Aetna: Digital Transformation in Healthcare, Health Insurance and Wellness with Aetna CMO (#232)

Welcome to Episode #232 of CxOTalk. I’m Michael Krigsman, an industry analyst,
and your host. CxOTalk brings literally the most innovate,
disruptive people and organizations in the world for in-depth conversation. And, before we begin with today’s amazing
show, I want to say “Thank you” to Livestream, which supplies our video streaming delivery
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they’ll give you a discount. And before we begin, see the YouTube button? Please subscribe to us on YouTube because
you’ll get all kinds of great videos, and that helps us out. So, today’s show. We are speaking about healthcare, and we’re
speaking about the complexities of healthcare with the Chief Marketing Officer of one of
the largest insurers in the world, Aetna. David Edelman. You’re the Chief Marketing Officer of Aetna. How are you? I’m doing quite well! Thank you, Michael! So, David, please tell us about Aetna. I think it’s a name that we’ve all heard,
and tell us about your role! Sure. Aetna is actually a company that’s over
a hundred and fifty years old. It has gone through many different phases
and interests in various parts of the insurance industry, starting out in property and casualty,
in life, and then eventually in health which is now where we are focused. So, we are squarely in the healthcare space,
as a payer. We are doing a lot, as I’ll be talking about,
I’m sure, through this talk, to expand the perception of what that role really is. As Chief Marketing Officer, I have several
hats that I wear. First, and probably the most traditional,
is to support the business in driving growth. So, we will have a new brand campaign, that’s
actually launching next week, that will be in select markets around the country. That’s an important part of the transformation
that we’re going through, but we also support our sales force, who calls on employers, through
whom we do sell insurance. WE also have a direct-to-consumer business,
especially in Medicare, where there’s a whole engine of activity that we drive. There’s also support to policymakers and
other influencers, where we support the development of thought leadership. But, I also have two other roles. A very important role that’s been growing
importance is the marketing to our members to help them get engaged with great capabilities
that we offer them to help them manage their health and their costs. We have digital tools, we have various kinds
of support programs that our members should take advantage of. And often, the complexities and when people
sign up the general overwhelming list of stuff they get doesn’t really make it clear and
obvious how to do that. And so, from a marketing perspective, one
of my critical tasks is to help our members take advantage of what we have to offer and
get them engaged. And then, related to that, and also related
to the brand, is the third part, which is, we have within my team, overall coordination
responsibility for the member experience. So, end-to-end, how members go through learning
about plans, signing up for them, onboarding, their ongoing use of those plans to get care;
to manage wellness, to manage their transactions, and to renew at the end of the year. So, that whole end-to-end, which varies a
lot by different parts of our business, that’s all under our wing, and all has significant
investment behind it. You mention the word “transformation,”
and recently, Harvard Business School, or Harvard Business Review put out something
they call the “2017 Transformation 10.” And, Aetna came up as the tenth most innovative
company in terms of transformation, behind companies like Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Priceline,
and Aetna is number five for what they term value-based healthcare. And so, I know this issue of transformation
is crucially important for Aetna. Maybe, can you give us some insight as to
why? Why is transformation so important to Aetna? So, as anybody who touches healthcare knows,
and I think everybody touches healthcare in some way, shape, or form; the costs are going
up on a continuous basis. There are questions about access – there
are all kinds of challenges in the basic momentum of the healthcare system. And from the perspective of a company that’s
traditionally been a payer, a company who just creates products for people to buy and
then manages the transactions, mostly the payment of transactions involved in people’s
getting healthcare, that’s a very limited role. That’s not one where there’s much opportunity
to shape where healthcare can go. But, yet, as in the role that we play, we
have a tremendous opportunity from all the data that we collect and all the parties we
connect. So, we have an opportunity to help people
better understand who are the doctors who are high-quality, and who are in-network? We can help stitch together people’s journeys
when they have a hip replacement, all the way through getting help in terms of all of
their therapy coming out of the hospital, going to first a place to actually get the
therapy, bringing it home, even managing their transportation, helping them get meals, reminding
them about taking their meds; all of that are a series of interactions that in today’s
healthcare system, are the discrete. They’re all separate transactions. They’re all things that people are on their
own. We believe that if we can help our members
string that together, and work together with our providers to manage the cost involved
in that, we can both give members better care, which first and foremost is the most important
thing, and secondly, helps them manage their costs and our costs along the way. So, there’s a transformation pretty necessary
in order to do all of that, because that is way more than just being an after-the-fact
transaction manager; it’s about being proactive and essentially being a partner in care with
our members and as we say, to help them manage to achieve their health aspirations. Given what they want to do, we can now help
them through many steps along the way, filling gaps in the providers if the providers can’t
provide any information that may not be available. And that requires a whole bunch of capabilities
that we are starting to put in place ranging from technology capabilities, data capabilities,
but it also means empowering our people in the call centers when people call in. It means different kinds of relationships
with the providers who we set up networks with. And all of that is happening at, frankly,
breakneck speed. It’s just remarkable how fast that is going. And, our brand that’s coming out next week
is a rallying cry around that to change people’s perceptions, and also within Aetna, make sure
everybody completely understands and is aligned with the direction we’re heading. So, we are starting to get questions from
Twitter, but before we do that, the burning question for me is the healthcare environment
is so complex and so fraught with almost mutually-exclusive goals. If we look at the various stakeholders, insurance
companies, patients, doctors, providers, the government; there are all of these different
viewpoints and you’re right in the middle of it. And so, as you were thinking about this sense
of customer delight and the customer journey, responsiveness, and experience that you were
just describing, how do you factor in all of this incredibly complex and conflicting
environment in which you live? There is a lot of complexity from many different
angles, many of which have to do with the way the healthcare system has been cobbled
together over the years; different regulations and different ways employers manage what they
pay … But the bottom lines is it still comes down to helping people realize their health
ambitions, coming back to the member and what is the best care for the member; and making
sure our members can get the best care at an appropriate price, because increasingly,
given the way cost sharing is working where employers are passing on more of the cost
to their employees, everyone’s aligned if we can help people find the right care at
a reasonable cost. So we start from the premise that it’s not
about helping people just when they’re signing, it’s about helping people manage to be healthy
and to stay healthy; and that our members’ health is utmost. And then empowering our members to be able
to stay healthy and to do so in a way that’s cost-effective for them. That’s where everything starts. So, the way we try to manage that is to provide
way more, in terms of education to our members. We’re building up the content that we have
and the ways that we connect with members to communicate with them, sometimes, often
it’s not just at the beginning when they pick plans and they’re inundated, but through
the course of the year as we see certain kinds of things happening in their lives, jumping
in and making sure they understand certain aspects of plans they’re on and the opportunities
that they have to manage things better. If something comes up, a change in their health
status, a prudence to it; they get diagnosed with a chronic disease like diabetes; we’re
making care managers available to them. We have 5,000 nurses all over the country
who can jump in and they take on cases to provide people with navigation and counseling
through the system, often within the traditional care environment and increasingly beyond that
to cover things like transportation, meals, etc. So, we’re trying to take the member’s
point of view, first acknowledging that they’ve got their health goals, and we need to do
so in a manner that’s going to be cost-effective. So clearly, the center of your activities
is the member; thinking about their broad healthcare, and let’s say, wellness. We have a number of questions from Twitter,
and let’s begin with an interesting one from Sal Rasa, who asks, “How does Aetna
see its transformation within the healthcare integrated supply chain?” So, we actually believe that the supply chain
is going to be changing; that right now, there hasn’t been necessarily a role that takes
on, more that member, that navigation and support responsibility; that actually, there
was part of the supply chain that was thrown on people for them to do for themselves. And providers, the hospitals, the doctors,
they did some of that. No question! Absolutely! But not all of it. And that often, people are stuck in many different
situations, you know, especially when you think of behavioral health. You know, you have a mental health issue,
certainly, something changes in your life, where do you go for health, how do you get
back into the swing of things? There’s just all these traditions in many
different situations where they don’t have the support to get from Point A to Point B.
And we believe that that part of the healthcare value chain that frankly, has been a gap for
a desk just slightly handled is an incredible opportunity to help people and in the course
of doing so, guide them to better and more cost-effective care. We’ve also done some other things too, though,
which is work with the provider networks themselves. We have four joint-venture arrangements with
different provider systems around the country, where we set up complete joint ventures, fifty-fifty,
where we share in the management, the coordination of the management of those patients and the
risk against their premiums. And for those members who are in those joint
ventures, they especially, because all incentives are completely aligned to coordinate their
care through all different kinds of situational journeys that they might have. So, yes. It is a change in terms of the supply chain,
not necessarily sure it’s trying to take something away from another player, but it’s
about filling a gap. And in doing so, it may adjust some of the
balance along the way, but it’s certainly in the best interest of our networks. So, you see your mandate as supporting your
members and as you were making these decisions about where to partner, what to do, it all
comes back to what are you doing to support your members’ healthcare and wellness? Absolutely! Because it’s a win-win all the way. If you look at most people’s healthcare,
it’s right now, actually paid for as a part of their employer plans. And from an employer’s perspective, one
of the key things is to keep people healthy and productive. So, from the employer’s standpoint, yes. There’s certainly cost pressure issues that
they’re trying to manage, but the reason they’re offering it to go way back is to
keep their members healthy and productive. So, if we can help the member do that, it’s
in everyone’s best interest. And also, if we can get them engaged in it,
they can also make smarter decisions that not only help them from a health perspective,
but also from a financial one as well. You know, I have to say, hearing you talk
about this in such a straightforward way; this reference point being the health and
wellness of your members, it really cuts through a lot of the complexity that circles around
everything to do with healthcare. But, we have another question from Twitter
that’s another really good one, and this is from Scott Weitzman. And, he’s asking, “How does technology
help drive cost reductions even further than the process changes that you were talking
[about]?” So, what’s the role of technology in driving
healthcare reductions while maintaining the quality? I mean, that’s a very broad question. So there are lots of different dimensions
that technology can help. Let’s start with […]. So first off, just
simply as a marketer, technology provides us with new ways to work with members to be
able to send messages to them, to be able to help them get information… Online, we
can provide a whole range of tools to help them find doctors, understand ratings, connect
with peers who may have similar conditions and create communities around that to help
them learn from each other. So, there’s a ton there. Then you start getting into wearables, where
if from a technology perspective, not only do you get people engaged in having healthy
behaviors, but the right kinds of wearables like in Apple Watch, and we have a partnership
with Apple about the watch… The watch itself is a way to send little triggers
and nudges, and things that can help somebody stay on track, remember to take their meds,
remember that there’s an appointment coming up … Ask if they need transportation; there’s
a whole lot of having the technology so approximate to somebody can help us in terms of getting
them engaged more directly. Then there’s a whole class of things around
trying to reduce the dependency on the broader cost of the medical-industrial complex, so
to speak. So, offering services like video consoles. The people don’t have to necessarily go right
away to an emergency room. They can get a first judgment for a lot of
things. Whether it even makes sense, whether it you
can wait for the morning, what should happen there? And so, video services, quite a few of them
now are available … are one way also to start giving people a first-cut sense of feedback,
and then figuring out where to go next. And then from all the data that this all has
generated along the way, from an analytic perspective and increasingly using artificial
intelligence tools, we can start to understand better, through predictive modeling, things
that we can do proactively. So, we can find out, from Google, for example,
all that … Flu: people looking up searches on the flu are going up in certain geographies
while we can push out messages to people in those geographies really rapidly, strongly
urging them to get flu shots as soon as possible, and giving them the logic why. And so, that’s a scenario we can be tremendously
helpful to our members, and it’s just a win-win all around. So, yes. Absolutely, technology is there from a number
of different angles in terms of the video console in the active care, but I think it’s
also about connecting with people and having new ways to access and help them engage; and
then also, being able to generate and use all kinds of data to be more proactive. I want to remind everybody that we are speaking
with David Edelman, who is the Chief Marketing Officer of the huge insurance company, Aetna. And now would be a very good time for you
to subscribe to us on YouTube. Press the “Subscribe” button, and all
kinds of good things will happen. So, we have more questions coming in from
Twitter, and I’m going to try to get to all of them. When you were talking about wearables and
the Apple Watch, I have to say I am the poster-child for this, because, at the end of last year,
I started to get – I wear an Apple Watch – at the end of last year I started to get
these odd notifications about my heart rate. And I ignored them. I thought, “This is notification spam,” you
know, I don’t know what’s going on, and it started to become more regular. And so I had it actually checked out and it
turned out I had an underlying condition that was causing an elevated heart rate. I’m fine, not a big deal. But the point is the Apple Watch was the early
warning sign for something that otherwise I had no symptoms [for]. And it worked! It was just extraordinary to me. And I wrote a post about this on ZDNet that
was read by 60,000 people. So continuing on this theme of data, which
you just mentioned, we have a question from Arsalan Khan, who’s talking about, “There
are big data harmonizations,” as he says, “across industries: health, industries,
government; we need to make this happen.” So, has Aetna thought about or maybe implemented
any type of data exchanges in order to facilitate the aggregation of data that can then be used
in making diagnoses or helping patients understand their own health and trends and wellness;
things like that? To be honest, on the clinical side of our
business, we could, but I ‘m not aware. There could be a Chief Medical Officer, but
I’m not involved in that. I do know that between us and our joint venture
partners and sharing data with our own providers, that there’s tremendous data exchange where
there are a lot of interesting issues; for example, helping informing providers of who
are doctors who are prescribing more than their share of opioids, for example; and informing
those doctors directly of saying, “Look, given your speciality in your geography, here’s
where you are compared to your peers.” We can provide information back to the providers
about issues like that and other things. So, we are exchanging data. As far as holistic, harmonized, I am not aware
of that, per-say. We have yet another question from Twitter,
which … This is from Sudeer Kulkarny, and by the way the previous question was Arsalan
Khan. So Sudeer Kulkarny, I hope you’re pronouncing
your name correctly; he is asking about data connectivity, which I think relates to something
similar; again, the kind of broader use of data, whether it’s clinically or marketing,
because Scott Weitzman is also asking about technology on patient engagement. So, I think that data can be used in a variety
of different ways. And so, maybe you can just elaborate further
on just this role of data in any aspect of Aetna’s business and relation to customers. Yeah. Before getting into the role of data, I think
that first, it’s important to recognize the daunting nature of combining the data in companies
like ours. My role didn’t really exist until I came in
about eight months ago, and most of the way the company was organized was discrete lines
of business which have their own data and basically sold and operated barely independently. And now, we’re pivoting towards integrating
all of that on behalf of the member. And so, getting our own data together is something
we’ve actually made huge strides on, but there’s a lot of work there. And there’s a lot of different dimensions
to data to combine all of the different claims in clinical data, all of the service interactions,
all of the basic demographics, all of the marketing data, and getting that all together
is something we are working on. And as we’re doing that, we’re starting
to see certain very interesting patterns around people’s behaviors who are engaged in certain
kinds of programs, and we can finally get the end-to-end picture that can allow us to
do new kinds of tests that we couldn’t have done before; where we tried, for example,
to do a program to make people aware that they don’t need to g to an emergency room
if they’ve got a cold. You know, there’s a whole bunch of things
for which you don’t need to go to an emergency room, but we can actually now see who are
people who are overusing emergency rooms, educate them, and now follow through and see
all the way through. You know, it’s not just a question of sending
out marketing messages and getting the response, which a lot of the marketing teams are based
on. We’re talking about a behavior that happens
way downstream through a whole other set of systems. We can now link that together and actually
see the impact of the programs we’re running. So, we’re starting, frankly, with ourselves. There’s a lot we can do and a lot of data
we can unlock, and our data sciences organization is critically important. And, our leader of that is one of the top
folks here. And that’s, I think, where we’ve got to
first begin and start unlocking that potential. Now, one thing that we have not really spoken
too much about is transformation inside Aetna, itself. You’re an extremely large organization and
the healthcare world has been changing dramatically, and Aetna has been transforming and innovating. So, would you talk about that aspect of it? How does a large organization like Aetna transform? And obviously, given the Harvard Business
Review commendation that I mentioned, the recognition that I mentioned earlier, you’re
doing a really good job at it. So, how do you transform such a big company? Well, a lot of it starts with vision from
the top, and Mark Bertolini, our CEO, has been out in front for quite a while with a
pretty strong set of messages about the importance of helping the world become a healthier place,
essentially; and that our goal is not just to manage the transactions but to actually
affect health itself on a broad basis. He’s been out in front from a number of
different angles. Also, being a firm believer that health isn’t
just from the healthcare system, that there have also been quite a few studies about the
social determinants of health, having actually much higher values, and people’s behaviors
have even more value. So, right from the start, right at the top,
there has been a strong belief that if we’re going to get our arms around the whole problem
of quality and cost and care, we have to take a different perspective on it. So, Mark’s been out there and from the top,
driving that change and building a leadership team that is data-driven, to see what the
studies are, and understanding those, where to set our priorities, and all of us together
working through the right kinds of sequences for investments to make. I think one of the biggest things that galvanize
us is a rallying cry around helping people achieve their health ambitions; that really
being a core rallying cry, a core part of what our brand is all about, and they’re
saying, “Well what does that mean?” What is that role we have to play? What are the changes we need to make?” And then, pushing in the executive team to
constantly reevaluate the investments we’re making, operating changes that we need to
make, in order to free up capital to invest in that. So, any kind of transformation is going to
have a wing-walking aspect to it that’s really tricky, especially from a funding perspective
because you have all of these new things that you want to build, that you want to put capital
against, that you’re pretty convinced that you’re going to pay off, but you’ve got to
get over the hump of freeing the cash in order to do it. But then, you have a whole core of the business
and the way it operates. So, the key is to take the core and try to
find the most absolutely efficient ways of doing that core, and really drive the programs
where you’re looking at how to simplify things, how do digitize things, and get the
cost structure out of the basics so that you can fund the more advanced stuff. And then when you do fund the more advanced
stuff, making sure you’ve got the discipline to put measurement systems against it so that
you have control cells, so you can understand […] and you set things up so that you’ve
got very clear baselines and targets for what would define success. And so, we’ve been very disciplined in doing
that. Along the way, there have also been quite
a few new hires, like myself, who bring in different trends of skills into the business,
while also having the folks who really understand the business, but who are now taking on a
different perspective of what it’s role needs to be. I think there are certain galvanizing … So
underneath the brand promise of helping people realize their health ambitions, the brand
program itself is something that is washing through the employee base, it will, over time,
in order to remind people more tightly against this… It’s also about the senior management constantly,
in all of our meetings, in all of our strategy reviews, to know of our operating reviews,
getting ahead of asking the questions, “Well, how is this driving us towards our strategy
goal? How is this going to drive better health? Better satisfaction of our members? Better member retention? Better member engagement? How is it going to do that?” And so, being relentless and consistent on
that, from the top, is absolutely critical. And it’s been refreshing to see that. I mean, when I was recruited into the firm,
it was certainly something that came through all the senior interviews that I had, and
now being here, I’m seeing it in action. How do you link that relentless focus on the
member experience, and their healthcare, to the organizational objectives of changing
the organization, improving information flows, across departments? Incentivizing people across the company and
to support those member goals. In practice, what are the steps that you take
in order to ensure that your strategic business and customer-facing goals are reflected in
the internal organization and in that change that you’ve just been talking about? Well, I think one of the biggest drivers of
the change, frankly, was and I don’t mean this selfishly, was to build the marketing
capability for the company. Marketing had been separated out from each
business unit, not that elevated across the company. And by building a separate marketing capability,
one of the key things that we bring is a frontline, deep sense of the customer. So, whether it’s a member, whether it’s the
planned sponsor, bringing that into the business units on a constant basis, being their strategic
partners, to make sure that the investments and actions we’re making are reflecting that
customer’s point of view, as opposed to maybe the more traditional accounting, underwriting,
point of view that has historically dominated most insurance companies. So, one thing for my people, everyone on the
marketing team has got to get out to call centers; they’ve got to get out to focus
groups; they’ve got to get out and meet with planned sponsor customers. So, it’s absolutely critical to be on the
front line and bring that knowledge, that empathy, back into the organization and all
of us now sit on the leadership team of the business units that we support and connect
a lot with our functional colleagues. And so, we’re constantly bringing that point
of view in, and we’re raising that. And we have the license to do so with a strong
push from the top to say that these measures around satisfaction, engagement, are so important. But people want to know how to get there,
and marketing’s becoming a key place they turn. We’ve also pivoted what used to be called
market research, where they did research projects; something more akin to enterprise intelligence,
where we’re constantly feeding voice of the customer-type research into different
parts of the organization depending on what they need. So, that’s a dramatically beefed-up function
that along with all of the data that comes out from our analytics team, is being used
all the time. I’ve spoken here on CxOTalk with a number
of senior executives from companies in the insurance industry, and in general; I’m
not talking about Aetna; but in general, insurance, historically, has not been a hotbed of customer
focus, you know? How can we make the customer’s life easier? And so, I’m assuming that in this transition
and transformation, there’s a major cultural dimension of getting people inside Aetna to
be thinking about this customer perspective deep inside their DNA. And so, how do you change that culture to
where you want to go, as you were describing? To be honest, we’re just beginning. There are fifty thousand people who work at
Aetna. It’s a huge company. We are dispersed all over the country. There are people in almost every single state. So, it’s a pretty broad stretch of people
to connect with and reach. But, there are some things that we’re starting
to do. As I mentioned before, the […] while we
are also going external with our brand program, there is also going to be an internal brand
program. So, going through all the different parts
of our company, hardcore discussions of what does it mean to deliver on the brand that
we’re talking about here? What are the tenets of that and how does it
affect the kinds of priorities and decisions that you make on an everyday basis? We’re going to be having that explicit discussion. That’s certainly something that washes through. I also think to change the mattress; because
that means from an operating perspective, people who run different parts of the business
have to now explicitly look at satisfaction, retention, engagement measures. Those become parts of the drivers of performance,
and frankly, of reward. And so, they’ve got to bring that down into
the way they manage their behaviors and the culture they drive. I also think, coming back to what I was saying
before with the voice of the customer, we have to provide more, and that’s something
we are ramping up. But, we’re also trying to make it easier
for people to get out to the frontlines, and having more people pass through our call centers,
and jack-in with reps, and see what’s actually happening on the front lines, and what our
members are asking about; what our providers are asking about. So, it’s a lot of different things. And, it’s got to scale. But, we understand the importance of it. We have just a short time left. But, can you briefly elaborate on the customer
satisfaction or customer-oriented focus and metrics that you think about? How do you use metrics to bring customer delight? And we could talk for an hour on this, but
I’ll ask you to keep your comments pretty short. Yeah, I think it starts, in general, with
three kinds of measures. There are behavioral measures; so, for example,
how many times do people have to call into the call center per year? And, usually, most of the time, they’re
calling into the call center, it’s not a good thing. So, whether or not it’s about satisfaction,
if we can find ways to make sure people are proactively educated or have the tools that
they need, we can save them time and not have to help them […]. So, there’s a bunch
of behavioral things that give us early warning signs; satisfaction … That also will affect
our cost structure as well. There’s a second set of measures that are
around satisfaction, per say. And, that’s going to be measured in terms
of both satisfaction and a transactional level; so you just had a call that was handled well? Did you get the information you needed? But frankly, there’s a bigger question,
did you have to have called in the first place? So, we need to also look at satisfaction more
broadly for people who have had certain kinds of incidences and say, “You’ve just had
a hip replacement from what we understand. You’re back up on your feet and things are
well. So, tell us about the journey. Tell us about the experience.” And we use the term “journey” a lot here. It’s important to understand that it’s
not about the individual transaction. Because, as I talked about before, a big part
of where we want to go is to be that glue that helps people in their home across the
whole way. So, while we might survey for satisfaction
at a transaction level, we have to look at it at a journey level as well. And then, there’s the end operating metric. So, did operating costs per member go down
because they’re calling in less. Did medical costs per member go down, because
they’re engaging better and they’re making better decisions and they’re proactively managing
their health? So, there are different kinds of metrics that
we look at along the way that is all aligned towards this goal. And finally, we just have about four minutes
left. You’re in the midst of this major transformation
and you’ve been recognized for your success so far. And, therefore, what advice have you got for
other business leaders who, maybe in other industries, who are facing changes in the
environment and they have to respond, and their business model and their internal organization
has all got to evolve; what’s your advice for those folks? Well first of all, in terms of recognition
so far, I actually think we have a long way to go, and we’re just starting. But I think it’s important that we have gotten
off the ground and we’re rolling. I think, especially from a marketer’s perspective,
I think you win through customer insight. And, as I’ve talked with other chief marketing
officers, and I do quite a bit because there is a lot you can learn from your peers, especially
those who have been in traditional more B2B companies, more sales-driven, who haven’t
had this kind of perspective before. You win through insights, by bringing the
information about what really is the member experience? Let’s see how people understand that when
every different division in this company is sending people emails every week, they become
so overloaded that none of them really register. And so, bring constantly the insights to bear. Make it real. Make it visceral. Make it theater! Bring those insights to bear so that people
can understand what’s really happening on the front line. That’s what it takes to get people engaged. I was fortunate enough to come into a company
where a lot of the senior leadership knew the general direction they wanted to go and
are building up the talent base to get them there. But even along the way, as we have to make
marginal decisions about certain kinds of investments versus others, bringing the real
experience from the front line to bear, getting myself out to call centers at the beginning
of my time here; that’s all been a critical ingredient in helping people understand what
needs to get done. So, there’s no substitute for actual customer
information, accurately understanding your customers’ experience, what they want, and
what they’re going through today? Absolutely. And especially from a marketer’s perspective,
that’s one of the most important things in your arsenal. And my last, last question for you, in one
minute: You came to Aetna from McKinsey, where you led the digital marketing practice, and
in fact, you were a guest on CxOTalk. And so, how’s it different working as a
McKinsey consultant to being the CMO of a large organization? Well, I have to say, when you’re a consultant,
it’s often like being a surrogate parent. You give birth, you give it away. We have a lot of ideas, a lot of great ways
that you help clients, but ultimately as it should be, it’s theirs. And you’re helping others. In this role, it’s about really seeing it
through and making it happen; making sure the execution goes all the way to the right,
and you have to make sure that you’re really thinking through all the aspects of the execution. And I’m finding that incredibly rewarding! Especially with a team that’s dedicated to
making that happen, and feeling the joy of the team as we have our successes; that’s
just been tremendously rewarding. Alright. Well, I wish we had another hour. We have been speaking with David Edelman,
who is the Chief Marketing Officer of Aetna. David Edelman, thank you so much for spending
your time and for talking with us today! My pleasure! Have a good weekend off! Next week, we have two CxOTalk shows. You can check it out at And, don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube. Thanks so much, everybody for watching, and
thank you particularly to David Edelman for teaching us a lot about the insurance business
and describing his efforts at transformation at Aetna. Bye-bye everybody! Have a great week!

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