Medicare marketing specialists are clearing their throats, revving their engines and getting ready to get ready for the influx of Boomers who will be turning 65 starting in 2011. We have heard all the speculation about Boomers’ attitudes, their hopes and dreams, their innermost insecurities and their dedication to their grandchildren.
What’s implied in all of these articles and blog posts is that, because the quantity of Medicare-eligible people is about to expand, a huge shift in strategy is called for.
I don’t deny that marketers may need to be aware of some generational differences. But the differences between someone born in 1944 vs. 1946 are not nearly as great as many marketing pundits want us to believe. There’s no secret sauce that will make a Boomer respond at a significantly higher rate than the people who have been aging in to Medicare for the past year or two.
Marketing strategy for Medicare should evolve, not wipe the slate clean. It would be suicidal to start from scratch because demographers have labeled your new audience “Boomers.”
This means, if print advertising has given you a satisfactory cost per lead last year, don’t drop it for a completely digital campaign this year.
On the other hand, if you’re not thinking about social media when 46% of online Boomers maintain a social network profile, you’re going to be left in the dust. Maybe not this year, maybe not next. But soon.
Medicare marketing has always been about engaging content and smart targeting within the over-65 audience. That has not and will not change. Boomers will not retire all at once. Some Boomers are much healthier than others. These are the more salient issues for marketers than their status as a large group born in the same cohort.
We need to treat this group more like the individuals they are, as far as possible, and less like a massive market waiting to be exploited.