Member Engagement: Learning From Other Industries

Learn how marketing to other industries can help make healthcare marketing more successful

Paul SchragerFebruary 15, 2017

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What’s Special about Healthcare – And What’s Not

Starbucks might launch a new line item if it determines the product has an 90% chance of success, but we don’t send people home from the ER if there’s a 10% chance they’re sick.  Healthcare is different than other businesses. It often needs to do things its own way to fulfill its special responsibilities.

But some tasks in healthcare have direct equivalents in other industries, and one of them is managing member engagement. Large consumer marketing companies and their vendors have been working for decades on how to engage consumers.

Until recently, the importance of consumer engagement was not fully understood in healthcare, especially since most coverage had always been sold to groups rather than directly to consumers. It could be said that some healthcare companies are behind in consumer engagement technology, but one could argue that the delay has resulted in a discount coupon for the industry. The same techniques that work for the world’s largest and most successful consumer marketers can help healthcare companies engage and influence their members. Payers and providers can use these methods, whose basic development was long ago paid for by others and tested extensively in the real world.

Common Engagement Solutions

Some of the questions faced in healthcare are virtually identical to those in consumer marketing, and they don’t involve sending sick people home from the ER:

  • What’s the best way to get the member’s attention? How do you make sure you’re building positive feelings about the company while you do that?
  • What method of communication makes a particular member most likely to sustain a two-way conversation?
  • How do you know which members will act on the information you give them? How do you get more of them to do so?
  • How do you know in advance when you’re at risk of losing a member? Will losing that member cost you money in the long run, or not? What can you do to keep them?
  • Who can you collect money from? What’s the best way to try?

There’s no need to tackle these problems from scratch – they’ve been solved a thousand times.  A highly experienced and sophisticated vendor can easily adapt solutions that have been sharpened over years of real-world testing to a new setting.

Healthcare-Centric Solutions that Learn from Other Industries’ Experience

There are opportunities to engage members that do require knowledge unique to healthcare. For example, companies that engage their membership appropriately can intervene early with members who are otherwise headed for debilitating (and expensive) chronic disease.  No coffee marketer has ever asked who will get diabetes and how can they delay its onset.

But, like healthcare organizations, large marketing companies all need to predict human behavior.  These last few years have seen the development of highly sophisticated analytics that are incredibly effective in helping them do that. Using predictive analytics can help medical intervention teams focus on, and engage with, the members who are most likely to benefit from, and respond to, intervention. Combining those insights with proven customer engagement techniques can multiply their impact. The bottom line is that taking advantage of solutions developed for other industries can make even a healthcare-centric activity like medical intervention vastly more productive.

To learn a little more about customer engagement, check out this white paper about customer lifecycle management.

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