The highly anticipated, essential, and dreaded Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) will again be upon us. This Medicare AEP season, go into it with eyes wide open – wide open to the most important component of AEP success—your client.
Now that I’m one of those Medicare-eligible, targeted by the hordes of agents, I pay closer attention and find that oftentimes agents don’t know who I am. So let me introduce myself.
I’m a baby boomer. Personally, I’m considered a Trailing Boomer born between 1956 and 1964. My older siblings, born between 1946 and 1955, are the Leading Boomers. We are all part of those post-war baby boomers who comprise 69 million Americans.
But my older siblings and my younger siblings are a little different.
The Leading Boomers tend to be a little more financially comfortable. They are more likely “traditional” empty nesters. Many are already retired. They are more optimistic and trusting and surprisingly more healthy than I’d imagine.
Us Trailing Boomers tend to be a bit less financially prepared, more likely on our second marriage and we are caring for our aging parents. Our retirement is somewhat less certain and we’re a bit more pessimistic and skeptical. What I don’t get is that we lean less healthy.
All of that is based on a bit of research and backed up by my personal observations. The point is that even though we’re all boomers we are not all alike.
A dear friend of mine (a Leading Boomer) who came into the Medicare ranks several years before I did, illustrated to me the fallacy so many agents marketing to the Medicare crowd are sucked into. His very words, “You’re marketing to my grandmother!” The couple pictured on a particular postcard he’d just received featured a picture of a senior couple. I estimated them to be a healthy couple but in their late seventies or maybe early to mid-eighties. “Those of us in our mid-sixties think we’re young,” he said, and mostly we are.
So, point one: Your targeted Medicare AEP audience leans younger-feeling, younger-acting and even if it’s self-deception, we want to be treated as if we’re vibrant, active, and alert.
Now let’s look at some data points that back up a mind-shift you may need. And I thank the USPS, Jim McDonald at Media Logic, Deft Research, and Unite Us for the timely data they provide.
1) Many of us Trailing Boomers are still finishing up our careers, we’re putting kids through college and we’re just now thinking when and where we’re going to retire. Thus, the Medicare AEP season is not top of mind. For those of us not yet 65, you need to begin early, building a relationship with more telling and less selling.
2) We are a big audience. We make up 21% of the population (over 69 million Americans) and we’ve seen it all. Or we think we have. We witnessed the Zip code system advent and the invention of the internet. We are not a staid generation. We travel, we own homes, we have disposable income, and we use the internet, and not just Facebook and YouTube.
3) Despite the internet and the digital world, we still like direct mail. Research shows 57% of us would be very disappointed if we stopped getting mail. 71% of us say that mail is more personal than digital communications. This bodes well for an industry serving the senior market. Direct mail during Medicare’s AEP is the most cost-effective, accessible, and reliable form of communication.
4) We trust direct mail more than other marketing channels. With this somewhat base level of trust, you can spend less time trying to convince prospects to trust the messenger (mail), and more time trying to convince prospects to know and respond to you.
Here are a few trust numbers for media: Direct Mail – 50%; Email – 44%; Texts – 3%; Online Pop-Ups – 1%
5) Be local if you’re local. It might be slight, but boomers lean more favorably toward receiving mail from locally owned businesses than from large national businesses by about 4%. Don’t waste that slight edge. Be local if you’re local. When listing what affects our decisions; second only to the deal you offer, we like supporting locally-owned businesses. We consider deals (89%) the most effective element in direct mail. Locally owned business (68%) is the second most effective.
6) Since you are marketing during Medicare AEP almost all of your target audience is in the targeted prospect pool. And at least one-third will visit your website after receiving your relevant mail. Have a website and be sure it’s as supportive as possible.
7) We are e-commerce savvy and satisfied. We say that delivery to our home, monetary savings, and convenience are top drivers – how does that play for you? Demonstrate how you cater to our convenience and appreciate that our money was well earned. When you do and you demonstrate you want to help us save as much of it as possible, we appreciate you.
8) Though we like e-commerce for its speed, the ability it affords us to compare items, and the flexibility of payment options it offers, we, as a whole, enjoy in-person interaction – and assistance. We like people and we need you!
So let me summarize a bit. We need you to help us make decisions. We like, appreciate, and trust direct mail. Show us how you can personally help us navigate; not just the Medicare AEP season, but the ongoing healthcare obstacles we do and will face as we age. When you do, we will be yours for many years.
It’s only fair to now share with you the easiest and most effective way to implement the 8 points I just made. TargetLeads has been and is a leading direct mail lead generation company. TargetLeads has been generating leads through direct mail since 1985. Although state-of-the-art technology supports the growth and stability of the company, TargetLeads’s success rests on the shoulders of a team of highly experienced sales/customer service representatives. We boomers love in-person relationships. You will love the relationships you develop with the TargetLeads professionals.
A USPS Generational Study, 4000 Consumers, 4 Generations, Explore Baby Boomer, 2021, USPS, accessed 7 July 2023, https://www.uspsdelivers.com/2020-2021-generational-research-report/
Medicare Marketing Insights: 2022 Senior Media Preferences, October 3, 2022, Media Logic, accessed 7 July 2023, https://www.medialogic.com/blog/healthcare-marketing/2022-senior-media-preferences-medicare-marketing/