Health insurance companies are preparing to execute a year-end media blitz that includes a ramped-up television presence and social media, according to the Wall Street Journal. Insurers are clamoring to get their message in front of consumers before the looming Obamacare coverage deadline, and they’re spending big money to do it. In fact, they’ll spend more on advertising and social media efforts in the final quarter of 2013 than in all of 2012.
But media campaigns are about more than simply buying up lots of ad time in major markets. PR communicators have to build a strategy and develop a way to track its success. At the recent PR News Media Relations Next Practices Conference in Washington, D.C., communicators learned about the essentials of return on investment and measuring the impact of media campaigns. Here's a sample:
- Identify the players. Know who your customers are and what they want. Of course everyone wants good, cheap insurance coverage, but insurers still need to understand a number of key demographics in order to tailor their messages and stand out.
- Define the field. Establish the medium of choice for your message—social, television, print, social. In the case of the nation’s insurers, television will play a major role. But the choice is ultimately made based on your budget, your audience and what you're looking to say.
- Choose the right metrics to measure success. The metrics you choose to track media efforts have to be directly related to the objective of your campaign. For insurers, a key metric would be sales of new plans and gaining new customers.
It is too early to know whether individual insurers will see a solid return on their media investment, but building a solid media strategy and answering the key questions in advance will improve their odds.
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