Insurance used to be a boring product category. Then, in the automobile category, along came the popular GEICO gecko. Now we have Flo (Progressive), Aaron Rodgers (State Farm), and Mayhem (Allstate) who are all making insurance advertising fun — and generating sales revenue.
Health insurance on the other hand has remained boring. Maybe because it wasn’t really a product that consumers bought — most get their insurance from their employer and have no choice of insurance carrier and maybe little choice about the plan.
As we move into the implementation of Obamacare, much of that is going to change. Marketing managers at health insurers are likely to start trying to create an image for their companies. And most of these companies will be chasing young, healthy consumers (read profitable — as they tend to use less health care). That leads to this fun story at NPR’s Planet Money, “Will a Health Insurer Sponsor The Next ‘Jackass’ Movie?” (July 12, 2013 — the audio version of the story is longer and much more interesting).
This topic could provide the groundwork for an interesting class discussion or assignment. It might be fun to ask students how a health insurance firm might appeal to their target market? Students are the prime target market. Ask them to think through all 4 Ps to make it more interesting — though the bulk of the strategy will probably revolve around Promotion. You might remind them of the auto insurance market to prime the pump. This activity allows you to discuss a service product and a product category students don’t often think about.