The Pert Group -- Research Explores Digital Marketing Strategies for Insurance Companies

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Digital Blue Conference presentation reveals universal appeal of Health Benefit Exchange, importance of digital touchpoints in go-to-market strategies

While the legal and political wrangling over healthcare reform continues, insurance companies are moving ahead with go-to-market strategies aimed at consumers with increased options and new abilities to compare insurance offers. A research presentation from The Pert Group at the recent Digital Blue Conference highlighted go-to-market strategies for this new business environment.

“The Health Benefit Exchange significantly changes the competitive nature of the insurance marketplace,” says Susan Spaulding, executive vice president and principal of The Pert Group. “Insurance companies now have a tremendous opportunity to attract and acquire a new market of 30 million uninsured Americans, while retaining the small employers who will be dramatically impacted by healthcare reform.”

Spaulding presented “Go-To-Market Strategies” at the Digital Blue Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Thursday, Feb. 17; the conference is held for individual plans in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Speaking with her was Christopher Barnes, senior vice president of client development for The Pert Group. Barnes’ expertise on health care and insurance reform issues is well-recognized; his work with legislative leaders on Capitol Hill during the healthcare debate helped shape reform.

“There will continue to be significant uncertainty around the politics, regulations and legal battles of healthcare reform, but there are also tremendous opportunities for companies,” Barnes says. “Companies that know their customers, strengthen and leverage their brand and communicate well will be positioned to take advantage of the changing environment.”

Barnes says consumers often default to trusted brands as a way of simplifying buying decisions. However, he adds, the high profile of healthcare reform will make continued debate unavoidable to even the least informed.

“Consumers will feel the uncertainty,” Barnes says, “and with uncertainty comes anxiety and disconnect. Communication will be critical to providing reassurance to anxious consumers.”

To help healthcare providers understand how to effectively communicate with consumers, The Pert Group identified decision styles based on risk tolerance. This study revealed five main decision-making styles to consider in developing a go-to-market strategy:

  •     One-third of consumers studied are identified as Product Analysts. These consumers are the most pragmatic and informed decision makers, and the most comfortable using Internet technology.
  •      18 percent of those studied are identified as High-Stakes Gamblers and are the least informed healthcare consumers. They tend to be younger (under 35 years of age) and interested in the lowest-cost healthcare insurance plan.
  •     Another 18 percent are classified as Impulse Buyers, a wealthier group of consumers who are quick to make a decision with limited information, if their current doctor is included in the insurance plan selected.
  •     Balanced Decision Makers comprise 17 percent of those in the research study. Their decision-making style is both pragmatic and informed; they’re interested in finding an insurance company with superior healthcare benefits.
  •     The study found that 14 percent of consumers are Knowledge-Driven decision makers – the most informed and most satisfied with their current primary insurance company.

All five styles share one common trait: They consider word-of-mouth recommendations the most important source of healthcare information, a finding that points to the importance of increasing positive digital buzz for insurance brands. The Pert Group research indicates that social networking is an effective way to communicate with younger age groups, but overall, 35-54 year olds are more receptive to digital touchpoints than younger audiences.

For more information about the study, contact Barnes at 860-242-2005, extension 1185.

About The Pert Group
The Pert Group is a research-based consulting firm headquartered in Bloomfield, Conn., with offices in Kansas City, Mo., and Pittsburgh, Penn. Established in 1978, the company integrates financial, attitudinal and behavioral information to bring clarity to business, brand and marketing decision making. Providing comprehensive decision support in the areas of Innovation, Positioning and Performance, The Pert Group facilitates growth strategies and improves business outcomes for local, national and international clients. The Pert Group is a long-standing member of the Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR). For more information, visit


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Cheri Tabel

Christopher Barnes
The Pert Group
860-242-2005 1185
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