When the Election, COVID 19 and AEP 2021 Converge

With history as our guide, we know that Presidential elections can present challenges for Medicare marketers. AEP is a race to the finish—always. But adding the coronavirus to the myriad complications of distraction and noise, it’s even harder to compete. 

This year, our ongoing distancing, fear and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 global pandemic is likely to result in a record number of seniors feeling isolated and depressed—social determinants of health that can greatly impact one’s wellbeing and involvement. 

Knowledge is power. These are the times when the investment you’ve made in measurement, reporting and optimization to create a foundational Medicare marketing strategy will pay dividends simply by infusing confidence in the direction to take your marketing.  

Control what you can. 

When the election cycle noise and the negative impacts of the coronavirus converge, a carefully considered strategy will be paramount. 

1. Use the calendar strategically

The election will overlap the first half of the AEP and it will certainly dominate the media through November 3. Be strategic about how to approach your communications, not just pre AEP and AEP, but adding the layer of the election timeline. We’ve learned that the investment of pre-season marketing is a good one. This year, when you think about adapting for the election, consider how to use this time to your advantage. 

2. You’ll be courting for a very popular date

This Fall the senior audience will be in demand. Television and the mail are top prompts for Medicare, but since the senior audience are engaged voters, we can expect the airwaves and their mailboxes to be crowded and unforgiving as politicians and health plans compete. In 2018, among those age 65 and older, voter turnout was 65 percent for women and 68 percent for men. In contrast, 38 percent of women 18-29 years old voted and 33 percent of men of the same age group voted. Knowledge is power.

3. Embrace seniors’ concern over value

According to Mintel, COVID-19 concerns can be categorized within three types; Health Worriers, Financial Worriers, and Everything Worriers. While value has always been paramount in AEP decision making, it has never been in such keen focus. We know that supplemental benefits have led to a shop and compare dynamic – be sure to properly communicate the value seniors will seek. Everything you do (and communicate) should be viewed through this lens. What’s your value prop?

4. Be prepared

Details matter. Missed mail dates is probably the most common problem we hear among new clients. There is (almost) no bigger sin. So be ready – the best direct marketing plans are built to optimize and react. 

5. Now is the time for compassion

History has also taught us that middle-aged adults living through a recession (like, the Great Recession of 2008) negatively affect one’s cognitive abilities later in life: Because of this, Medicare-eligible seniors could potentially have more difficulty navigating marketing messages and Medicare Plan decisions then in previous years. 

Sprint to the finish. 

Innovation matters in marketing, always. But this year, making sure that you adhere to best practices will set you on a path for success. Let’s hit those mail dates, carefully consider your omni-channel approach, and make bold advancements in targeting and messaging. 

Knowing that your audience will have a heightened level of fatigue due to the election, a heightened sense of anxiety due to the pandemic, and a greater need for guidance, will place more pressure on your messaging. To that we say: Be clear. Be persistent. And, lead with compassion.