How Humana's high-tech outreach strategy got members to engage with their health

Since tapping software company Persado in 2016 to apply artificial intelligence to its digital marketing efforts, Humana has experienced significant increases in both open and click-through rates, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Humana reportedly began applying Persado's cloud-based AI tool to its marketing messages encouraging members to get flu shots in 2017. That year, the company issued emails with one subject line devised by Humana employees and another by Persado's software.

Emails with the human-created subject line, "Be sure to protect yourself and your loved ones this flu season," resulted in a 20 percent open rate and 0.41 percent click-through rate. Those with the automated subject line, "[first name] we're serious about protecting you this flu season," meanwhile, garnered a 31 percent open rate and 0.83 percent click-through rate.

"We have found, through other research as well, that the emotional element causes the consumer to respond. It creates a sense of trust," Jennifer Bazante, Humana's chief marketing officer, told WSJ.

Though Humana is not yet able to measure how its high-tech outreach strategy directly impacted flu shot numbers, the company told WSJ that the nearly doubled rate of click-throughs implies that its members are now more engaged in their own health. The company has now reportedly worked with Persado on more than 40 campaigns, with about 20 more in the works.

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