Digital Strategy 101: A Prerequisite to Building a Digital Strategy

What is a Digital Strategy?

A Digital Strategy is the process of identifying, articulating and executing on digital opportunities that will increase your organization’s competitive advantage.

Building a digital strategy will obviously require knowledge of the digital landscape, along with the knowledge that any Medicare marketing strategist would need to develop any marketing strategy.

Part of the confusion surrounding digital strategy is the definition of the term digital itself. A digital strategy can be all things digital, from the digitization of paper records to the implementation of a digital backend member portal complete with Electronic Health Records (EHRs). From the development and deployment of mobile digital applications, to the management of the organization’s social media properties, to the decision to purchase and implement digital systems—all fall under the broad digital umbrella.

Specifically, for the purpose of Medicare marketing, we will define digital as it pertains to marketing in areas such as:

  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Digital Display Advertising
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Website and Landing Page Development
  • Email
  • Mobile Applications
  • Mobile Messaging

Each of the above topics has been and will continue to be an entire subject of marketing books. It is the intention of this ebook to provide a brief, consolidated overview of the digital advertising tools that are available, in order to enlighten Medicare marketers as to what needs to go into developing and creating a digital marketing strategy.

Before ANY marketing strategy can be developed or created, questions must be asked and answered. Oftentimes, in order to provide answers, research must be conducted, assessed and studied in order to understand the insights gained from the research.

Let’s begin with:

50 Questions to ask your organization before developing a digital Medicare marketing strategy

The Marketplace

  1. What is the marketplace opportunity?
  2. What is the market share of our top three competitors?
  3. What is our market share?
  4. Where within our DMA (designated market area) are the best opportunities for growth?

The Audience

  1. How many people 65+ years old are in-market within the DMA now?
  2. How many people are 64 years old this year who will be aging into Medicare within the DMA this year, and next year?
  3. Have we developed target-audience progressive personas?
  4. Have we developed segmentation studies, informing segmentation through digital analytics and insights?
  5. What are the digital media consumption behaviors and habits of our target audience?
  6. What is the buyer’s journey for 60–65 year olds (Age-Ins)?
  7. What is the buyer’s journey for 65+ year olds with a propensity to switch (AEP)?
  8. What is the buyer’s journey for 65+ year olds able to enroll year-round in plans enjoying a CMS 5-Star Quality Rating?
  9. What is our audience thinking, feeling, experiencing, expecting and considering at each stage of the modern buyer’s 10-stage journey?

Your Organization’s Current State of Digital

  1. Specifically regarding each of the digital channels and capabilities, what are the organization’s:
  • Strengths?
  • Weaknesses?
  • Opportunities?
  • Threats?

Digital Goals

  1. What are the growth goals, or how many new incremental members are being sought, to add through digital channels?
  2. What digital goals can be developed to better engage with members?
  3. What is the digital transformation vision for the organization?
  4. How can better service be provided to members through digital means?
  5. How can operations be more effective and efficient through digital means?
  6. What is the capacity for integrating the different parts of a digital strategy?
  7. What is the plan to integrate digital advertising with other advertising, marketing and event-driven efforts?
  8. What defining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and other metrics will digital programs and progress be measured by?
  9. What is the capacity to perform an analytical review of efforts to gain insight into how digital efforts can be optimized?
  10. What is the plan for agility in refining the digital strategy at regular intervals?
  11. What are the estimates for the future digital investment road map?

Brand, Positioning and Messaging

  1. How to best communicate the core features and values of the brand?
  2. How to add value to the brand through digital means?
  3. How to differentiate from competitors and communicate this through digital means?
  4. What are the positions and messages of key competitors?
  5. What is the “white space” within the industry messaging that can be leveraged, controlled and owned by the organization?
  6. What is the brand messaging and positioning for products and people?

Digital Content Strategy, Digital Content Audit and Digital Content Creation

  1. What is digital content strategy?
  2. Is our content strategy mapped to the buyer’s journey for each segment of our audience?
  3. What is the organization’s owned media strategy?
  4. What is our earned media strategy?
  5. What’s the best way to promote, advertise, leverage and exploit our owned and earned media, with digital paid media, through various targeting options?
  6. Can the digital e-communications strategy be streamlined and refined?
  7. Can implementation of personalized messaging through digital means to our audience be realized?
  8. Are there plans to create a content hub?
  9. Have digital assets been audited? And if so, when?
  10. What’s the best way to perform a gap analysis of content?
  11. How do we create a digital editorial calendar?

Digital CRM

  1. How can we best engage with our members digitally?
  2. How to determine the current level of online member engagement?
  3. What goals can be set to improve digital engagement?
  4. What KPIs can be put in place to measure digital engagement?
  5. What are the digital loyalty drivers that exist now, and what drivers do we need to have?
  6. What are the digital loyalty barriers that need to be overcome, and how do we overcome?
  7. How can member advocacy be improved through digital means?
  8. What is our eCRM approach and method for data profiling?

There are other important questions that need to be asked and answered in order to craft a digital marketing strategy. Many of these will be posed in the following chapters that specifically discuss digital tactics.