Performance Marketing

Unlock the Customer Journey Through First-Party Data

PUBLISHED: 5/24/2022

A Quick Q&A for Health Plan Organizations

In a world forever altered by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, health insurance plans quickly learned how vital MarTech and the role of data was to their processes. 

How fast can your patient access a “Find a Doctor” form? How efficiently can they book an appointment and receive personalized reminders? Which platforms are they most likely to use for communication? 

These are just a few examples of pain points that can be solved through strong analytics and MarTech integration. MERGE VP of Analytics Jason Budelmann sat down with us for a Q&A to share how health plans can unlock the value of their data and become customer advocates throughout the  journey.


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Q: From a data & analytics perspective, what should health plans be preparing for during the remainder of 2022?

Jason Budelmann: Google is transitioning from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in July of 2023. For health plans that are fully embedded in UA, this will be the most significant change they have experienced in the last 15 years as this is the end of life for the platform.

This change is going to force organizations to re-evaluate how they are collecting, analyzing and telling their customers’ stories.

Check out our GA4 Transition Planning on-demand webinar here.

Q: GA4 was designed for the third-party cookie-less era. How should organizations be prioritizing first-party data?

A: Health plans have always been at the forefront of consumer privacy and data protection, so the companies that have embraced first-party data and the integration of MarTech will be positioned to have a strategic vision, an enriched dataset and a competitive advantage. 

Utilizing first-party data sets up a secure framework to create efficient targeting and greater ROI. Companies should prioritize first-party data by designing better opt-in opportunities as these signals begin to shape the story of who your customers are. Through a healthy MarTech integration, teams can test and analyze high value touch points across various platforms—from email to direct mail, paid media to organic website traffic—and begin to trace the end-to-end customer journey.

Q: What are some roadblocks that these companies are facing when it comes to a strong MarTech integration? 

A: Historically, technology and marketing have lived in two different departments for health plan organizations, so aligning cross-functionally is a huge challenge. Adoption is slow and teams are siloed. But technology and customer centricity are evolving so fast that failure to remain current can put the organization at a huge disadvantage in the future.

At MERGE, we act as the internal partner for our clients to help break down the silos. We give teams a nomenclature, framework and strategy that they can circulate internally to share how critical having a MarTech system in place is to the customer journey.

Q: What are some payers' pain points in the world of data analytics?

A: GA4 is going to help solve for this, but the app and website ecosystems have been independent of one another. This causes employees to only see a snapshot of customer engagement instead of their entire behavior. 

I’m sure you can imagine the impact of this incomplete data as it creates inconsistent personas. It’s vital to have a strong MarTech integration because it shows the true personas and carries the customer through to conversion.

Q: How has MERGE helped health organizations unlock the value of their data?

A: We approach analytics from a storytelling and technology standpoint to create engagement points that fill in data gaps on the website. Through strategic planning, we activate first-party data for a highly targeted audience. Even if a company has limited marketing dollars, we are able to focus on the highest propensity customer and ensure they do not fall off from high value touch points in their journey to conversion.

For example, we use lifetime value modeling that incorporates CX strategy with data analytics to solve for disruptions in the conversion journey. How much medical care does your audience need? Who are the potential customers that are not going to change insurance companies? At what touchpoint does the customer experience fail? 

We are at our best when personas are one and the same across the CX and analytics perspective.


If you’re curious as to how MERGE’s health plans marketing expertise can better improve your customer’s journey, drop us a line