Healthcare marketing and the rise of the active wellness consumer
Healthcare Marketing’s Future
For traditional healthcare providers and healthcare marketing teams, the future should be coming into view. Healthcare and wellness industry lines are blurring and the race to capture the minds and hearts of steadily-growing wellness-seeking consumers are underway. For healthcare marketing to cut through the noise and compel people to pay attention (meaning general awareness-building healthcare advertising and not episodic or required specialty-care advertising), messaging must touch upon people’s desire to be well and acknowledge their increasingly active role in this pursuit.
Macro-Factors Driving Wellness
Several macro factors are changing how American consumers think about health:
- The aging population and the desire to stay healthy and participate fully in life
- Coping with demands and rigors of modern lifestyles
- Rising health care costs demanding more proactive measures
- Technology as an enabler of our health and wellness
- Mindfully managing health to proactively prevent problems by looking to natural means, e.g. food, exercise, sleep, stress management
Here are some wellness-related trends that healthcare marketing teams need to consider:
Optimizing our health in pursuit of a higher quality of life (of embracing wellness) is on the rise. As such, the “wellness” market is booming, growing into a $3.4 trillion industry that has surpassed the pharma industry. The Global Wellness Institute predicts that more Americans will continue to turn to alternative and preventative health measures, as sky-high US healthcare costs are forecast to rise 5.8% every year until 2025.
Seeing that spending more on traditional healthcare doesn’t necessarily equal better health, people are taking the matter in their own hands. We’re adapting a 360-degree, holistic view of health that emphasizes balance in mind, body and spirit and living well in all aspects of life every day. Combining mental health, sleeping well, stress management, exercise and eating well, organic movement throughout the day as well as community, as people are now seeing relationships also as a key part of wellness.
Integrating Values Into Healthcare Marketing
Wellness consumers also want to know a brand’s story. They want to know why companies are doing what they are doing and how they’re making a difference in the world. Not only do consumers want to know the story behind a brand, if they support that story, they are also willing to become active brand ambassadors.
Search for Harmony and Purpose
Research from healthcare provider Dignity Health revealed that 64% of millennials participate in pursuits of mindfulness through yoga, meditation and journaling, vs. 9% of baby boomers. And even among millennials who aren’t actively seeking mindfulness, 93% said they were ‘trying to be more mindful’.
Health tracking continues to gain traction with its definition expanding beyond wearable devices to apps that explore DNA testing, manage sleep, and monitor bodily rhythms. A growing number of people are interested in learning about alternative health therapies and treatments stemming from evolution and nature in lieu of quick fixes. Finally, a greater number of dialogues around emotional openness, empathy, and acceptance are taking place compared to those centered on the physical body.
The desire to embrace wellness and connect with values-driven brands is a trend that spans demographics. It’s more about values and less about specific stages of life. People in general are really hungry to feel better and to live a happier life. Brands that will have the biggest impact (including traditional healthcare providers) are ones that will make it accessible to more people to live a balanced life in mind, body and soul.
Action Steps For Healthcare Marketing
Here are four steps that healthcare marketing teams can do immediately to begin to integrate broader health and wellness marketing strategies into their activities:
- Keep your eyes open for ways to extend the boundaries and ability of your organization to deliver on the physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions of wellness.
- Explore ways to integrate digital strategies into your physical world to give patients the ability to expand their preventative health efforts (particularly for millennials who want solutions that emphasize simplicity, personalization and rapid response; whenever, however and wherever they choose).
- Think more broadly about your service line healthcare marketing efforts (how to enhance them to deliver more value and how to communicate them) to encompass the multiple dimensions of wellness. Consider how to uniquely bring about positive change by advising, facilitating, problem solving, educating, etc.
- Continue to look outside the industry for inspiration about how to enhance patient experience and streamline operations (e.g. to hospitality, retail, air travel). Speaking of air travel, Tim Mapes, Delta’s SVP Marketing states “staying really close to customers and looking at how their needs are constantly evolving disallows any kind of respect for the status quo.”
Since 1999, our specialist branding and marketing agency has combined healthcare and wellness industry expertise with outside category inspiration to grow the trajectory of our client’s brands. Reach out for a brand-building conversation.