Assisting the “Missing Middle”
Across the country, the costs of medications are skyrocketing. In fact, many middle-class individuals, who make a pretty good income and pay for insurance, are finding themselves having to make the decision between their medications and other household expenses. That’s partly due to high deductibles, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket medical expenses. Unfortunately, these folks are positioned in a way that doesn’t qualify them for government assistance programs. Instead, they’re left to make difficult decisions without any alternatives. They are the definition of the “missing middle” population. Until now…
The County of Santa Clara launched a first-of-its-kind, needs-based program called MedAssist, to help offset high out-of-pocket medical expenses for people living in the county with one of three valid life-saving prescriptions: asthma inhalers, diabetes medications, or epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens). The goal is to improve the general welfare of the community by promoting health outcomes through medication adherence. The hope is that when people are consistently able to access their prescriptions, it prevents complications, hospital visits, and even deaths.
You’re probably wondering now, “What does JP have to do with all of this?” Well, the program is only helpful if people in Santa Clara County know about it. That’s where our team comes into play.
Our Goal: 1,000 patients before the end of the fiscal year
At JP, we often say, “We can’t hit a target we can’t see.” For this campaign, the target was extremely visible and, at times, looming. The MedAssist program needed to enroll 1,000 patients before the end of the fiscal year on June 30, or they would miss an important deadline to the County. More importantly, they would risk not achieving what the program was designed to achieve—providing grant funds to patients with life-saving prescriptions. After the program had been pacing far behind in its goal for many months, our client-agency relationship started in March with a strong sense of urgency to meet this deadline. There were doubts from the client, but JP remained optimistic that we could achieve our goal.
We started preparing for our campaign by developing creative assets and planning a media buy that would target the right people all without knowing much specific information about these audiences due to HIPAA laws. Before launching, we wanted to ensure we had a strong brand voice that was approved by both the program leadership and the client’s legal team but would also be simple to understand by the entire target audience we were trying to reach. This level of planning took time, utilized the expertise of our entire team, and involved a lot of communication between MedAssist and JP. We were able to build trust throughout this process so that our client was assured that we would still be on track to meet our goals, even though it took time to build the foundation for the campaign.
To ease any stress on the client’s end, our creative lead, Pablo, made himself available by calling and texting the client, no matter the time of day, to ensure the project always stayed on track. Oftentimes, that meant sending over creative assets as soon as they were produced and then jumping on the phone to talk through rationale and potential revisions. This helped us to get approvals quickly and work through any potential obstacles in real-time.
Our media plan launched at the beginning of April with all of the assets we were able to develop quickly. Although successful, this phase was not without its own challenges. The client’s team struggled to grant us access to their digital accounts, so we didn’t have credentials to Meta or Google for the first few weeks. Nevertheless, we started our strategy on TikTok. With the clock ticking, we opted to push out whatever we could simply to get the word out about the program, even if approvals were delayed from leadership or the County Council. After receiving 200 leads on TikTok, the decision makers for the program requested that we not pursue a TikTok strategy further. However, with access then to launch on Meta and Google, we were back on track.
Our entire digital campaign produced so many leads that we overwhelmed the client’s systems. This was a very good predicament to be in, but it was still a hurdle in our plan. So, on a Friday afternoon in April, we pivoted, changing our entire digital outreach strategy. This shift involved moving away from a leads generation campaign where viewers submitted a form to be contacted by a staff member to a clicks-based campaign where viewers were directed to the MedAssist program application directly.
The following month, we finally hit our stride. We were at the point where we were able to fully understand how each team worked and how we could successfully cooperate with one another. But we didn’t stop there.
We would reach our goal of 1,000 enrollees by June 15—two weeks ahead of schedule.
Our team continued to go above and beyond to deliver for the MedAssist team. As the account manager, I was collecting as much data as possible on a weekly basis, including the number of applications that were started, submitted, and approved and the number of clicks and leads we generated. I would average out the performance of each week and create projections to see if we were still on track. At the halfway point between our media campaign launch and the June deadline, I reevaluated those projections, which revealed that if we stayed our course, we would reach our goal of 1,000 enrollees by June 15—two weeks ahead of schedule.
We were finally at a point where our goals felt more in reach. The tone of client meetings was lighter, and there was an overall sense of excitement about our potential achievements from both teams. By June, it was obvious that we would reach our goal, even if we stopped running digital ads because there were enough enrollees in the funnel. And, as a matter of fact, we did!
Prior to working with JP, the County of Santa Clara had spearheaded outreach initiatives for the MedAssist program. In the first two and a half years that the grant program existed, they were only able to generate 375 enrollees. In less than four months, our team at JP worked with them to adapt, adjust, and add pieces to an entirely new and refreshed campaign. On June 12, we were able to celebrate with the MedAssist team in achieving its 1,000th enrollee. That’s at least an additional 625 patients, with valid life-saving prescriptions, that we were able to guide to this valuable resource, potentially saving them from having to make the decision between their health and other important expenses.