Consumer trend-spotters are noticing several behavior patterns influencing retail-sectors, and health care marketers should take note. These trends are bound to affect how consumers search for and use health care.
Health audiences want frank and open conversations with brands about how they can get well and be well. Traditional branding efforts should evoke honest dialogue: more real life instead of make-believe. Health systems can’t be skittish about engaging prospective patients and caregivers. This means more online communications, like straight talk via blogs and open door conversations via social media
2. DIY health
Health audiences want tools for bettering their health and wellness. Increasingly, these tools are digital. This trend dovetails one of the tenets of the Affordable Care Act: keeping patients well and out of the hospital.
3. Celebrating aging
As health audiences grow older, they don’t want to feel, look or act old, and reward the brands that celebrate aging. Because older adults today don’t view their age as a barrier to youth or vitality as did generations prior, health care brands can benefit from their willingness to actively seek out medical treatments that keep them on the go.
4. Men evolving
Men are now an emerging health audience. Developing strategies that engage guys will attract more service line volume. With the Great Recession, one in five men are unemployed; as a consequence, men are sharing more of the household responsibilities— including managing the family’s health care. Traditional masculine roles are in the decline, allowing men to be more comfortable engaging in activities once alien to them—like health care decision-making.
Health audiences are increasingly getting their information and entertainment from “small screens”—PCs, mobile phones and tablets, so adjust your media plans accordingly.
- 91 percent of all smart phone users have their phones within arm’s reach 24/7
- 70 percent of all mobile searches result in action within one hour. 70 percent of online searches result in action in one month.
6. Gurus everywhere
Health audiences have access to all kinds of information—having it make sense and be relevant is the challenge. Develop strategies for curating content and sharing with health audiences so your brand can be the trusted source. Health care brands must play the role of gurus: sifting and filtering information and sharing it in ways that don’t overwhelm audiences.