Who are Millennials, why is it important to market your health services to them, and how is marketing to Millennials different than marketing to other generations?
When marketing your healthcare services, it's important to consider generational traits and attitudes of each age group, so that you can target your messaging to the unique perspectives and life experience of the health consumers within your target age range(s). Generational differences impact how your messaging is received and perceived by prospective patients.
Therefore, it's most effective to craft your messaging accordingly and customize it for the target age range and generation whether that's Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, or Gen Z.
Depending upon the services and products you offer, Millennials, who were born between 1981 and 1996, are currently the largest segment of the population at 22%, and therefore they will likely comprise a significant, growing portion of your target audience as they approach middle-age.
Millennials have Different Priorities, Concerns, and Perspectives about their Health as Compared to Other Generations.
Research reveals that Millennials do not consider their health status in the same way as Boomers or Gen-Xers do. According to research by New Hope Network, Millennials rank fact-based health measures (BMI, weight, BP, etc.) as least important to assessing their health, whereas Boomers and Gen X find fact-based stats to be the most important aspect when considering their health status.
When Millennials assess their health and wellness, they prioritize what they are experiencing and how they are feeling physically and emotionally. Do they feel fatigued or depressed? Or do they feel energized and happy? Millennials are much more concerned with how they feel than they are about the number on the scale, for example.
Additionally, the New Hope research found that generally, Millennials are not as innately trusting of the conventional healthcare system as Boomers and Gen Z are. About 51% of Millennials trust the healthcare system, as compared to 55% of Gen Z and 71% of Baby Boomers. This is important because it exemplifies why it's important for your messaging to be authentic and consistent, to continue building trust.
Furthermore, Millennials are actually more concerned about their health than their elders - 69% of Millennials report thinking about their health daily, as compared to just 55% of Boomers. Millennials are more likely than other generations to visit an ER or an urgent care, and to use telemedicine, according to the Health Action Council. Additionally, behavioral health and women's health services are frequently utilized by Millennials. Millennials are more likely to struggle with a substance abuse issue, and to spend more money on fertility services than their predecessors.
Marketing Strategies for Millennials
Top Tech is a Must
As the first generation of digital natives, Millennials are much more reliant upon technology when making healthcare decisions than Gen X or Baby Boomers.
According to Business News Daily, the top communication / interaction methods for Millennials starting with the most favored are:
1. Text messaging
3. Social media
4. Phone calls
5. In person / Face-to-face
Therefore, technology will play an especially important role in your marketing and messaging strategy for Millennials, including social media, digital marketing, and patient communication technology such as online appointment scheduling, text messaging appointment reminders, etc.
To engage Millennials effectively, you'll need a strong online and digital presence with quality content on the social media platforms most utilized by Millennials. Social media trends can be fickle, but as of 2023, Millennials spend most of their time on the platforms that emphasize visual content: TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and SnapChat, as opposed to Boomers and Gen X who tend to be more active on Facebook and Twitter, for example.
Social media influencers also play a significant role in capturing Millennials' attention and impacting their buying decisions, including those related to health and wellness. For example, Mommy Bloggers, Fashion Influencers, Health and Fitness gurus, etc. who have amassed large social media followings will post about a brand or service for a fee, but it can be costly. If it's in your budget, and if it makes sense strategically (e.g. there is alignment with their followers and your target audience), then collaborating with a social media influencer could be an effective part of your health marketing strategy.
Millennials' interest in visual content extends to streaming services and TV as well. According to Insider Intelligence, 74% of Millennials consume the majority of their video content via streaming services. Additionally, 21% of Millennials consume the majority of their video content via Cable TV or Network TV. If you're not including TV and streaming advertising in your marketing plan, you could be missing out on a huge segment of Millennial consumers.
Highlight Convenience & Accessibility
To capture the attention of the Millennial market, your services need to be highly convenient, and your practice must be easily accessible and interactive online. This includes scheduling and communication, but also telemedicine, if telemed is possible and applicable to your type of practice. Mobile-friendly platforms and apps that provide quick access to information and services will also help you appeal to Millennial health consumers.
Offer Transparency & Personalization
Millennials are savvy consumers who are adept and experienced at deciphering brand messaging. They can see through flowery language, phony fluff, or over-stated promises. Being realistic and authentic is important for engaging Millennials - they simply want to know the basic facts about your health services right up front:
- What problem will you solve for them?
- How will you solve it?
- Why should they trust you?
- How much it will cost?
- How do they sign up to get started?
Cost transparency is essential because Millennials tend to be more cost-conscious about healthcare decisions because their health care is costing more on average than that of previous generations.
If there is any way to personalize your messaging and/or customize your health services to offer unique experiences based on the health consumers' specific needs and preferences, this can be another way to get the attention of Millennials, as they are very experiential. Millennials value feeling "seen and heard" as an individual, so any way your messaging can communicate that is helpful in engaging Millennial health consumers.
Communicating Effectively with Millennials - Clear & Concise Messaging Builds Trust
As mentioned above, visual content is key for effective communication and storytelling. User-generated content is also important to build trust that Millennials are often lacking when it comes to healthcare systems and services. Online reviews and ratings are also great for building trust, as are case studies and success stories that showcase innovative approaches and measurable outcomes your health programs have produced for other patients.
A few more key tips for marketing to Millennial health consumers:
Engage Millennials through Community and Causes
- Promote community involvement and social impact initiatives - Millennials are drawn to brands with a purpose.
- Align your organization's messaging with millennial values, such as sustainability and social responsibility.
- Host wellness events and workshops to foster engagement and experiential learning.
Maintain Trust by Overcoming Any Potential Barriers and Concerns Millennials May Have
- Address privacy and data security concerns by ensuring all PHI is protected, and that you've communicated your data policies clearly.
- Provide educational resources on healthcare insurance and coverage options.
- Offer incentives and rewards to encourage regular healthcare visits.
As the largest segment of the population, Millennials have a
huge impact on the overall success of your practice. Millennials do not respond
to the same messaging that may have worked in the past for engaging health
consumers who are part of the Baby Boomer generation or Gen X.
Devoting at least part of your health marketing strategy to specifically engaging health consumers in the Millennial generation is key to growing your practice and increasing revenue.