Engaging Millennials Through Healthcare Marketing
Sharing this article from December 7, 2020 NJBIZ – A MILLENNIAL CONNECTION: Health care providers are going digital to reach a big segment. Whether hospital marketing or marketing a medical practice, the NJBIZ article includes good tips to keep in mind for healthcare marketing to the millennials. I had the opportunity to be included in the article, as Trajectory does a lot of branding in healthcare as well as healthcare marketing and specifically, digital marketing for healthcare – locally and across the nation.
The Millennials Marketing Opportunity
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that hospitals need to connect with Millennials. After all, at more than 72 million strong, the cohort has overtaken the Baby Boomer generation as the nation’s largest population group by age. But there’s a challenge: medical care doesn’t resonate with Millennials – generally considered those born from 1981 to 1996 – the way it did for their parents.
“It’s important for healthcare providers to connect with Millennials because [the oldest] are pushing 40, and that’s when their risk factors increase;’ said Cedar Wang, vice president of Holy Name Medical Center’s nursing operations and a nurse practitioner. “There tends to be a big gap once they left their pediatrician, and the Millennial generation often hasn’t had much contact with a primary care physician since then. And that often means they haven’t controlled conditions like obesity, which can lead to diabetes and other complications.”
Instead of periodic checkups and other preventative care, they’re more likely to wait until something goes wrong and then seek out a clinic, an urgent care center or other walk-in facility. “I think it’s because they’re grown up surrounded by technology and are used to instant gratification,” she added.”Instead of a continuing relationship with a PCP, they’re more likely to find a provider on the internet, or through social media.”
Holy Name’s Dive Into Digital Communications
To reach this group, Holy Name has made a deep dive into digital communications. “We leverage direct-to-consumer marketing, including Facebook, Instagram and other social media”, Wang noted. “We’re also reaching them with digital ads on platforms like Spotify and Pandora.”
To meet the demand for same-day appointments and other conveniences, “we’ve expanded our telemedicine activities”, said Wang. “It’s perfect for Millennials who want to be able to use their mobile phones for just about everything.”
These and other efforts are working, she noted, adding that the pandemic has also accelerated the move to digital medical delivery. “Since the pandemic started, we’ve had more than 25,000 telemedicine contacts, with about 5,000 representing new patients – many of whom did not previously connect with a PCP.”
The pivot to digital forced the hospital to rethink its strategy. “It was a kind of refresh, where we saw we had to reach out to this segment in a different way;’ she added. “We’re continuing to add new outreach programs, like a mobile educational lab that connects throughout the community and offers advice on a variety of issue, from social distancing to doing self-breast examinations. We’re also teaching hair salon employees to look for signs of melanoma in their customers’ scalp’s.”
Holy Name has also been approved to administer a clinical trial for a new COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sanofi and GSK, according to Wang. “One of the targets in this trial will be Millennials;’ she added.”To reach them in this and other programs, we will continue to leverage social media, search engine optimization (SEO), blogs and podcasts and other platforms.”
Trajectory’s Healthcare Marketing To Millennials
As president of Trajectory – a hybrid brand consultancy/creative agency with a focus on health and wellness – Eric Brody has mounted multiple Millennial-oriented healthcare marketing campaigns. “You have to understand a context that’s common to that generation;’ he advised. “They’ve grown up with a unique set of challenges – including recessions, debt, climate change and other disruptors – and they tend to be skeptical of brands and want to see transparency. At the same time, thanks to technology, millennials grew up with massive amounts of information at their fingertips, so they’re quick to do their own research and come to their own decisions:’
Among other clients, Trajectory developed a marketing campaign (alongside development of a new website) for an East Coast-based women’s health services practice “with a Millennial sweet spot,” Brody noted. “Instead of a traditional ad campaign, we advised our specialty medical practice client to align with the Millennial belief system: support them, don’t lecture them. We also integrated mobile, social and digital outreach, while continuing to pay attention to SEO’.’
Ultimately, he said, traffic to the women’s health services’ website “was up more than 50%; new prospective patients also rose more than 50%; and searches for them were up more than 25%. Conversion goal completion [which includes filling out an online form, or other direct connections like calling the practice] was up more than 20%.
Brody and his team also advise clients that “influencers are important, so it’s a good idea to integrate patient reviews and testimonials that talk about the value of the services and the quality of the entire patient experience – before, during and after procedures and other encounters. Content interests Millennials, and if you make it share able, it’ll be important to their friends too.”
Valley Health System Experience
A number of healthcare institutions have recognized the challenges and opportunities associated with Millennial connections and are taking action. “It is an absolute challenge, but one we need to tackle;’ noted Danielle Fabrizio, a Millennial, parent and Health Education Supervisor and Thrive Coordinator at Valley Health System.
Thrive is a free program that encourages women “of all ages to take charge of their wellness, improve the health of their families;’ according to a Valley announcement. “I find they – myself included if I am being honest – aren’t willing to take the time for preventative health – including annual physicals, dental visits, and health screenings – and obviously, preventative health is an important part of self-care and living well,” she said. “So, it is important for us as a healthcare organization to target this population.”
To help connect with Millennials, Valley is ramping up its digital marketing presence. “This is what interests and engages this age group, so healthcare organizations need to be up to speed on social network platforms and the ways to use them to get their messages out;’ she said.”Our community health department has also put together a number of amazing Virtually Valley videos with our providers, which are all posted on our website. Valley also has a really great, user-friendly new website, which I think is a huge win for us.”
The Thrive women’s program highlights Valley’s focus on Millennial moms, she added. “Around 2017, Thrive started hosting free ‘Mommy & Me’ programs for moms and their little ones, and they were a huge success;’ according to Fabrizio. “With all that has happened in 2020, we have not been able to host any, however we are planning our first virtual Mommy & Me this month and I could not be more excited for it. Thrive also hosts other programs targeting moms/ parents that can be found on our website.”
Fabrizio just returned from her second maternity leave, “and I am hitting the ground running with our Thrive program;’ she noted.”Of course, we are hosting every thing virtually, but we are hosting our virtual Mommy & Me and I am working on a Mommy & Me walking group for January to get everyone moving – virtually of course. I am absolutely satisfied with the results we have had in the short time we did host these programs, and I look forward to continuing the growth of these programs.”
A South Jersey Approach To Millennial Connections
The Millennial age group “is important to our region’s culture, economy, and workforce,” according to lnspira Health President and CEO Amy Mansue. “The growth of South Jersey’s young adult population continues to climb, making the Millennials the largest generational group in the region. In other words, Millennials will be influencing and leading decisions in South Jersey through 2060, at minimum. In 2020, this generational cohort comprises 50% of the American workforce and by 2025 Millennials are anticipated to be 75% of the global workforce.”
More than three years ago, lnspira formed an employee Millennial Advisory Committee. “They meet regularly with our senior leaders to offer insight into lnspira’s growth strategies, as well as how to position lnspira as the employer of choice for their peers,” said Mansue. At the committee’s October meeting – the first one for Mansue, who joined lnspira in September – “the members’ input was invaluable to our plan for expanding our ‘DigitalFront Door t o lnspira,’ which we define as our website, our app and our patient portal” she said. “We adapted their ideas for functionality and promotion. For example, the expanded use of QR codes [Quick Response, which can be read by a smart phone] for easy downloads,” in addition to talks about “how we can enhance our features in the future for an improved user experience.”
With Millennials in mind, lnspira also fashioned a new website that’s easier to navigate and “designed to help everyone find exactly what they need, whether that’s scheduling an appointment, finding a doctor, or refilling a prescription through our new Mylnspira Pharmacy,” she added. “More than any other age group, we know that Millennials expect to be able to manage nearly every element of their lives online and through their mobile devices. Our new app provides next generation access and engagement with lnspira’s providers, facilities, and services. And, by using the app, millennials can connect with their physicians, use the ‘online check-in’ feature for our urgent care centers, and even conduct a COVID-19 symptom self assessment.”
lnspira also acted on other Millennial Advisory Committee recommendations, such as one for enhanced bedside amenities. “We now have mini fridges in every maternity room,” according to Mansue. “And our Millennial Committee members request edextended hours at our 11 urgent care centers -we’re now piloting opening an hour earlier at one of our locations and looking into extending hours at more locations.The committee also expressed a desire for transparency in pricing. We’re currently conducting a competitive survey to identify opportunities within pricing, hours of operation, and more.”
NJBIZ December 7, 2020
If you’re a healthcare or wellness marketing executive trying to engage Millennial consumers, reach out to New Jersey marketing agency Trajectory for a no-obligation consultation.