My family received several Medicare Advantage direct mail acquisition packages during this past open enrollment period.  The problem is that they were all addressed to my 19-year-old daughter. My wife and I do want her to be able to retire comfortably, but we were hoping she could at least graduate from college first.

I know this is a fluke and the companies marketing Medicare Advantage programs to seniors just want to reach the right audience. In a quick Google Image search for Medicare Advantage, the attached image came up. Here’s hoping my daughter isn’t huffing and puffing like this yet…

However continually changing regulations, plan variations by state and a shorter open enrollment period often make reducing the cost per lead challenging.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked questions like:  “We offer Medicare Advantage Plans in diverse counties within many states such as Florida, New York, Tennessee and Texas. What unique processes can I use to help improve AEP direct mail response rates?” Consider the following:

Localize Your Target Audience using Data Analytics

You can improve response rates by taking what you already know about your existing best members and prospects and use predictive analytics and modeling to determine most likely responders. Breaking down segmentation and data modeling to individual counties helps you understand the differences that exist between locations. Hopefully my daughter didn’t have more in common with a retiree than I do, but I did see a Golden Girls DVD collection in the living room the other day…

Develop a “Test and Learn” Creative Strategy

Finding the right target audience means little if the offer isn’t just as relevant and engaging. That’s why it’s crucial to also use a test and learn strategy. A Medicare Advantage mailing to a 19-year old is wasted time and money, but a creative mailing strategy with highly relevant information is engaging to the right prospect. It’s all about the number, sequence and cadence of Direct Marketing efforts.

Employ Multivariate Testing

With Medicare Advantages plans across multiple counties and states, traditional split-run testing, which is limited to testing individual elements and pair-wise interactions, can be a very expensive and lengthy process.  Multivariate testing is based on a specialized field of statistics that was originally used in production and has evolved over the last 80 years marketers to turbo-charge testing by comparing numerous combinations of variables in a single mailing and determining the combination that will deliver optimal results – without embarrassing yourself by marketing to someone that isn’t within two generations of your target audience.

So despite my daughters’ affinity for The Beatles, Golden Girls reruns and her retro rotary phone (attached to the wall still!), she isn’t the ideal candidate for Medicare Advantage. Don’t make the same mistake!