Courtney Eckerle

Learning About Your Customers Through Testing

November 20th, 2015

Mike Loveridge, Digital Marketing Manager, Humana, runs the conversion rate optimization program at Humana, which is comprised of a team of 15 testers and supporting staff.

In his interview at the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 Media Center, Mike explained that the team has spent the past year getting a process in place that would walk a tricky tight rope: keeping costs down, while improving the quality of the test. Locking down this process can be difficult in an enterprise-grade company, Mike said, but especially in the insurance industry with government regulations.


“This year it’s more just branching into other areas of the site and the experience that we weren’t able to touch last year,” he said, listing the member’s portal and company firewall.

Mike’s goal is to spur a company-wide transformation with testing culture, starting with his team.

“I think [with] insurance companies in general, the big push is to go from being an insurance company … to being a health partner with the consumer so that there is a level of trust that hasn’t existed before,” he said.


Test and learn

Implementing this consumer focus company-wide means “test and learn,” Mike said.

The most interesting discovery so far, he said, is that “you don’t really know the customer as well as you think you know them. So you’ve got to test a lot. And the more you test, the more you learn and the more successful you’re going to be.”

In running a personalization test, the team took a banner ad image within the Medicare segment which featured an elderly couple walking through a park. That was the Control, he said, and in a Treatment they featured the couple walking with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, and another in front of the Statue of Liberty. Those were then sent out in New York and San Francisco, he said.

“The interesting thing is usually when we do tests like that where we change out images, it increases traffic. But here, it was not only increasing traffic, or clickthrough, but it was improving the performance all the way through the funnel,” Mike said.

The performance and revenue associated with such a takeaway is huge, he added, for such a simple test. The success was because they took a small piece of information about the customer, and used it to learn more.


Make a transformation to customer-focused testing

“You talk about numbers and dollars, but there’s also that shift to having better metrics around customer retention and engagement,” Mike said.

Tests directly correlated with driving revenue are important, but knowing how satisfied people are with the overall experience with your company is vital.

Across Humana, this culture of testing and engaging with customers is taking place, Mike said.

“There’s online and there’s offline. They’re doing focus groups, they’re doing one-on-one interviews on the street, doing surveys, usability studies … a lot of them are done after the product has already been developed,” he said.

One of the major changes they’re trying to make with conversion optimization testing, he said, is to move up that process to before a product is developed. That way, customers are built into, and informing, the product itself.

“As you test, when you give the customer some choices it’s going to improve their trust,” he concluded.


Mike Loveridge, Digital Marketing Manager, Humana, will be speaking about testing at MarketingSherpa Summit 2016, held February 22-24 in Las Vegas.


You can follow Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, on Twitter at @CourtneyEckerle.


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Courtney Eckerle

About Courtney Eckerle

With a focus on aspirational, customer-first marketing, Courtney’s goal has been to produce clear, interesting and actionable external content for MarketingSherpa readers. This has included writing over 300 case studies, moderating live event interviews, and producing video content. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Mass Communications and Film Studies from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., and was a correspondent for USA Today College prior to joining MECLABS Institute.

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