The multiple forces dramatically reshaping the healthcare industry show no sign of abating. Influence continues to shift from providers to payers. Health plans are consolidating and new, unconventional players—from Amazon to Clover Health—are taking the field. New contracting, provider, and fee-structure models are proliferating as the health system sheds the volume paradigm in favor of one focused on value. Against this kaleidoscopic backdrop, old payer-marketing strategies and toolboxes are rapidly becoming obsolete. At the same time, change is opening the door to new opportunities.

As their influence continues to grow, payers represent the ultimate gateway for brand marketers. After all, access is what clears the path to sales. Making the most of this opportunity calls for bold new approaches that shatter norms and embrace the future. That means, among other things, recognizing the changing roles and interests of the spectrum of decision-makers within health plans and health systems—and tailoring communications accordingly. It means exploring disruptive pricing strategies, atypical partnerships, and alternative distribution channels. It means reimagining contracting models to help payers improve outcomes and offset risk. And it means finding new ways to make real-world data meaningful and manageable.

As you read this, forward-thinking marketers are honing new vehicles and formats both for transforming HEOR data into compelling stories and for bringing credibility and transparency to data representation overall.

Shift Advertising Approaches

The need for new approaches applies to advertising, too. Clearly, payer decision-makers warrant campaigns that address their very specific concerns. Yet many marketers continue to simply repurpose HCP campaigns for the payer audience with little or no modification—a stubborn remnant of yesterday’s thinking.

Finally, understanding that payers think in terms of populations rather than individual patients, it’s up to marketers to master population-health principles and find innovative ways to support them with data analytics, programs, and services.

Consolidation among payer organizations only magnifies the importance of getting these things right—because more is riding on every potential win or loss.

One thing is for sure: Those market-access teams who are first to adapt their thinking, strategies, and tools to the new normal—who bravely look beyond the tried and true to the what if—will reap the rewards.

  • Amber Gilbert

    Amber Gilbert is Managing Director at Cyan Health. Amber has helped biopharmaceutical companies develop successful pricing, access, and reimbursement strategies and programs in support of product launches for major specialty and chronic conditions. She is also a frequent lecturer at Rutgers Business School and has presented original research at AMCP. 

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