Marketing to Millennials: New Clues to Connecting with the “Worried Well”


Panorama by on November 18th, 2014

How do you market conventional healthcare solutions to a self-diagnosing generation that wants a DIY approach? Start with the right context.

Millennials, the coveted 18- to 32-year-old demographic, have been characterized as the “worry generation,” and they are coming to health and wellness brands with new expectations and new challenges. Brands that will succeed will help them in their quest for health by providing passionate and personalized solutions that benefit their overly stressed lifestyles.

Insights into How Millennials View Healthcare

In our recent report, “Millennial Mindset: The Worried Well,” GSW, Allidura and Harris Poll found that this newest group of healthcare consumers is convinced that healthcare is a system that isn’t put in place to maintain their health, but rather, to patch it up when it’s not functioning properly using an increasingly costly Band-Aid. For this generation, the question seems to be not who can help me but what can help me.

In lieu of scheduling regular check-ups with physicians, millennials are experimenting with health cleanses, organic food trends and high-profile workout routines. They are viewing their physical health as a factor that is intricately tied in with their mental health. To them, if they are happy, they are healthy. The critical role that happiness plays in the health of this generation cannot be understated. Almost all millennials (97%) say that being happy is important to them, and 95% say the same about being healthy.

Millennials are envisioning health and wellness from a brand new perspective. As a generation that has become more inclined to go on YouTube than to watch cable television, the scope of today’s healthcare marketing endeavors need to be more accurately targeted and cater to these contemporary needs.

Examples of Successful Marketing Tactics

Brands that will triumph will need to create inventive solutions that will strategically seek to reach this increasingly influential audience. By providing streaming-only services that will cater to the appetites of these cord-cutters, the cable heavyweight, HBO, has already braced for this dynamic shift by adjusting how they offer their services. But when it comes to healthcare marketing for this generation, a success will look more like Sanofi’s glucose monitor peripheral that snaps right into their favorite mobile device, the iPhone. This glucose-monitoring device serves as a convenient crossover that merges their life and health in a way that fits their busy everyday lifestyles.

Millennials are an increasingly stressed demographic, and brands are starting to notice. With their constant need for digital context, they are able to find worrisome information and spiral into a panic with just a couple online searches at their favorite Starbucks location. How do you curb this persistent stress-and-search cycle? When 75% of the population gets health information from Google, that might not be a bad place to start.

And in fact, that’s exactly the thinking behind the DDB Brussels campaign that was launched for the Flemish government in an effort to curtail the stress-and-search cycle that occurs through Google searches every day. By purchasing the top 100 symptoms from Google AdWords, they were able to have the top search result be, “Don’t Google it, check a reliable source.” The alluring distinction behind this campaign is not only the creative way in which it combats our worldwide desire to perform panic-inducing Google searches but how it does so by taking advantage of one of Google’s own marketing platforms.

The millennial generation is unquestionably transforming the way that we market our products and target our brand messaging. Brands of all sizes need to cope with these changing behaviors and attitudes by reaching this generation on their own terms in compelling new fashions. A 2015 marketing approach will require taking advantage of the channels that work seamlessly with this generation’s overly stressed and busy lifestyles while simultaneously understanding the power that emotion has on the mind-set of the millennials.

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