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Addressable TV Holds Promise for Targeted Healthcare Marketing

• Author: , Director of Media Integration

Addressable TV gives healthcare marketers more targeted health plan marketing

For years, marketers have been waiting for TV to catch up to the Internet in terms of niche targeting capabilities. That’s the promise of addressable TV: the ability to use TV to target audiences on a household level as opposed to large, broad-reach segments.

It has been a bit of waiting game.  And while there is still a ways to go for universal availability and options, addressable TV is now more than a wish. It’s becoming a reality that will ultimately benefit both TV stations (which can sell excess inventory to advertisers who may not have budgets for mass reach buys) and marketers (for whom even a little bit of flexibility in targeting can go a long way).

Addressable TV is available for live TV and video-on-demand in approximately 50 million households. Markets vary widely, of course (as does penetration within markets), but accessibility is growing steadily. Cable and data companies are joining forces to bring the systems and technology together to offer television advertisers the kinds of targeting capabilities marketers already enjoy in direct mail and digital marketing.

Think of it this way: one media buy with a handful of different marketing spots. Each spot can have its own creative message, and each can target a specific household type based on factors such as age, income and a host of other criteria. Never before has this level of segmentation been possible in the television advertising ecosystem.

How does it work?
Cable and satellite providers work with third party data solutions, such as Experian, to create subscriber profiles that may include data ranging from family composition and income to car leases and mobile contracts. To get started, healthcare marketers identify their desired target markets and then work with cable operators to find out how many addressable-enabled households fit their target audiences. Once the media buy is defined, the spots are sent out to individual households that match those profiles.

What are the possibilities?
Addressable TV opens up many new marketing possibilities for health insurers. In addition to Medicare spots that target individuals aged 65 and over, it may now be feasible to make spots that appeal to Millennials. It may now be possible to promote affiliations with hospitals by geographic region (even down to the neighborhood level) or to create spots for specific kinds of plans aimed at different levels of household income.

What results can marketers expect?
Addressable TV gives marketers the ability to break out of old paradigms, such as thinking they can only reach the age 65+ audience while they watch Jeopardy in the evening and the local news at noon. When marketers can focus on the household, as opposed to the program, they are likely to gain greater efficiency in ad spending and more intelligent reach of audience at a better frequency of messaging.

How can marketers get ready for addressable TV? 
Marketers who are interested in addressable TV should probe their agencies and media buying shops to make sure they are tuned into the cable/satellite providers’ timelines for offering addressable options. They should make sure that their agencies have strong video production capabilities, including not only cost efficiency but also solid understanding of the medium as it relates to specific (and more narrow) audiences.

In addition, it’s always a good idea for healthcare marketers to look at new technologies and opportunities in the context of their overall marketing strategies. Can addressable TV help you execute your marketing strategy more effectively? It’s possible. Review your goals and data points with your agency to see how investing in a segmented TV audience may (or may not) make sense for you now or in the future.

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