Mehiläinen — creating a winning customer marketing strategy

Mehiläinen sat down with Marketing Clinic to create a customer driven 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. Realizing the need to take action immediately, Mehiläinen sat down with Marketing Clinic to create a business driven marketing strategy — with an approach that measures the whole customer journey while truly bringing the patient to the center of all its operations.

Mehiläinen sat down with Marketing Clinic to create a customer driven marketing strategy.

Mehiläinen is one of the leading providers of social and healthcare services in Finland, with over 100 years of experience. The company offers a broad range of services in private healthcare as well as public healthcare and social services. The mission of Mehiläinen is to improve the well-being of individuals and the well-being of society. Mehiläinen provides services through over 290 units and employs more than 11,500 healthcare and social care professionals across Finland.

Putting the customer at the heart

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

Tomi Heikkinen, Marketing Clinic, Ove Uljas, Vice President of Business Development, Marketing & Communication, Customer Experience, Fredrik Gotthardt, Marketing Clinic.

“In this tightening market situation, we were focused on short-sighted business-to-customer marketing campaigns. Our campaigns had 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.

In addition to redesigning its marketing campaigns, Mehiläinen wanted to develop the measurement of the entire customer journey from beginning to end. By not paying comprehensive attention to this, the company was unable to utilize all growth possibilities. Hence, they needed to take action immediately.

“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 to 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 Marketing Clinic defined the critical success factors, focus areas and segments in which Mehiläinen wanted to outcompete other organizations. The project brought insights from the immense Mehiläinen customer dataset to marketing strategy planning for the first time. Additionally, the project developed a scorecard for the whole customer journey. With the help of Marketing Clinic, some completely new operative marketing metrics were added to the Mehiläinen scorecard.

“Our co-operation with Marketing Clinic was inspirational from the start. We appreciate how they constantly challenged our thinking.” – Ove Uljas, Vice President, Business Development, Marketing & Communication, Customer Experience at Mehiläinen

The parties also needed to consider the proper KPI measurements right from the start — how the strategy implementation could be measured and how the 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.

Moreover, the customer marketing strategy created together with Marketing Clinic formed a solid framework for Mehiläinen to create new customer-focused marketing concepts around Mehiläinen’s existing services. The new concepts were designed to attract a diverse range of target groups. From this framework, Mehiläinen was able to develop more proactive, targeted and creative marketing communication for its services.

“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 after the implementation, positive effects were seen in even the most important metric — Mehiläinen’s market share. From Fall 2016 onward, the company’s development curves kept rising, while the overall market continued to decline.

“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 the economy in Finland in 2016, we clearly managed to increase our number of customer visits and our market share”, Uljas explains.

Indeed, in addition to the positive market share development, Mehiläinen received both more patient visits and saw growth in total customers. They also received excellent feedback on their new customer-oriented concepts.

Development of customer visits in one customer segment (60+ years). The turnaround in visits happened one month after implementing the first actions in the new marketing strategy.

“Our co-operation 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.


Team Mehiläinen with team Marketing Clinic from left to right: Tomi Heikkinen (Marketing Clinic),  Anna-Mari Urpalainen, Laura Martinsuo, Fredrik Gotthardt (Marketing Clinic), Ove Uljas, Sami Niemelä, Susanna Vainio, Mirella Girs and Hannele Sami. Missing from the photo are: Heidi Liesivesi, Taru Aspinen, Anssi Hartiala and Joona Putkonen.


In the video below, Ove Uljas from Mehiläinen talks about the project and cooperation with Marketing Clinic.

Marketing Clinic

Marketing Clinic


Marketing Clinic is the leading Nordic consultancy accelerating commercial success. We help people and businesses focus on the right things at the right time, enabling them to leave a meaningful mark on many levels. By engaging our customers’ top management in reinventing growth we create strong strategies that get implemented. Our group companies Okimo Clinic and P+SBD drive our clients’ digital transformation within marketing, sales and communication.

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