According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, there are about 40 million adult family caregivers in the United States, and roughly one in four are millennials.1 Defined as those born as early as 1980 through 2004 (a typical reference point is 1982–2000, as defined by the U.S. Census), millennials have confounded marketers with their unique preferences when consuming content and interacting with brands. Now that this generation is arriving in force in the caregiver universe, pharma marketers need to adjust their approach if they wish to engage this vital and growing audience.

There are many topics to consider when targeting millennials—too many to cover here—but some basic tenets can be followed. Here are four important thoughts to keep top of mind when contemplating brand messaging that targets millennial caregivers.

Millennials are visual. Social media platforms like Instagram and SnapChat boast that more than 80% of users are millennials. YouTube Insights2 claims that millennials prefer YouTube to other social platforms (including Facebook and Twitter) when they want to learn more about a product or service, and that search volume relevant to the video topic increases by a factor of four immediately after a video view. To engage the millennial caregiver, pharma brands must move away from heavy ad copy toward visual elements, infographics, and (most of all) video.

Millennials are mobile. 92% of millennials own a smartphone,3 and nearly 25% use their smartphone as their only internet access.4 To engage with millennial caregivers, mobile-friendly content is a must for pharma marketers. Developing content suitable for mobile consumption (think video and video advertising, social media content, and “skimmable” prose) will place pharma brands front and center in millennials’ online lives.

Millennials crave authenticity. Millennials love to generate content, and they love consuming user-generated content (UGC). Understanding that millennials are much more likely to believe a review written by a complete stranger over branded ad copy is key to engaging with them.5 Pharma brands must find ways to embrace UGC in their marketing mixes.

Millennials are diverse. The millennial generation is the most diverse generation in American history (at least until Gen Z comes of age), with more than 44% of its population consisting of racial and ethnic minorities.6 Pharma marketers need to understand and embrace this diversity. Pharma marketers must think of the “millennial caregiver” not as a monolithic figure, but rather as a series of persons with diverse backgrounds, needs, and cultural sensitivities. Developing personas that represent each of these diverse millennial caregivers can be an effective tool when developing content for millennial caregiver audiences.


1. AARP Public Policy Institute. “Millennials: The Emerging Generation of Family Caregivers.” Accessed October 4, 2018.

2. YouTube Insights, Q1 2014. Accessed October 4, 2018.

3. Pew Research Center. “Millennials Stand Out for their Technology Use, But Older Generations Also Embrace Digital Life.” Accessed October 4, 2018.

4. Pew Research Center. “Declining Majority of Online Adults Say the Internet Has Been Good for Society.” Accessed October 4, 2018.

5. “The Consumer Content Report: Influence in the Digital Age.” Accessed October 4, 2018.

6. Brookings Institution. “Diversity Defines the Millennial Generation.” Accessed October 4, 2018.

  • Don Feiler

    Don Feiler is Partner/Chief Digital Officer at Calcium. Don brings a wealth of experience scoping, designing, creating, and deploying online applications and multimedia for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. He has worked with Merck, Pfizer, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Janssen, and many others over the course of his 20-year career.


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