We were asked to give a talk on street marketing to senior managers at Magellan Health. From what we learned working with Healthfirst to refresh their brand, we were able to provide insights to assist Magellan’s entry into new markets in the era of healthcare reform. We created the following case study to highlight a community-based, high-touch approach.

A Day In the Life of a Neighborhood

Throughout the 5 boroughs of NYC, Community Based Offices (CBOs) become the hub of Healthfirst activities in the communities they serve. CBOs are the place to go for support with healthcare benefit concerns, meet with representatives, attend events, and gain awareness of the brand.

The Day Begins… The Healthfirst team plans and executes tactics for increasing enrollment. This team reflects the community they serve. Team members are often recruited from the neighborhood and are bi-lingual. Additionally there is a call center in which English, Spanish, Russian, and Chinese are spoken. Customer service is the main focus.

Healthfirst-2The Community Ambassador—Healthfirst’s Vice President of External Affairs is well positioned with Healthfirst management and sales force providing leadership and insight into the community.

The Neighborhood—The Healthfirst market focus is on the very poor and low-to-moderate income residents of New York City. The neighborhoods where this population can be found are typically ethnically diverse with a strong immigrant population made up of first and second generation Americans.

Healthfirst-3Hospitals—Hospitals provide key opportunities to interact with members and potential members at the point-of-care. This provides availability for immediate sign up as well as opportunities for answering questions, addressing concerns and dealing with provider issues.

Provider and Staff—Working with providers presents an opportunity to influence their recommendations on health plans. This relationship can be a mutually beneficial one for the provider. Healthfirst can provide knowledge of effective business practices, trouble-shooting for administrative and coding issues, as well as insights into the community and its residents.

Go Where the People Are—Maintaining a street presence is crucial to building trust and awareness for Healthfirst in the community. Trucks and tables are strategically located near public transportation hubs and shopping areas. They are timed to coincide with public assistance cycles and staffed by sales reps ready to sign people up.

Healthfirst-4Walking the Neighborhood—Sales reps actually visit members and potential members by appointment. Attention is focused on answering questions and assisting with enrollment.

Community Events—Participating and sponsoring community events helps build familiarity and trust for Healthfirst among the populations they serve. Typical events include street fairs, church activities, school functions, health screenings, and cultural events.

Member sign up—All efforts culminate in creating a pathway to enrollment.

The key takeaways from this case study start with the realization that street marketing is about more than healthcare benefits and that the high-touch approach is the foundation for all marketing. So keep things community-based. Know where your members and non-members are, and go to them. This audience values respect. Speak their language. Last but not least, make things as easy as possible.

You can get the complete case study as a PDF from our Resources section.

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