Last month, Invoca put on a fireside chat at the Emily Hotel in Chicago. I had the honor of sharing the stage with my partners at Google, and it was a pleasure to share my insights with fellow marketing professionals in the Chicago area. The setting was fun and after-work casual, allowing for a more lively Q&A, while also intimate enough to spark some interesting marketing conversations about digital, technology, data, and budgets.
For those who don’t know me, I serve as associate vice president of media and acquisition at Humana. I co-hosted the fireside chat with Roberto Paniagua, senior account executive, healthcare at Google. He and I work together closely to drive acquisition from paid search. As the client in the relationship, I’m usually the one asking the hard-hitting questions — but at this event, the roles were reversed and Roberto got to quiz me to his heart’s content.
Our illuminating conversation spanned a wide range of topics including, how to build an effective attribution strategy, choose the right technology partners, and scale results with AI.
If you missed out on the event, don’t worry — I’ve collected my top 5 takeaways in this post. I, unfortunately, didn’t save you any of the Emily Hotel’s delicious pork belly bites, though!
You’ve probably heard reports that a recession is coming. As we marketers know all too well, our budgets are often the first item on the chopping block during economic downturns. In these turbulent times, leadership presses us to spend smarter and deliver results with less budget.
At Humana, we’re continually working to spend smarter because one of our core lines of business, selling Medicare plans, is more competitive than ever with the Baby Boomer Generation reaching retirement age.
As a marketing leader, I’ve learned that spending smarter on marketing campaigns comes down to having the right data and measurement in place. We can get the most out of our budget when we see the exact return of every dollar we spend, so we set up our martech stack to track attribution data across the entire patient journey and connect digital to phone calls to appointments.
In the past, we were spending a lot of our budget on search ads, and optimizing for clicks. However, most applicants register for a Medicare plan over the phone because they want to make sure they get all of their care covered and their needs met. So, that strategy wasn’t necessarily helping us reach our ultimate goal of driving a sale. To solve this problem, we partnered with Invoca.
Invoca’s call conversion data easily integrates with Google. This has allowed us to take the same click-based strategies we were already using, and apply them to phone calls. For example, we can optimize our search ads to drive phone call conversions, and we can use Google smart bidding to scale our results. From there, we can slice and dice the data to implement new targeting strategies to help us reach our ultimate goal: sales.
There’s a lot of buzz around AI right now, and it can be hard to separate the hype from reality. During our fireside chat, there were plenty of audience questions about AI’s applications in marketing. I was happy to weigh in and give some advice.
The first tip I gave is to make sure you train your AI with good, clean data. The algorithm will learn based on whatever you feed it, and if you give it the wrong inputs, it will give you the wrong outputs.
My second tip was not to resist AI — the technology won’t replace you if you learn how to manage it and add value to its outputs. For example, if you’re a copywriter you can use AI to speed up your first drafts. From there, you can touch them up with your unique writing style and brand voice that the algorithm can’t replicate.
One of our most successful applications of AI has been Google Smart Bidding. Smart Bidding has been hugely helpful for campaign optimization since Google’s AI can help us test copy optimizations and bidding strategies far faster than a human ever could. We also use AI to analyze calls and feed conversion data to Google Smart Bidding to help us increase patient acquisition while reducing costs.
You’ve probably heard the term “digital transformation” thrown around quite a bit lately. Though the phrase has become a buzzword, there’s still a lot of value in practicing it. For those unfamiliar with the phrase, digital transformation is the adoption of digital technology to digitize non-digital products, services, or operations.
One of the projects I’m proudest of at Humana has been our digital transformation initiative. Part of that effort was integrating phone call data with Google Ads and our other digital marketing tools. Beyond that, we’ve worked to create a more cohesive customer journey. For example, we’ve created a standardized flow for onboarding new members, ensuring they receive routine care, and prompting them to engage with our app.
We’ve also created real-world experiences where our customers can find community and improve their lifestyles. For example, we offer classes on how to cook diabetic-friendly meals. This helps us connect the online and offline worlds and deliver more holistic experiences for our customers.
An important insight from the process is that digital transformation isn’t just about changing your systems — it’s about changing your culture, too. To execute a successful digital transformation initiative, your team needs to buy into the strategy and start thinking about the customer journey in a more cohesive way.
This year, privacy laws have changed rapidly, creating concerns about data security throughout the healthcare space. Healthcare providers are now more cautious than ever about the vendors they share data with, seeking to minimize potential breaches that could expose PHI (protected health information).
Healthcare privacy laws are moving so fast right now, it’s hard to keep up. We’re constantly going back and forth with our lawyers — we’re educating them about the digital marketing strategies we’re using, and they’re educating us about the latest regulations. Sometimes, these fast-paced conversations can give us whiplash!
I’m not a legal expert, so I can’t give a ton of guidance on how to pivot your strategy. But what I can tell you is that, in this rapidly changing landscape, it’s important to work with partners you trust.
Want to see the incredible results companies like Rogers Communications, Dish, and Sylvan Learning have achieved with Invoca’s Google Ads integration? Check out the Invoca + Google Ads Success Stories ebook.