Health and wellness marketing beyond COVID-19
Before Coronavirus enveloped our lives, the estimated value of the global health and wellness market was in excess of $4.2 trillion. While the market showed no sign of slowing down pre-pandemic, recent events will provide even more stimulus. The health and wellness category will continue to grow, and more consumers will participate in it. Which means health and wellness marketing should benefit from an even more interested and vested audience.
The momentum of health and wellness
Who knew that consumer staples like hand sanitizer, soap, cleaning wipes and other household essentials would become the new must-have products. But even beforehand, we were already paying more attention to, and spending more money on, our personal health and wellness. According to Mintel, 77% of U.S. adults report that they are, “actively trying to improve their health in some way.”
For many of us – motivated by lifestyle-related illness, rising healthcare costs, social media wellness influencers and increasing health-consciousness – we’ve evolved our thinking about healthcare as an isolated episode for an injury or chronic illness, to a daily, conscious pursuit of better physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. While this interest spans demographic boundaries, it binds us all together by a state of mind and a take charge “self-care” approach to living life that’s becoming mainstream.
For Active Health & Wellness Explorers (a Trajectory-coined term), health and wellness isn’t just something that’s practiced, it’s who these people are. And depending upon the research, they account for between 45-50% of American consumers. Health is more than periodic preventative care, prescriptions and pills. Rather, it’s about everyday habits that help to create better states of health.
For millennials and Gen X, their health and wellness lifestyle habits include a combination of physical activity, bolstering spiritual and mental health and smarter/cleaner eating. And for boomers, it’s about making smarter choices about health, wellness and nutrition that will help them to live longer and realize their full potential. Common across demographic segments is that self-care has become a part of their identities.
Covid-19 impact on health and wellness marketing
We’ve come to appreciate (thanks to the pandemic) the essential role many consumer products play in our daily lives, as things we took for granted became precious. But amidst the continued anxiety and stress, and beyond the urgency of the pandemic – we think the health and wellness bar (and therefore the health and wellness marketing bar) will rise for many products and product categories as we take a more holistic approach to our overall health and wellness.
What it means for your brand
Recent events (pandemic and societal) have transformed expectations and reshaped priorities. Most of us are feeling anxious, uncertain and kind of scared. Going forward, it will be important for brands to not only stake their place as partners to their consumers’ physical health and wellness journey – but their emotional, mental and spiritual health journey. This means striving for meaning in your consumers’ lives, e.g.
- acknowledging, responding & adapting to prevailing conditions
- doing so in an authentic and transparent manner
- finding shared values that resonate with customers
- engaging in relevant ways
- promoting conversation
- building community
The more brands can contribute to the above, the more they can help those looking for a better way to live their lives.
Implications for marketing tactics
Here are some ways that health and wellness marketing teams can respond to the above consumer priorities and stay out ahead of competition:
- Content & Search. Google searches for health and related subjects will increase exponentially, as we continue to become better informed individuals who seek, digest and analyze information on health issues. As such, continuous streams of targeted SEO-optimized content will be important to maintaining brand relevance. For Trajectory client ID Care (the largest infectious disease practice on the East Coast), our ongoing content development is instrumental to their efforts.
- Sources of Health Information. More and more people are turning to digital platforms to understand their health problems and concerns. Physicians are no longer their go-to-resource. Google, as mentioned above, remains the No. 1 destination for health queries. But, interestingly, medical websites, hospital websites, physician and medical practice websites and social channels like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are also credible destinations for health and wellness information, statistics and opinions.
- Building Credibility & Trust. People don’t trust a brand that isn’t proven when it comes to their health and wellness. As sound as your marketing program may be, your own words may not cut it for your prospective customers. The results and experiences of others carry more weight. Which means that patient testimonials and patient reviews of how your brand transformed a person’s life are important credibility-building tactics to help build trust and trial. For health and wellness marketers, consider all means possible to help patients share their experiences and results – whether online or in-person.
- Trigger-based Email Marketing. Email marketing is a helpful tactic when you need to make sure that current and prospective customers get the right information they need at the right time. And now has never been a more important time. A personalized approach means using targeting techniques along with strategies like email automation to be quick and precise with your content delivery. Personalized and targeted content can increase both click-through and conversion rates by 14% and 10% respectively. Source: campaignmonitor.com.
- Telemedicine & Virtual Care. Patient acceptance and physician cooperation have been fast-forwarded. Doctors and nurses want newer ways to treat patients, and with social distancing a universal norm, patients will insist on new technologies that don’t force them to visit hospitals or clinics. So, telemedicine and virtual care is here to stay.
- Health and Wellness Practitioner Practices. The services of spas, salons, rehab, chiropractic, etc. have always been personal and physical in nature. Their very existence is based on (today’s tenuous idea of) touch. But we still need to physically feel good, grounded, confident and empowered. While home self-care may become more popular, passionate practitioners and committed customers will still connect, though the interface between them will likely change. Online bookings, self-check-ins, automatic payments, and other such features will serve to eliminate unnecessary touch-interactions.
While the health and wellness market was growing steadily before COVID-19, wellness becomes more important than ever in difficult times like these. Which means heightened receptivity to wellness marketing. But brands need to be sensitive to people’s needs – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social – in order to cut through the noise and make their intended impact. We hope these tips will help.
Since 1999, our New Jersey marketing agency Trajectory has worked side-by-side with health and wellness marketing and leadership teams to help their brands rise above the noise and grow better business. Reach out for a risk-free consultation.