ACA

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Yesterday’s post was about adherence to the brand strategy. A great brand strategy is the elixir for marketing success but compliance is the key.

In Nicholas Kristof’s Op-Ed piece in the NYT today he suggests paying Congress based upon Americans’ health. If healthcare gets better, they get paid more. The problem with healthcare, however, is also adherence. You can lead a grandpa to the medicine cabinet but you can make him medicate.

The way we mete out medicine and follow up with patients to insure compliance is an important part of the Affordable Care Act. Phone calls from docs, more office visits – a preventative approach – is how the ACA aims to improve compliance.  In brand strategy adherence, as I mentioned yesterday, a brand steward or brand compliance officer is a step in the right direction, but a companywide behavior change is even more profound. For that, as with congress, perhaps financial incentives are required. At least to prime the pump.  Long term, company growth will ultimately be the financial incentive.

Let’s incentivize compliance. It’s the American way.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

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Consumers are smart. And inured to marketing claims. Advertising, the home of the marketing claim, has become that guy at the party who talks about himself in glowing terms in order to get the girl. Full of himself, boastful and proud. But consumers have seen so many of these f shallow claims they shut them off.  That’s why good brand planning uses proof as its foundation. Proof is what people remember.

I have a past client in the healthcare space who has decided to move into the health insurance business. He begins as the rest of the industry is consolidating or retreating. A number of insurers today are pulling out of insurance exchanges fueling the Affordable Care Act. So, the big guys are complaining they’re not making money and one little guy is starting anew.  I like it.

The CEO is a physician, so I know he’ll take the physicians view of the business. This could very easily be a premium price play, but rather doubt it. The CEO is knows for efficiency, technology and driving cost out of the business (while improving outcomes). So I’m eager to see what he has up his sleeve. I’m eager to see the proof.

There is a health system insurance program called CareConnect in the NY market with a 10-15% price advantage. Proof or reason to believe that advantage comes from its parent Northwell Health. He will have a tough row to hoe but I’m betting on him. As a physician, he understands proof.

You have to get the claim right but you have to get the proofs righter.

Peace.

 

 

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I read today about a hepatitis C drug that costs $1,000 per pill. It’s called Sovaldi. Don’t get me started on the paucity of pharma names – it seems they are all used up. Marketing consists of 4Ps: Product, Price, Place and Promotion — so I have a question for the marketing director of Sovaldi. Is this a niche product for the very rich? The rich who, by the way, don’t index high for Hep C?

There are three parties involved in this little health care rubric: the drug company, the patient and the insurance company. The drug company (Gilead) is giddy with its 1st quarter earnings. Record earnings. The patients are happy, I suppose, with a drug that presumably is better than what currently exists. And the insurance companies? They must be clearly wondering how this drug got through the FDA.

The pharma marketing director who set the price of Sovaldi must have used a formula to cover R&D, physician detailing, marketing etc., but s/he knew that insurance companies would foot the bill. Very few people can pay $1,000 for a pill.

So who is to blame for approving this non-viable, specialty product? Not to seem cold but someone along the chain must have known this drug price would be a little out of hand. They must also have known insurance companies would pay for it. In what marketing scenario does one price a product so high that nobody but a very few can afford it?  Entire families are going without healthcare in the ACA Age because of the price of one of these pills. Something is broken. And someone from the insurance industry needs to step up and fix it. Peace.

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Claim and proof is a common discussion here at What’s the Idea?  Too much marketing is about claim and not enough about proof.  Get the claim right and prove it in an organized brand-centric manner and you will be a successful brand manager.

If you are a student of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) you know that the claim is “better healthcare for Americans.”  With first year enrollment complete the proof counting has begun. Pro ACA people are looking for positive proof, anti-ACA peeps are looking for proof that care is worse. As we near mid-term elections the dems are going to be looking far and wide to tame all of the anti-sentiment about the roll out and the act itself.

Here are some of the pro proofs shared today:

          8 million Americans have signed up for insurance.

          128 million Americas with pre-existing health conditions are no longer in danger of losing their coverage

          105 million Americans do not have to worry about losing their lifetime cap on benefits

          8 million older Americans have saved $10B because of lower prescription drugs

One could argue that these figures are not explicit examples of healthcare improvement, e.g., lower flu numbers, reduced incidents of diabetes and improved cardiac outcomes, but it certainly implies such.

In the claim and proof marketing world, the ACA has only just begun its proof phase.  The group with the best, most compelling proof will win. Should be interesting.

Peace.

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In my blog I try to not be political.  I save that for Twitter. If my political underwear is showing today, forgive me. I have a thought about moving the Affordable Care Act forward…helping insure many of the uninsured, focusing on preventative health care, and lowering overall cost.

It was reported today that the Californian insurance Exchanges are cranking. The especially good news is that the about 1 in 4 new signees are of the age between 18-34: part of the demo that is the healthiest and that will make the economics work better for other age groups.

Here’s the marketing idea.  Target Millennials and make them early adopters. Many Americans have what I call Peter Pan Syndrome and would love to be forever young. Great grandmas on Facebook. Boomers with Fitbits. Xers drinking cold pressed juices.  We follow the younger because they are in tune with what’s next.

If we create a flow of adoption among Millennials ahead of the rest of the market, and they do so for all the right reasons, perception among other age groups will chance.  Especially if they are taking the moral high ground. (Underwear, sorry.) Millennials care more about the planet, they care more about sustainability, on average they are less xenophobic.  Should they lead the way — even at the cost of opening their own smaller pockets — the floodgates will open. They will, they shall, and whoever is marketing these plans should target them. Peace. 

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