Healthcare marketers are very familiar with the importance of targeting baby boomer women with branding and service line messages designed to build awareness and preference as well as drive referrals. In many cases, these same women are also influencing the healthcare decisions of others in their households and active caregivers of young children and aging parents. This makes them a prime target audience for planning media buys, developing online content and hosting community healthcare events.
However, a younger cohort of women are the next generation of healthcare purchasers, and unlike the generations ahead of them, they view healthcare services and accessing health information, very differently.
A recent consumer healthcare study conducted by Klein & Partners illustrates some of the distinct differences in how these two groups think about healthcare.
In segmenting female respondents into two age groups, younger women (those under 40) appear to be:
- Twice as likely to trust a family member or friend to navigate the new healthcare system under reform
- Twice as likely to prefer e-mail as a form of communication for scheduling an appointment
- Twice as likely to switch primary care doctors if that doctor didnâ€™t allow access to medical records online
- Three times as likely to have visited an independent healthcare rating organization’s website to learn what hospitals or doctors were rated highly or not
- Three times as likely to have watched a video online on a healthcare topic or medical procedure or surgery
- Four times as likely to have looked up health symptoms on a smart phone
- Almost five times as likely not to have a primary care or personal physician yet
- Six times as likely to have used a smart phone to research a health topic and schedule a doctorâ€™s appointment
- Six times more likely to have visited an online social network to learn more about some healthcare topic of interest
- Eight times more likely to prefer texting as a form of communication about a specific medical condition or symptom
While some of these differences may be life stage related and opinions can be expected to evolve as the women age, itâ€™s clear these women are also maturing in a world distinctly different as far as healthcare choice, technology adoption and provider relationships. Healthcare marketers would be wise to dig deeper into how best to communicate with this younger generation to form lasting relationships with healthcare brands.
Executive Vice President, Neathawk Dubuque & Packett
Daniel Fell is executive vice president of Neathawk Dubuque & Packett, a national healthcare marketing firm, where he oversees the agencyâ€™s digital marketing group. He is also an author, frequent presenter on healthcare marketing topics, and former board member of the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.twitter.com/danfell.