Separate strategies are needed in promotion and sales to succeed with buyer-prospects at different stages along the consumer experience. Neophytes usually haven’t acknowledged any “needs” that the product can satisfy. Until they are convinced they need the product, price is just a deadweight obstacle. On the other hand, experienced buyers look for product attributes relevant to their “needs” at a price they consider acceptable.
Neophytes are tougher to persuade than are experienced buyers. The challenge is to convince a neophyte that he has the relevant “needs.” Once over that hurdle, both neophyte and experienced buyer are susceptible to comparative appeals, e.g. that the product meets their needs better or at lower cost than a competing alternative.
America’s young adults are neophytes who are oblivious to the need for health insurance, especially one with an annual premium in the $5,000 range – deadweight indeed. But these healthy-young people are the high-revenue low-cost subscribers that Obamacare needs to amass an unspent margin that can offset the high-cost subscribers (i.e. sicker or older) most likely to enroll in Obamacare. Without youth, Obamacare collapses from excessive cost.
Many young adults have not faced high healthcare costs for hospital stays. They believe an active lifestyle and careful diet can make them invulnerable. Against that conviction it’s a losing battle to argue they need a $5,000 subscription. $5,000 could cover payments on a great car or go toward a residence. Despite youths’ compelling logic, the White House is looking for 2.7M healthy people aged 18-35 to enroll in Obamacare by next year.
Most Americans over age 35 have decades of health insurance experience and a Gallup Poll reveals 52% of them disapprove of Obamacare (disapproval from 89% of Republicans, 53% of Independents, and 20% of Democrats). They also harbor a fear factor — 42% say Obamacare will make their family’s healthcare situation worse, versus only 22% who say Obamacare will make it better. Even those without healthcare insurance are not ardent supporters.
Because of America’s distaste for Obamacare, the White House is mounting a massive social media campaign to overcome resistance. It recruited Hollywood supporters such as Jennifer Hudson, Amy Poehler, Aisha Tyler, Oprah Winfrey and Jon Bon Jovi to help with a massive social media campaign. On the corporate side, Secretary Sebelius of HHS tried to enlist the NFL as promoter for enrolling in Obamacare, but the NFL refused to take on such a partisan campaign. She also has been encouraging companies that HHS regulates to contribute to Enroll America, whose mission is — “maximize” the number of uninsured Americans enrolling in healthcare options under Obamacare. Enroll America is a 501(c)(3) that seems far more political than charitable.
Americans generally understand what to expect from health insurance. But for Obamacare they have just a “vague understanding of [the] specifics, [and] most remain uncertain about what Obamacare’s specific provisions actually do.” Even fewer understand that Obamacare will not rein in costs and that it will burn through federal budgets – crowding out other programs and forcing increases in federal taxes.
Americans with deeper-than-average analytical skills aggressively oppose being included in Obamacare. The union representing Treasury and IRS employees encouraged all workers to write to Congress pleading that they not be required to enroll in Obamacare. Congressional staffers are likewise up in arms over the prospect of being forced to enroll in Obamacare.
No matter how many cynical politicians tell us it tastes great, Obamacare is becoming the dog food that no one wants to eat.
Alan Daley is a retired businessman who lives in Florida and who writes for The American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research