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How Aetna Uses Content Marketing to Educate Consumers on Healthy Living

An increasingly important part of companies’ messaging efforts is content marketing, which they rely on to build brand awareness and engagement, provide thought leadership, and tap into cultural conversations around particular trends and topics.

Marketers recognize how content marketing can be key to their efforts. Nearly 80% of marketing professionals worldwide said they expect content-led campaigns to grow in the next two years, according to an October 2019 survey from World Media Group.

That is why Aetna, the Connecticut-based health insurance provider acquired by CVS Health in 2018, has a content marketing strategy for both its business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) clients. We spoke with Aetna’s CMO David Edelman about how the company uses content to educate consumers on healthy living and how it measures the success of those efforts.

How does the company use content marketing to promote wellness?

On the consumer side, there are a number of different ways we use content marketing. First, we have a pretty strong social media presence where we inform, inspire, engage and help people understand the success stories of others. We also give them health checklists.

Additionally, we set up “digital hubs” for a wide range of disease categories. For example, if you have a cancer diagnosis or you're going in for a biopsy, you can access a whole set of our videos and checklists—they're a consolidation of all the resources Aetna, and now CVS, make available to you. We provide resources that inform users on the questions they should ask their doctor, what to do before appointments, decisions to be prepared for, and personal stories from others who have had similar experiences.

Another area of our content covers health insurance. For example, during the annual enrollment period for Medicare, seniors are faced with a bewildering array of options as to how to construct their Medicare support, and we have a lot of rich content on that, like videos. This segment includes lists of questions to ask yourself as well as guided questionnaires to help you learn more.

What is your content marketing strategy on the B2B side?

On the whole, our B2B content marketing strategy is the same as on our consumer side. There's a lot of support for B2B sales. We create a ton of content for that and use content management tools to get it out to our sales force. We also send content directly to our sponsors on a regular basis.

The B2B market is especially concerned with people who have chronic conditions. Those folks have more out-of-work days and unforeseen situations, along with higher medical costs. So, on this side of our content, there's a more explicit emphasis on things like diabetes and oncology support.

What challenges do health insurers like Aetna have when it comes to marketing healthy living to consumers?

The strategy of Aetna itself took a pivot about four years ago, when the emphasis was placed more on members' health. One of the things that I was brought on to do, from a marketing perspective, was figure out how to help people understand the benefits of healthier behaviors. The challenge with helping people be healthier is that it requires lifestyle changes. We know what we’d like people to do, but we don't necessarily know how to help or motivate them to do it. The vast majority of challenges we face involve people with chronic conditions who need help on an everyday basis.

If we can help people get healthy, everybody wins. They are healthier, and they save money. It also allows us to cut pricing, and thus offer more services. It's a total virtuous cycle.

How does the company measure the success of its content marketing efforts?

The main way we measure success is by looking at the actions we inspire. We want to see people act on what they've learned, and because we see the claims data on the back end, we know what has actually been done.

We do measure the traffic on the site that comes from people who want to learn more about health insurance. The information on those sites is not biased toward any one health insurance option; it's factual and done in an interesting way to help people better understand the process. It then gives them an option to contact us afterward and learn more about their options with Aetna. We certainly measure leads that come through that.