Mehiläinen

Mehiläinen – creating a winning customer marketing strategy

In the spring of 2016, Mehiläinen, a major social and healthcare services provider in Finland, was losing market share. Its customer marketing lacked an integral connection to its business activities, priorities and focus areas. MC Strategy was approached to create a business-driven marketing strategy that would measure the whole customer journey and bring the patient to the center of all operations.

The Outcome

The strategy was developed by defining critical success factors, focus areas and segments in which Mehiläinen wanted to outcompete other organizations. Proper KPI measurements were then established, which would allow Mehiläinen to see how key figures would develop once the strategy was implemented. From autumn 2016 onward, the company’s development curves kept rising. Mehiläinen increased the number of patient visits, saw growth in total customer numbers and received excellent feedback on its new customer-oriented concepts.

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Our cooperation with MC Strategy was inspirational from the start. I would be pleased to recommend Marketing Clinic for similar strategy projects.

Putting the customer at the heart

Mehiläinen has always been devoted to putting individuals at the core of its services and constantly developing the quality of its services and the patient experience. However, by 2016 the company had begun to lose market share, while the market as a whole began to shrink.

“In this tightening market situation, we were focused on short-sighted business-to-customer marketing campaigns. Our campaigns also lacked a tight connection to our business activities, priorities and focus areas”, explains Ove Uljas, Vice President, Business Development, Marketing & Communication, Customer Experience at Mehiläinen.

Mehiläinen wanted to redesign its marketing campaigns and to develop ways to measure the entire customer journey from beginning to end. By not paying attention to this previously, the company was unable to utilize all growth possibilities.

“After discussions with our Chairman of the Board, our focus was to have a world-class customer marketing strategy in place within one month’s time. I immediately began to consider who could help us define a world-class customer marketing strategy in a concrete way within this very short timeframe. As a result, we sat down with Marketing Clinic, went through the starting points together and got to work”, Uljas says.

Defining the elements and metrics of a holistic customer marketing strategy

Creating a holistic marketing strategy consisted of several phases. Most importantly, Mehiläinen and MC Strategy defined the critical success factors, focus areas and segments in which Mehiläinen wanted to outperform competitors. Insights from the immense Mehiläinen customer dataset were integrated into marketing strategy planning for the first time. The project also developed a scorecard for the whole customer journey and some completely new operative marketing metrics were added to it.

Proper KPI measurements also needed to be considered — how the strategy implementation could be measured and how key figures would develop once the strategy was implemented. The company had to think about how to implement the strategy promptly in order to achieve visible results as quickly as possible.

“Because of the short time frame of only one month, we had to make clear and quick choices throughout the process. One of the greatest benefits in the project was the fast implementation methodology that we were able to create together with Marketing Clinic — testing new things, learning along the way and not being afraid of small failures”, says Uljas.

The new customer marketing strategy formed a solid framework for Mehiläinen to create new customer-focused marketing concepts around its existing services. They were designed to attract a diverse range of target groups. From this framework, more proactive, targeted and creative marketing communications were developed.

“In this project, we were forced — in a positive and inspiring way — to truly look outside-in and bring valuable customer experiences and data on customer behaviour into our planning. We had already gathered a lot of diverse data, and with the expertise of Marketing Clinic, we were able to get even more out of that data than we probably would have by ourselves”, Uljas states.

Fast results and increased market share through effective implementation

The new marketing strategy was implemented in May 2016. Within just a few months, positive effects were seen in even the most important metric — Mehiläinen’s market share. From autumn 2016 onward, the company’s development curves kept rising, despite the decline of the overall market.

“Outcomes are what really matter. For a few years, we had been developing slower than the market, but then the turnaround happened rather fast. Despite the depressed state of Finland’s economy in 2016, we clearly managed to increase our number of customer visits and our market share”, Uljas explains.

In addition to market share development, Mehiläinen increased the number of patient visits, saw growth in total customer numbers and received excellent feedback on its new customer-oriented concepts.

“Our cooperation with Marketing Clinic was inspirational from the start. I would be pleased to recommend Marketing Clinic for similar strategy projects. We appreciate how they constantly challenged our thinking — without that approach, there would have been a risk of copying existing models and reverting back to our old ways of thinking. However, the most significant added value from working with Marketing Clinic was their help in teaching us the best practices of world-leading companies — from organizations far beyond our industry boundaries. Indeed, most of these best practices were not found within our industry, but elsewhere altogether. Without Marketing Clinic, we would not have been able to discover those”, Uljas concludes.