Millennials represent the future of healthcare. Medical marketers need to be sure they can speak to this vital audience in a language they understand.
By 2020, Millennials will be the largest generation in American history. With $600 billion in current purchasing power, this age group — made up of people born in the final two decades of the 20th century — is a commercial, digital juggernaut that medical marketers need to be prepared to handle.
So how can healthcare industry professionals market to a generation that came of age during economic catastrophe, the War on Terror, and fast-paced technological change? It starts by clarifying common misconceptions about the ways Millennials research, receive, and perceive healthcare.
Myth #1: Millennials Feel They Don’t Need to Engage with the Healthcare Industry
Despite claims that Millennials are radically different than any preceding generation, they have at least one thing in common with the rest of us: they’re going to age. No level of digital savvy can change the fact that Millennials will require treatments for the sames stresses, strains, and diseases as their parents and grandparents.
Furthermore, a sizable 20% of millennials provide financial support to a parent. Not only will Millennials be tapping into the healthcare industry to find care for themselves, they’ll be engaging with medical professionals to secure care for their families. For medical marketers hoping to reach this growing audience, it’s vital to target Millennials in a way that mirrors the gravity of the decisions they’ll be making for their parents and children.
Myth #2: Millennials Are Social Media Zombies Who Lack Critical Thinking Skills
While Millennials are undeniably tapped into social media, their familiarity with the digital landscape means that they have a keen eye for the untrustworthy. After all, Millennials were the first generation to receive school training on how to behave online, who to trust, and what websites to avoid.
Medical marketers who want to bridge the trust gap between Millennials and online content should be conscientious about how they’re reaching their target audience. While social media influencers have a wide reach, Millennials are aware that they take money to feature sponsored products, so they’re not going to use your service just because someone they follow on Instagram does. Instead, you have to convince them.
Myth #3: Millennials Are Over-Reliant on Emerging Technology
Medical marketers might have an idea of Millennials as hopelessly hooked on technology. But in reality, they’re technologically savvy digital citizens who have managed to adapt to whatever Silicon Valley throws at them. Marketers who want to appeal to Millennials should leverage the generation’s technological saturation in order to make the best case for their product or service.
For example, Biem is an app and wider service that connects users with sexual health professionals to talk about their concerns and receive necessary tests. The service has been such a success because it presents itself as an easy-to-use smartphone solution to a common problem: taking care of your sexual health.
Myth #4: Millennials Don’t Trust Medical Professionals
Although it’s true that only a minority of Millennials think that doctors are the best source to go to for medical advice, their reasoning is more nuanced than you might expect.
It’s not that Millennials think that medical professionals don’t know what they’re talking about, but that Millennials have become interested in finding and reading healthcare literature for themselves. With numerous studies available through simple search engine queries and medical marketing information easily accessible, Millennials expect to be treated as equals when meeting with doctors. They’re looking to form partnerships with physicians in which their research and opinions are heard and respected, rather than blindly trusting doctors despite reviews and information they’ve found online.
Myth #5: Millennials Don’t Know How To Get the Information They Need
It’s a common misconception that Millennials aren’t clued into current developments in the healthcare industry that may affect their health. On the contrary, Millennials are adept researchers who have grown up in tandem with increasingly sophisticated search engines. If there’s information out there that can help them make key medical decisions, this generation is going to find it.
For medical marketers, this means that it’s essential that your company’s literature is accessible, intuitive, and helpful. If Millennials can’t find your content or if it’s difficult to make heads or tails of, they’ll quickly find someone else that can give them what they need. Make sure that your online presence is optimized for searches and that it’s easy to use on mobile platforms.
Myth #6: Millennials Are Suckers For Corporate Activism
Millennials appreciate businesses that strive to make a positive impact in the world, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do their research into your product, service, or wider industry reputation just because you donate regularly to charitable causes. As Pfizer’s pricing practices have come under fire on social media, especially from Doctors Without Borders, it’s not enough to appear to be a good-faith actor in the world. Indeed, Millennials expect businesses that talk the talk to walk the walk. Medical marketers intent on reaching this generation need to be sure that their organizations’ business practices match marketing rhetoric — otherwise Millennials might raise the alarm.