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How Renown Health increased Medicare Advantage membership over its 3 percent target

A microtargeting initiative used consumer data, analytics and outreach that asked toothpaste preferences, for instance.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

Linda MacCracken of Accenture explains the "toothpaste challenge"  to Renown Health leaders and will discuss behavior change and market segmentation at HIMSS19.Linda MacCracken of Accenture explains the "toothpaste challenge" to Renown Health leaders and will discuss behavior change and market segmentation at HIMSS19.

Renown Health found that successful marketing requires data to target the specific audience and then local outreach to get to know that consumer.

Renown Health Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Suzanne Hendery was under a directive from the CEOs of the health system  and its affiliated insurer to dramatically increase Medicare Advantage membership by 3 percent.

Hendery said she started by calling on her "secret weapon" for data, Linda MacCracken, senior principal of Customer Engagement for consultant, Accenture. They then set out to reach members in their local communities.

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Through their efforts, Hendery and MacCracken increased MA membership in the Senior Care Plus plan by 4.3 percent and overall membership in the system's Hometown Health plan by 16 percent. The latter came from consumers who were not yet eligible for Medicare Advantage but who saw the marketing and wanted to join the health system, Hendery said.

Hendery and MacCracken will give details of their success during HIMSS19.

Renown serves the areas of Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Hendery and MacCracken targeted growth in an 100-square mile area in northern Nevada, a region both urban and rural.

The women started by defining senior subgroups from active to frail, and then by getting to know the population to develop more defined categories, such as "rural adventurers."

"We started doing focus groups to get to know them more," Hendery said.

They held fun, local sessions in the community, asking consumers what type of toothpaste they preferred, and why. The goal was to learn how needs get met by a tube of toothpaste and why consumers remain loyal to one brand. Opinions and loyalty are strong, Hendery said, in the same way that Starbucks engenders consumer loyalty to a specific morning coffee.

Hendery and MacCracken looked at comparison factors such as seniors who use mobile apps to those who want help filling out forms. They determined their target audience was the population over the age of 65, who were driving their own cars.

This allowed MacCracken to cross segment the population with the Department of Motor Vehicles database. A data warehouse provided available emails and addresses.

Instead of marketing to 150,000 seniors who qualified for a Medicare Advantage plan in the area, they now were looking at targeting 30,000 consumers.

"It saved us money from sending out to everyone who was Medicare Advantage eligible," Hendery said. "When Linda was able to pare that down, it saved us printing costs, mailing costs, phone outreach. The data is everything."

But MacCracken credits Hendery's personalized approach that made the health system a part of the local community.

Direct marketing took place through mail, email and phone calls, and through a continued community presence. Renown sponsored a vintage car club, events at the local golf clubs, hikes, a walk-with-a-doc, and farmers markets. Organizers took photos of members who became engaged as ambassadors for the plan and hired them to greet consumers and answer questions.

"Seniors," said MacCracken, "have time, they talk and they share."

Hendery and MacCracken will speak about how to "Engage Consumers and Build Loyalty with Data-Driven Marketing," from 1-2 p.m., Thursday, February 14, Room 311A, at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida, during HIMSS19.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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