Merrily Orsini's Thought Leadership

Value Based Consultative Marketing

Now “Value Based Consultative Marketing” is a mouthful. Guest lectured at Spalding University last night for a masters level business communication course on influencing with social media. The entire group is employed at Humana, in a variety of divisions and across product lines. Targeting seniors is obviously their mission. Looking for ways to get seniors to pay attention to their marketing message is their quest.

It has been my experience over these last 30 years serving seniors, or those who responsibility for taking care of seniors, that the there is not much common if age is the only factor. It is interests. And, when someone becomes ill or has an accident then they are interested in what to do to take care of themselves or their loved ones. And not a moment before that, in most cases.

There might be a son or daughter somewhere who notices that care is needed, so they may look for resources or try to find help, but, even then, unless the person for whom care is needed thinks that care is needed and is appreciative of efforts to “help”, there will be no transaction. Insurance, of course, is different. Insurance is something that we all think we need or else catastrophe might bankrupt us. So, selling insurance to a group is totally different from selling home care services. So, what would make seniors pay attention to Humana over the competition?

This is where Value Based Consultative Marketing comes into play. What is it that someone needs to know about in order to make the decision about which insurance to buy? Scenarios that play out the options would be my best guess. If A, then B. Income levers, risk aversion levels, preexisting conditions, heredity…all of these could be measured simply, and a best guess as to what insurance fits could be presented. My next best guess is that Humana has a ton of research to prove or disprove this, and that I am not telling them something that will make an AHA moment.  However, the students were attentive, interested, and all truly want to do a good job for their employer.

Consultative Marketing segments customers based on identifiable needs and provides information that is valuable to them as individuals. The Internet is perfect for consultative marketing, as it is performed on a smaller scale, requires significantly less financial resources, and using the Internet to deliver makes the time investment for each transaction reasonable. Interested in Parkinson’s disease? Interested in COPD? Whatever the niche interest, given the time to develop the questions someone might ask, and deliver the answers is the key to adding value to the marketing equation.

The MOST program that corecubed runs is a perfect example of material that is used in value added consultative marketing. People have a problem, and they want to know what to do about it. MOST takes many questions asked by people who are at various stages of needing care, and answers those questions. Online, through educational events, through direct, targeted mail, through social media…MOST provides value added information positioning the agency as an expert, and helping someone with a problem find a solution. Home care may be only one of the solutions possible, but, if it is the right one, then the agency gets the sale based on the helpfulness of the information.