Microtrends, Consumer Health Segmentation, and more ….

I’m at a seminar put on by Silverlink (FD, they’re a THCB sponsor), but shockingly they haven’t asked me to speak! (By the way this seminar is like a rock band on tour, click here for the schedule). Here’s a quick hit on the first three speakers.

There are lots of little and new trends, reaching only 1 percent, and
many contradictory. (1 percent or 3 million is a benchmark for getting
in the mindset that a product or idea matters and is real). So says MicroTrends
Kinney Zalesne (coauthor with Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s main
pollster, and bete noir of the liberal left). That’s why consumer goods
have so many different varieties (e.g. mustard a la Malcolm Gladwell).
Zalesne thinks that health care companies and other marketers will have
to market to everyone in smaller and smaller groups. This includes
people working over age 65, people with hearing loss, and people who
use doctors as consultants, whom she calls DIY docs, dutiful sons (men
looking after aging relatives—17 million of them in the US). All of
these groups need real close surveying and targeting. In 2006 on Long
Island, for Clinton Penn targeted 196,000 voters and her vote went up
24 percent for those micro targeted versus 10 percent among those who
weren’t micro-targeted. Zalesne thinks that health care needs to take
the baby steps to get away from the broad brush marketing, but doesn’t
need yet to go to micro-micro-segmentation.

Next up is Liz Boehm
from Forrester. She’s pretty darn smart on consumers and how it matters
to health care. Their Q4 2006 that nearly half of commercially insured
people have gone to their plans’ web site and that 20 percent of those
with a condition have gone to a social computing site (I think this
data is well out of date and will ask her at a break. Others have seen
a big growth here). But overall, she thinks that people just don’t know
about the resources available such as PHRs or in-home monitoring (50
percent have never heard of PHRs, and another 25 percent  don’t know
much more than the name). But in general people would rather have fun
and get fat than work out. We like instant gratification; good health
isn’t like that.  People dislike bad news at twice the rate that they
like good news — which is why you have to pay people to take HRAs, and
why you have to tailor programs and rewards to make people behave
better. Liz has a lot to say about how health plans should do better
segmentation, and the barriers to getting there. But her basic message
is to fix the initial customer services you do (i.e. claims payment and
doctor directories), and then you might have a chance. If you’re a plan thinking about this, I really recommend grabbing some of Liz’s time about how to do this.

James Taylor is a data geek who looks at the science of decisions. His firm is called Smart (enough) Systems.
His idea is that you run your best strategy (the “champion”) and also
run a few others (the “challengers”) and assess the data over time.
That helps you make the champion the optimal, and then you keep
challenging it to see if the outside world has changed. To do that, you
need to add fine-grained personalization.

3 replies »

  1. Microtargeting sure worked great for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign, didn’t it?