When it comes to lowering their own healthcare costs, most consumers consider themselves helpless, according to a study of more than 1.500 consumers from Boston-based Chadwick Martin Bailey and South Street Strategy Group.
While most consumers do not fully understand Healthcare Reform, they do anticipate it will have an impact on their lives. With much of the coverage of Health Reform focused on increased costs to businesses and subsequently to their employees, the majority (67%) of consumers believe that they have little to no impact on reducing their own healthcare costs.
While consumers feel that they do not have a major impact, 75% of consumers see health insurance companies as responsible for lowering health costs, significantly more than those pointing the finger at government agencies (46%).
The study found while 30% consider themselves knowledgeable about Health Reform, half only consider themselves somewhat knowledgeable and 19% fully admit they don’t know much at all when it comes to Healthcare Reform.
Much of this confusion or partial understanding may be due to the perception that the media does not present the issues in an unbiased way (only 18% said that it is presented without bias).
Even with the confusion surrounding Health Reform, most people believe that reform will have an impact on their lives with 35% expecting a major impact on them or their family, 39% expecting a small impact, and 18% unsure of the impact they should expect. In fact, only 9% of those included in our research thought it would have no impact on them or their family.
The confusion around Health Reform is both an opportunity and a challenge for Insurers to take a leadership role and become educators and trusted advisors for consumers to turn to, according to the study’s authors.–Tanya Irwin
Americans feel pretty helpless about their individual ability to lower health care costs. Most people look to health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry to be responsible for lowering health costs in the U.S.
A survey from Chadwick Martin Bailey and South Street Strategy looks at Americans’ views on health reform and health care costs in late summer 2010 and finds people still confused about how health reform will impact them, and impotent in their ability to lower their costs.
American Consumers Uncertain About Health Reform summarizes the survey results, with the top line finding that 74% of people expect that health reform will impact their families in some way. However, many people aren’t certain what these impacts will be.
One thing’s for certain: Americans continue to worry about health care costs, and they blame health insurers and pharma companies for the high costs of health care. Health plans, along with government, are seen as the two key sources to provide information about health care reform (74% and 61%, respectively). However, only 14% of Americans look to pharmaceutical companies as a source for health reform information.
Methodology: Chadwick Martin Bailey polled 1,504 adults aged 18 and over online during the week of August 23, 2010. The researchers also conducted individual interviews to gain additional insights into peoples’ beliefs about health reform.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: This poll finds that Americans tend to feel quite helpless in the face of rising health costs, and also don’t quite understand how health reform could impact them. They blame health plans and pharma for their cost-woes.
The opportunity for these two sectors is to connect with health citizens in at least three ways:
1 – As information providers that can help consumers understand how health reform could impact their own and their families’ health.
2 – As support networks to help people navigate the changing health system.
3 – As partners in bending consumers’ personal health cost curves.
The third tactic might seem counter-intuitive: after all, health plans and drug companies are for-profit entities looking to maximize revenues for shareholders. However, given that these companies also sit toward the bottom of the industry reputation rosters, making efforts to help consumers manage cost could help to re-build eroding trust between the companies and consumers.
For health insurance, it’s about delivering value-based plans at a rational price, enhanced with useful tools, transparency and helpful, easy-to-navigate, actionable information. For pharma, it’s participating in greater dialogue about risks, providing tools for managing chronic conditions, and expanding and making drug assistance programs more accessible. Some branded pharma companies should re-examine their role in the generics business, demand for which will continue to grow with or without health reform.
Consumers surveyed in a new study said they hope their health insurance companies will help them understand healthcare reform and how it will impact their lives.
The study, released Thursday by Chadwick Martin Bailey, a Boston-based custom market research firm, asked 1,500 consumers how they feel about healthcare reform.
"There is quite a bit of confusion around healthcare reform, yet our research shows that Americans expect this reform to impact them personally – they're just not sure how," said Amy Modini, an account director in Chadwick Martin Bailey's healthcare practice. "Going forward, we see that people are expecting their insurance carriers to help clear up this confusion and be a trusted source of information."
According to the study, 75 percent of consumers see health insurance companies as responsible for lowering health costs, significantly more than those pointing the finger at government agencies (46 percent).
The study also found that 67 percent of consumers believe they have little or no impact when it comes to lowering their healthcare costs.
"The confusion around health reform is both an opportunity and a challenge for insurers to take a leadership role and become educators and trusted advisors for consumers to turn to," said Mark Carr, a managing partner of the South Street Strategy Group, a sister company of Chadwick Martin Bailey. "This is just the first of many challenges health reform will pose for carriers."
"As reform shifts a significant portion of the insurance market from a wholesale to a retail market, many insurers, who are largely B-to-B marketers, will need to develop new, more differentiated value propositions and go-to-market strategies," Carr said.
500 million Facebook denizens are plotting their social graphs.
145 million Twitter users Tweet and ReTweet.
3 million people are checking-in on FourSquare.
Brands are flocking to social networks, some with strategies and others simply experimenting with community building. What's clear is that the 3F's (friends, fans, and followers) are not created equal. Those brands who examine the composition of their existing community will find that many are simply seeking access to exclusive specials and content.
According to a recent comScore report, 23% of Twitter users follow businesses to find special deals, promotions, or sales. 14% of Twitter users reported taking to the stream to find and share product reviews and opinions. Earlier this year, Chadwick Martin Bailey published a study that showed 25% of consumers connected to brands on Facebook did so to receive discounts. But here's where things get interesting, in the same report, comScore found that Facebook and Twitter visitors spend 1.5x more online than average Internet users. Herein lies the opportunity for brands looking to add yet another "C" to many C's of Community--commerce.
The Rise of Social Commerce
Part of a true 360 social media strategy is to convert the 3F's from prospects into customers and existing customers into repeat customers, creating a rich community of commerce, conversation, and collaboration.
Starbucks set out to increase traffic in stores around the country through a "free pastry" program shared through social networks. The coffee company says that social media contributed to 1 million customers visiting local stores in one day. But, this is just the beginning.
Recently, Gap ran a special promotion through FourSquare where anyone who checked-in to any store, for one day, would receive 25% off the total purchase. The offer extended to Twitter and Facebook, but in those cases, users were asked to print a coupon.
Gap also ran the promotion through Groupon ...
Many social consumers reported that the offer drove them into local stores and it indeed caused a social effect as they took to Twitter and Facebook to share the deal with friends and followers. According to a statement made to the Wall Street Journal by Sabrina Simmons, chief financial officer of Gap Inc., "While results were mixed across our brands in August, we remain focused on our overall goal of driving top line sales growth."
Diversity and experimentation is key, especially as commerce is as distributed as attention and community.
Lora Cecere of the Altimeter Group is the author of a report on social commerce and in it she examines the steps necessary to bring social networks and commerce to life as brands seek answers to important questions, "What is the ROI? And, how do we encourage our fans to buy?"
Cecere sets the stage for the work that lies ahead, "As companies struggle to answer these questions, the effort no longer is social for the sake of being social, but gives rise to horizontal processes that extend beyond marketing to drive social commerce."
If the first phase of the social commerce evolution is participation, Cecere believes that the next phase of social commerce is enlightened engagement.
In this phase, companies focus on learning to listen from multiple listening posts(internal and external), aggregating and syndicating shopper reviews, improving engagement through the use of experts and more effectively connecting like shoppers through video content. Commerce is enabled through fan pages, and the redefinition of engagement. However in the evolution of social processes, companies find that listening and learning is not enough. Fans want companies to respond in a more meaningful way. They want to have input into which products that they buy and the way that they buy these products.
Enlightened engagement is the subject of a discussion that I'm joining at Altimeter's first conference, "The Rise of Social Commerce" taking place in Palo Alto on October 6th and 7th (USE CODE RSC2 for $100 off if you'd like to attend).
Enlightened engagement, to me, represents much more than responding, it also represents the capacity to introduce value into the stream and also to connect the dots among all potential consumers and influencers. Remember, while it's important to cultivate an existing community, the bigger part of the story is who you're not connected to. In the Old Navy example, word of mouth emerged as catalyst for driving foot traffic as the brand did not integrate engagement or influence into the mix. Had it done so, Sabrina Simmons might have had a different story to tell to investors during Gap's quarterly earnings report.
As Lora's report takes us deeper into the phases of social commerce maturation, it mirrors the path of advancement for social businesses. Through experience, we learn more about the very people we're trying to reach and compel. The Altimeter report focuses on the 4 P's of marketing to drive what it calls the store of the community:
- Which products and services do I deliver to which communities?
- How do I price and promote these products to best service community needs?
- How will I best position these products within existing and new channels to maximize brand presence?
Social commerce and social business also require a fifth P, where "people" earn an official representation in the marketing, service and commerce mix. Without connecting the Last Mile of personalization packaged in empathy, we are not able to activate the social effect in and around commerce. As a result of listening, learning, and adapting, we develop more relevant commerce strategies. Through enlightened engagement, we can spark sales and also social shopping, collaboration, and communication.
Lastly, as we dive one last level into the depths of inception and extraction, we're introduced to the fourth phase of social commerce, redesigning the shopping experience to improve commerce. In my work, I've found that this is done through explicit listening and interpretation as well as through the implicit analysis and leverage of collective intelligence. Companies such as Baynote interpret persistent behavior and responses to enhance the social commerce experience. Over time, the combination of manual and semantic analysis partnered with the resolve to continually earn relevance within the community and foster social shopping that extends from the desktop to mobile to the real world.
As summarized by Cecere:
Companies realize that they can use new technologies--mobile applications, geo-location shopping, 2-D tagging, social gaming, social couponing, smart shelves--coupled with social technologies, loyalty programs and point of sale data to redesign the shopping experience. This allows companies to build customer intimacy in new and more meaningful ways.
The key to social commerce is understanding the roles of the social consumer and the parts they play in the grand production of your marketplace. It's your responsibility to not only focus on the aspects of "paying it backward," i.e. pay me for my goods and services, but also "paying it forward," the investment in your community so that brands merit resonance through relevance.