Millennial Marketing Case: Blue Cross Blue Shield

DMW | Direct is a communications and marketing agency based in Pennsylvania. Their “Millennial Tsunami” (click for pdf) Insight Report on their web site is one of the most comprehensive and well-written I have seen.
The report covers the basics of who Millennials are and why they matter to marketers.  What really makes this report special is that unlike most reports on Millennials, this one provides a succesful case study of how a marketer that typically does not target ‘youth’ or ‘young adults’, crafted its offering and messages to appeal to Gen Y using a direct response TV targeted to 18-34 year olds.  The client was Blue Cross Blue Shield (not sure which region). And Unfortunately, I was not able to locate a copy of the DRTV spot. But the case provides these insights about the effort.

1. The campaign leverages the idea that Gen Y is likely to find their parents’ advice credible when making a major decision like insurance.

“The spots were aimed not only at recruiting new health care subscribers, but at rebranding the health insurer’s name and image for a younger, hipper market. Leveraging the fact that many younger people today respect the opinions of their parents, the spot makes the point that this is “the coverage trusted by your mom and dad.” The insurer knows that this younger audience should recognize the name and corporate logo and — as a result of rebranding efforts — presents an opportunity to relate them to a more innovative and flexible health care option.”

2. The effort tailored the product offering to meet Millennials’ specific needs.

To help this young, healthy market realize that health coverage is both needed and affordable, the plan offered was designed specifically to be low-priced (about $66 per month) and to focus heavily on alternative medicine such as yoga, massage therapy, and acupuncture.”

3. The campaign spoke in a relevant voice that didn’t sound like Gen Y’s parents’ old fashioned insurance company.

“The language was carefully targeted to appeal to a younger audience; for instance, the monthly premium was compared to the price of concert tickets, and the word  “bucks” was used instead of “dollars.” This carefully tailored offer naturally appeals to a younger audience, and alternative medicine can result in cost savings for the insurer — a win-win situation.”

4. The campaign leveraged visual cues and media appropriate to a younger, web-savvy target audience.

The Blue’s Web address is prominent in the spot. To appeal to the younger prospect, too, the commercial strays from traditional Blue Cross Blue Shield formats. The music is upbeat with a Seinfeldlike tune, and the camera cuts are quick and frequent. The ultimate message is to call or visit the Website for additional information — a basic, but effective, lead generation effort. As is true in using television or free-standing inserts to target an older audience, targeting a younger group requires continual testing to determine a control position. The goal of using a broad-reaching medium is to have younger prospects cost-effectively self-select. Using this approach, it is possible to reach and influence a younger prospect for your product or service where leads have been traditionally difficult to reach.”

The results? This campaign is credited with growing Blue Cross Blue Shield’s subscriber base by 15 percent.

The case concludes that “Millennials are just beginning to make their mark. The case concludes with this advice: “Gaining a foothold in the Millennial market is not only smart business in the short term, it is a strategy that will hold a company in good stead as the lifetime value of these young consumers grows over the decades.”