Seniors, ages 65 years and older, account for the fastest-growing age group in America—with a population expected to rise to 58.3 million individuals by 2021. Of the entire senior population, the largest demographic group is young, senior women, ages 65-74. Their numbers, as well as their influence on others’ important healthcare decisions, should not go unnoticed by today’s healthcare marketer. However, Medicare Advantage marketers may need to adjust their strategies in order to appeal to this particular group if they want to reap the benefits of expected senior population growth.
A recent Mintel report provides data from a survey of senior Americans regarding their thoughts and behaviors in relation to healthcare. From this data, Martino Flynn has gathered insights on the specific healthcare desires of young, senior women that will give Medicare Advantage marketers a competitive edge.
Outlined below are four marketing guidelines for advertising Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to young, senior women in America:
Develop straightforward marketing communications
According to Mintel’s research, young, senior women are almost as likely to pay attention to straight-to-the-point advertisements (35% of female respondents aged 65-74) as they are to pay attention to healthcare information from a friend or family member (43% of female respondents aged 65-74). This desire for “straight talk” is likely borne out of the complicated nature of the government’s Medicare program, which can often be difficult to understand.
When it comes to selecting an MA healthcare plan, young, senior women want to be guided through their options—laying out covered products and services, listing in-network healthcare systems, and citing associated costs up front. To meet this desire for transparency and clear communications, MA plan marketers should carefully consider copy—running it through testing whenever possible to ensure clarity. Leveraging visual representations of information can allow for ease of understanding. Videos, graphs, bulleted lists, maps, infographics, and tables are all proven tools for helping to convey complicated information in a way that’s “digestible” for young, senior women.
Position your company as an educational resource
Related to young, senior women’s desire for clear communications is their desire for information to help them make informed decisions about their healthcare.
Rising healthcare costs, including increased prices for prescription drugs, have young, senior women doing more information gathering than ever, before selecting a healthcare plan. Since most seniors live on a fixed income, affordability of an MA plan is of paramount importance. Also of increased importance to young, senior women is having a care plan for themselves. Developing a care plan includes making decisions about types of specialists they should be seeing, how often they should exercise, and their prescription drug regimen. With a decreasing number of doctors specializing in care for seniors, more young, senior women are seeking educational advice from other trusted sources on these important healthcare topics.
MA plans marketers have an opportunity to position themselves as thought leaders when it comes to senior care through the development of original content and/or dissemination of valuable third-party information on the topics that matter most to young, senior women. Both printed and online resources can be developed for those individuals seeking education. Medicare 101 booklets, blogs covering senior healthcare issues, and curated articles on social media are just a few examples of the ways healthcare marketers can position healthcare companies as subject-matter experts, and, therefore, capture the attention of young, senior women.
Provide a customized approach to wellness
More than half of the young, senior women surveyed showed a keen interest in exercise programs that were tailored to their needs. Specifically, young, senior women were looking for exercise classes that were only for seniors; programs designed for their age; and exercise regimens that were designed to help promote heart health, improve balance, and maintain a healthy weight.
Beyond offering financial assistance or credits for beneficiaries engaging in exercise activities, marketers for MA plans can address this desire for a customized approach to wellness by identifying local exercise programs designed for seniors. Maps, lists, and searchable databases of customized senior exercise programs may all prove as useful tools for this demographic. Compiling this information in one place for young, senior women can save them the time and effort of conducting their own research, and, therefore, continue to advance the company’s position as a trusted source of information.
Offer options that preserve autonomy
Around 69% of young, senior women are planning to age in place, either at their own homes or within their current communities. This response from young, senior women indicates a desire for independence, as well as the ability to control their own healthcare needs, rather than relying on others for assistance. In fact, when asked if they would be interested in particular healthcare services that would make living at home easier, many responded negatively. Less than half of young, senior women surveyed expressed interest in services that organized weekly medications, offered rides to medical appointments, or delivered medications directly to their home.
While the above may appeal to other groups aged 65 years and older, marketers should be wary about front-loading marketing communications with these types of services if they hope to pique the interest of young, senior women. Instead, marketers should focus on copy and imagery that promote their MA plans as ones that can help beneficiaries preserve autonomy and maintain their current lifestyles.
Developing effective marketing communications that appeal to senior women ages 65-74 can seem like a daunting challenge for MA plan marketers. However, insights into the thoughts and behaviors of this group have shed light on the topics and tactics that will drive higher response rates. MA plan marketers that develop straightforward advertising, educational resources, tools for identifying customized wellness programs, and marketing that embraces independent living will have the upper hand when it comes to capturing the attention of young, senior women, and reaping the benefits of increased enrollment.
Source: Mintel, Seniors and Health—US—September 2016