TPA Marketing: In-House or Outsource?

Third-party administrators who provide effective enrollment, renewal, and year-round participant information provide their clients with the best experience. Implementing quality sales promotion tools and thought leadership activities can also help the TPA grow. Given how challenging and time-consuming that can be, many TPAs choose to outsource their marketing needs.

Sales, Enrollment, and Educational Materials

Participants must fully understand their growing pool of benefit options to maximize adoption and usage. Year-round education is essential. It’s vital to provide comprehensive but easy-to-understand educational resources. However, brokers and TPA staff may not have the time or skills to create engaging print and video assets.

TPAs can be forced to restrict service offerings due to staffing limitations. They can address productivity and output deficits by adding technology and operational support in such cases. On the other hand, developing compelling sales promotion and participant education tools may require more.

In-House Approach

Some TPAs manage marketing efforts in-house out of concern over costs, content, and direction. As with most decisions, there are pros and cons.

One of the pros is that in-house staff are well-versed in the benefits administration business. They are exposed to it daily and may have worked in production positions before going into marketing. Another is that they know your clients well, which can simplify the process of producing materials that resonate with specific employer wants and employee needs.

Among the cons is that maintaining one or more skilled marketing professionals on staff comes with significant expenses for salary, benefits, ongoing training, and technology needs such as specialized software. Marketing trends and tools are changing so rapidly that continuing education is advisable, which adds to the investment of time and expense.

Outsource Approach

Successful marketing agencies employ skilled and talented professionals who are good at what they do. They also stay abreast of the latest trends and emerging technologies. For these factors alone, outsourcing marketing services can be a great move.

But thanks to complex rules and regulations, benefits administration marketing can be very challenging, and, when not done well, can prove expensive. For example, the TPA may fail to increase revenues, experience stagnant participant adoption rates, or even face regulatory censure and penalties.

To outsource marketing needs, TPAs should seek a provider experienced in the employee benefits and benefits administration industries. Otherwise, you should be prepared to pay for the agency to learn your business.

You will also want to ensure that you retain firm control over costs and as much influence on specific marketing content and direction as you want and need. Look for a marketing services provider offering project-based and ongoing services, guaranteed pricing, and thorough consultation.

What’s the best option?

TPAs who provide compelling sales promotion, enrollment, and benefits education resources can attract more employer clients and increase adoption and participation rates. When pursued carefully, outsourcing your marketing needs can be a highly beneficial and cost-effective alternative to relying on in-house staff.

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