Innovara Digest: Engaging with Millennial Patients
Globally, there are over 2 billion people between the ages of 18 and 34, the range defined by Pew and others as the Millennial generation. Millennials are the largest generation in the US Labor Force and are taking over as the primary caregivers and healthcare decision-makers for their families.
We have seen that traditional rules of marketing do not apply to this age group—their preferences are vastly different than those of older age groups, as a result of growing up in a technologically-connected, information-rich world. Healthcare has lagged behind in meeting the needs of millennial patients. How can pharmaceutical marketers engage in ways that are both convincing and compliant?
This week’s Innovara Digest gives you a few ideas to get started.
Be relatable and authentic: Clearly discuss how your product will help millennial patients, using language that makes them feel comfortable. In How Should Pharma Market to Millennials, John Vieira, Executive Director of Global Brand Strategy at Daiichi Sankyo told MM&M, “One of the discerning characteristics of this audience versus others is they can smell inauthenticity real fast. And so, the challenge is, ‘How authentic are you prepared to be?’”
Emotive storytelling is one of many ways to relate to millennial patients in a way that feels authentic, not salesy. Eyeful by J&J Vision is an example of a successful blogging campaign that utilizes emotive storytelling and strikes the quirky tone that resonates with millennial patients. Recent posts include “A Definitive List of the Worst Places to Set Your Glasses”, “Singer/Songwrite Apryle Dalmacio Ditches Her Glasses for LASIK”, and “Your Glasses and Your Desk Job aren’t Friends.”
Be proactive and open-minded: Whereas pharmaceutical marketers tend to be product-focused, marketing specific treatments to specific individuals with specific conditions, millennial patients tend to be focused on total wellness. The majority favor alternatives to medication, and would rather take over-the-counter treatments than prescription medications. Gary Scheiner, EVP at GHG, advises pharmaceutical marketers to “start embracing now how to talk to them and become relevant to them—it’s going to pay dividends in the future.”
Be social and communicative: 40% of millennial patients turn to social media for health-related purposes. Joe Youssef, Digital Engagement Strategy, of Oglivy CommonHealth, makes a number of recommendations to get started:
- Create an unbranded community page or group—this allows patients to form a community around a specific condition and tell their own stories.
- Create a branded page—pharmaceutical marketers can provide information and hear patient stories regarding specific brands.
- Manage customer service via messenger and moderated comments—Youssef believes that this can be handled by AI, but you may need a human eye to ensure every message is compliant.
- Use sponsored posts—this allows you to reach a large audience. You can tweak settings to reach your target audience.
When writing posts or comments, pharmaceutical marketers must remember to remain fair balanced while staying within the character limits. When sharing information, make sure that it is from reputable, accredited sources.
Be reliable and consistent: 32% of millennials switch providers when they are dissatisfied, according to a survey conducted by the Health Industry Distributors Association (covered by Modern Healthcare). What are they looking for?
- Convenience: 43% of millennials report using an urgent-care site and 23% report using a retail health clinic in the last year. A 2015 Harris Poll found that 74% of millennial patients are interested in telehealth.
- Quality of Product: 24% commented on the age of products, and 27% reported that the quality of product did not meet their expectations
- Cost: 41% said they have postponed seeking care due to cost, and 60% use cost to evaluate a provider
HIDA’s survey reminds us that reliability begins before the visit—millennials are more than twice as likely to look for reviews before making an appointment.
Need help developing your millennial marketing strategy? Our Marketing Academy courses have you covered, from strategy to execution.