Reforms to the Australian health insurance market not only forced a major overhaul of the business operations of but also prompted a rethink of the marketing function, according to the CMO of the comparison website.

Back in March 2018, the government introduced a round of health reforms into parliament which put in the unique and difficult position of having to work out how this would affect the business and the service it provides customers.

“We were trying to figure out how to solve a marketing problem, effectively, in the dark,” CMO Jenny Williams told a recent conference in Sydney. (For more, read WARC’s report: How reformed Australia’s private health insurance category.)

“When we headed into our planning for this financial year, we had no idea what it was going to look like,” she added.

A new set of clinical categories meant the brand’s current comparison model was going to stop working “because we were working on old categories” – as were all the products. “We didn’t actually have any new products to work from,” explained Williams.

The process of reform-proofing its system to ensure customers would be covered in the areas they needed both before and after the planned April 1, 2019 introduction meant the business needed to manually map out 11 insurers, 600 products and 26 clinical categories.

Cross-functional teams worked to completely reformulate how customer service teams worked as well as interfaces for scripting; at the same time they had to take account of the various health funds migrating at different times and work through scenario planning multiple times.

“We only just made it,” said Williams. “And just when we thought we had done the impossible, the health department extended the deadline to April 1, 2020.”

Despite all of this, most Australians aren’t even aware of the change to the private health insurance system with research finding 65% are completely oblivious, so comparethemarket then embarked on a campaign to encourage people to review their insurance.

This in turn led to a shift in the marketing function for the business, as the company was forced to acknowledge that different channels have different purposes.

“The job of brand and advertising generally is not to get people to go onto the website and compare. Its job is to resonate with the consumer,” said Williams.

Sourced from WARC