice Leadership of Thomson Reuters.

Anita Nair-Hartman is Strategy Director in the Healthcare & Science business of Thomson Reuters.