Digital Marketing for Medicare: An Art Director’s View

Today’s Medicare beneficiaries are now digital-savvy consumers who spend more time online and on social media networks than ever before. And most Medicare plans are trying to capitalize on this opportunity by investing additional media dollars and resources to boost their online presence. But you need to do more than just be there.

Over my 18+ years of design experience, I’ve seen a common misconception about digital design: It’s often thought of as a task used to simply make the display ad and website “pretty.” The truth is successful design involves a lot more thinking and planning than many realize. It’s a fascinating combination of psychology, visual organization and persuasion.

Here are three key design aspects that should be kept in mind when creating digital advertising.

Make sure your photography is relevant

In a perfect world, budget and timing would allow us conduct a customized proprietary photoshoot. Unfortunately, most of the time we don’t have that luxury,  so we turn to stock photography, which can be a great resource. A good photo may be worth a thousand words, but it doesn’t have to cost a thousand bucks. We all know that the best photos are on Getty, but sometimes you have Getty tastes and a Shutterstock budget. When searching for stock, it’s important to choose authentic photos that speak to the aspirations of your audience. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Age – Today’s 65 year-old is different than yesterday’s 65 year-old. I try to skew a little bit young in my searches. Stay away from search terms like “elderly.” Instead, try “50s”, “60s” or simply just “adult.” People aging into Medicare don’t turn in their fun-card. They have all this newly found time on their hands, and now they want to enjoy this time in their lives. Use photos of active and engaged people. Stay away from passive and stereotypical “old folks” photos.
  • Location – If your target audience lives in the Plains States, make sure there aren’t mountains in the background. If your subject is in a home, objects and backgrounds like wallpaper, dishware and even electrical sockets are subtle clues that your subject might be on the wrong continent. When you fail at this, something feels “off” to the viewer, even if they can’t put their finger on it. When you do a good job with this, it goes almost unnoticed. If your viewer can imagine themselves in your ad, you’re going to have a much better chance of engaging them to take an action.
  • Wardrobe – This is a big one. People aspire to be better versions of themselves, and the one way we do this is by the clothes we wear. You don’t need to be Karl Lagerfeld to know what looks good, what’s too expensive and what’s out of style. Pick stock that appeals to the viewer’s sense of values and tastes. Sorry, lose the cardigans.
  • Eye contact – Nothing breaks the 4th wall like eye contact. Search for photos where the subject is interacting with something other than the camera. And while you’re at it, have them look towards the CTA. Seems weird, but studies show that users subliminally look for clues for what to do next. So, if you want them to click, have them looking towards the CTA button!


Brent Williams

VP, Digital Design Director

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