When part of your marketing strategy is targeting Millennials, do you let out a long sigh? No one can blame you. Although marketers in other industries are shifting their focus to GenZ, healthcare is still learning a lot about how Millennials are making choices about their health. The are officially the largest age demographic in the country, and their healthcare needs vary greatly within their age group.
So what is most important to consider when developing a marketing strategy to reach this influential age group? First and foremost, remember that the oldest Millennials are approaching 40. There is a common notion of carefree 20-somethings that leads marketers astray from the older Millennials that have established jobs and families. While we can make certain educated assumptions based on age, this generation is seeing different trends in terms of stages of life. For instance, a 32-year-old woman with no children has vastly different health priorities than a 28-year-old man with two kids.
Another unfortunate but true characteristic of this generation is they they have vastly more debt than their GenX and Boomer predecessors. Student loans, skyrocketing rent prices and credit card debt all contribute to Millennials possibly foregoing healthcare expenses due to inability to pay. Their out-of-pocket expenses may also be disproportionately higher because many do not have employer-sponsored health insurance. The cost of healthcare has grown faster than inflation during the lifetime of Millennials. So, unsurprisingly, they are looking for other models of payment and ways to make sure there is greater value for service. Roughly 41% of Millennials request a cost estimate before undergoing treatment. They increasingly rely on urgent care and walk-in clinics and, somewhat paradoxically, don’t partake in preventive care even though they consider quality of life an essential part of their attitude toward their own health.
What are the top things marketers can do in order for their advertising message to resonate with Millennials?
- Focus on Promoting Wellness – Fortune magazine reports that millennials don’t define health as simply the absence of disease. They are more holistic in their personal health philosophy and regard mental health, exercise and nutrition as highly important in their well being.
- Be an information provider – Millennials often suffer from decision paralysis. They do a ton of research on their own prior to a visit – sometimes with no regard for the the credibility of the information source. Providers have a unique opportunity to be a trusted and trustworthy source of healthcare information and a partner in the decision-making process.
- Show your providers are capable of teamwork – In addition to doing online research, they are crowdsourcing information from friends and family. Recognize that they may be distrustful of doctors and show that you can help make sense of the myriad sources of information without judgement, and you’ll arrive at a solution together.
- Be boastful about your technology – The out-of-office experience is just as important as the in-office atmosphere. Do you have online appointment booking? Do you offer telemedicine services? Are your doctors responsive? These are all aspects that Millennials have come to expect in their lifetime as consumers, and they do not see how healthcare should be any different.
These tactics are applicable at the scale of a large hospital system all the way to a neighborhood family physician clinic. Taking time to figure out how to speak to your audience, millennial or otherwise, will pay off in the long run.