Humana Prescribes Its Customers Healthy Email Content

For decades the debate around health insurance has been a hot one. But marketers for health insurance giant Humana say their aim isn’t a political battle—but a fight for consumers’ health and a push for fitness education. One of the ways Humana is doing that? Email marketing.

“We’re using email to help transform Humana into a well-being company—not just insurance,” said the company’s head of e-communications, Neil Pierce, during his keynote at IBM Amplify 2015 in San Diego. “We want to help customers maintain their heath. And our goal is to improve health by 20% by 2020—through email.”

Pierce said that he and his team at Humana recognize that email has become the universal virtual ID. “Email is the number one activity in digital, outpacing mobile and SMS,” he said. “Although, mobile has fed the boom of email. So if you haven’t incorporated mobile tech into your email strategy, you will fall behind.”

So how does Humana use email marketing that’s fueled by mobile tech to help maintain its customers’ health? By sending email messages that have strong content, are personalized, and, of course, are timely. The idea, Pierce said, is not to flood customers with information about health insurance plans, but rather to edify them with the health tools that they need at the right time.

“The challenge in our industry has always been engaging the healthy member. If you are not sick, you don’t want to come to our website,” he explained. “[So] leverage all of your digital assets in email.” That digital-focused strategy is the integral part of Humana’s success.

Since 2012 marketers for Humana have pushed aggressive email campaigns that encourage readers to download the insurance provider’s mobile application, HumanaVitality—a loyalty program that rewards members for making healthy choices. Pierce said that coupling the effectiveness of email and the power of mobile is a win-win for Humana and its customers. “Rewards are based on a healthy lifestyle,” he said. Logging daily steps; reading health material; making doctor appointments—all steps to boost health that translate into engagement with the brand.

But how is this translating into sales for Humana? “By moving to a well-being company, we will be able to engage those healthy members and get them to use our products and services,” Pierce said on a final note.

In the end, he said it’s email—infused with the power of mobile and other digital tools—that has enabled Humana to evolve from a one-dimensional insurance company to a brand that consumers want in their everyday lives.

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