While attending a football game a couple of weeks ago, I noticed the irony of two players names who were standing next to each other on the sideline.

I thought – Wouldn’t that make a great blog!

“Merciless” (ok, it’s spelled a little different!) certainly does not have a lot of perceived positive meanings. It may also be a word you wouldn’t always associate with healthcare. This said, one of its synonyms is “relentless” which is often viewed in a positive light. The word “pleasant” is well… pleasant! Obviously the meanings are mostly at odds, but being relentless and pleasant is a good place to be for insurers in their approach to member engagement.

Communicating relentlessly and reinforcing good choices in regards to dietary and exercise guidelines is a good start. So too is better customization of communications, by tailoring messaging to areas of interest for your members. Do they enjoy walking outdoors or are they interested in activities with grandkids that live close? Do they play tennis or golf, or attend the local fitness center? Do they run around on stage the equivalent of 12 miles in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans like this guy?

These are just a few examples of activities. But how do you know what activities your members are really interested in? Taking the opportunity to ask your members at different touch points with brief survey questions and/or using third party data that offers insight into behaviors is a great place to start. It’s about member engagement and also about continuing to refresh the relationships your members have with your brand! If you know members have grandkids in the area, you could partner with a local children’s museum, for example, on a special offer. You could share golf tips for golfers along with recommendations for proper stretching and warm ups. The key is to stay in character with a healthy theme, and to show authenticity and “brand selflessness” in engagements.

When it comes to dietary needs, how great would it be to send an email in a “pleasant” tone with personalized recipes that account for a member’s preference for certain foods? At the same time, maybe keep it real in terms of stating that it’s “ok” to cheat on occasion with something that isn’t the healthiest while keeping things in moderation. Again, the key here is authenticity and knowing what it is your audience is interested in hearing.

Many things are out of control of Medicare marketers including premium changes and coverage changes that can adversely affect retention. However, the creation of value with higher member engagement levels will help insurers to differentiate vs. competitors with everything else being equal. Be “Merciless and Pleasant” in your quest for higher engagement levels with your members.

Steve has 14 years of database marketing experience, inclusive of cross-functional leadership, strategy, and sales positions.  He has worked across numerous verticals to help develop and execute successful campaigns for both mid-tier and large organizations. Steve has a MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology and resides with his wife and two children in Webster, NY.  He enjoys tennis, golf, reading, travel, and is an avid Buffalo Bills fan.You can reach Steve at sstreibel@sourcelink.com