3 Ways Medicare Marketing Is Changing

For most Americans the golden years mean something far different than it did for their parents. As a creative director at a graphic design agency that partners with Fortune 100 healthcare companies, the question for me has become: How do we now market in a way that is relevant to seniors who want to continue to live healthy and exciting lives?

It’s a question that, for marketers, is as hot as this summer weather. Here are three ways I’ve personally seen marketing change as both culture—and the industry—have evolved. 

1. A new outlook on seniors

Modern “seniors” are Internet-loving Baby Boomers very unlike their more traditional parents.  They don’t see themselves as “old” and probably never will. Instead, they remain active, smart, and productive long after exiting the workforce. Seniors have begun to look for ways to enjoy a healthier lifestyle in retirement. They engage in yoga, walking, and healthy eating—all activities their parents might not have considered.

Marketers understand that they’re speaking to a subculture proficient at sending emails, searching the Web, and using social media. I believe we’ll continue to see a change in Medicare-related marketing materials as they mirror people driven by curiosity, energy, and a never-ending quest for good health.

2. A new focus on health-related products and services

Since the average human lifespan now exceeds 78 years, the industry has had to respond with products associated with health and long-term care. As top agencies have begun to place a bigger emphasis on wellness as a way of life, the industry has stopped pushing what’s good for them and has started to promote what’s good for their clients.

For example, many pharmaceutical companies have moved their focus away from drugs and toward disease education to help the aging population take the healthiest approach to their medicine. Healthcare companies are now providing wellness visits, online tools, and personal coaching and support to help clients take control of their personal wellbeing.

3. Direct mail and new creative formats

There’s a faceoff emerging between healthcare marketers as they work to retain existing customers while continuing their pursuit of new business opportunities. While direct mail is still used to sell Medicare products to busy seniors and will always have its place, more agencies are now seeking innovative forms of communication using new technology. We’re beginning to see more concise marketing packages in the form of postcards, low-cost mailers, email newsletters, and dedicated websites.

But no matter what format marketers choose, reform needs to be navigated carefully and it requires a skilled approach to messaging and design. Inspiring copy and beautiful visuals are a necessary part of any successful campaign—and as changes and concerns continue to emerge, staying on top of reform is essential.

We anticipate that the many coming changes to the healthcare and Medicare landscape will create a massive opportunity for those of us who are designing and creating collateral in the health, wellness, pharmaceutical, and insurance space. The future is exciting and new and marketers and creatives alike should prepare to make a big impact.

Jen Whitesell
is owner and creative director of MKJ Creative. She has more than 15 years experience designing and directing winning marketing materials for Fortune 100 healthcare companies.

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