Anyone will tell you the “sweet spot” of pharma marketing resides with those consumers born between the years 1946 and 1964—Baby Boomers. Aside from the surge in demand for medical care driven by the sheer size of this aging population (71 million qualified for Medicare Part D coverage), unlike previous generations who were skeptical of the health system, Boomers have embraced “wonder medicines.”
Boomers spend more on healthcare than their parents did. They visit doctors more frequently, consume more health diagnostic services and aren’t afraid to spend additional out-of-pocket costs to improve quality of life. Boomers just aren’t built to grow old quietly.
The New Boomers
Now, however, the pace for the future of health marketing is driven by another “boom”—the Millennials. Born between approximately 1982 and 2003, this is the first generation weaned on Internet during their developmental years—and they’re accustomed to speed and efficiency. According to the latest Makovsky Pulse of Online Health survey released last month, this generation takes the helm on their healthcare through informed decision making. They leverage tools including online search and mobile device health apps.
Millennials are quickly becoming the new top consumers of healthcare info—and pharma marketers can develop successful marketing strategies by taking note of certain motivational factors. Mobile health platforms, in particular, represent a significant and largely untapped opportunity to engage with Millennials. While nearly two-thirds (66%) of Americans would use a mobile app to manage health-related issues, according to the survey, Millennials are more likely than any other age group to express interest in using a mobile app to stay on top of their health.
Motivated By Data and Digital
When downloading and using mobile health apps, this digitally engaged generation’s top interests and preferences reflect a proactive desire for informative, functional and interactive programs. Millennials are five times more likely to trust a pharma-sponsored social media platform than those aged 66 and older (31% vs. 6%), and nearly three times more likely than consumers aged between 45 and 65 (13%). By comparison, social media lacks authority with the general population as just 21% of respondents overall reported that they trust these channels.
Millennials are thoughtful about care and data-driven in their willingness to pay for it. Drug prices remain a hot-button issue for Americans, but survey data revealed unique motivators for Millennials in terms of medication cost (90%). Of all age ranges, this group is most willing to pay more. If deciding between a newer brand-name medication with a $30 co-pay and an older medication with a $10 co-pay, 84% of the country is willing to choose the more expensive option for specific reasons: Fewer side effects (62%); data showing the medication is more effective than the less expensive option (60%); doctor recommendation (52%); and easier dosing (36%). For Millennials, the greatest motivators are data showing better efficacy (56%) and fewer side effects (55%).
In this digitally driven age, understanding the patient journey is more about creating, providing and improving experiences in a way that is accessible to target audiences. For Millennials, the most successful marketing efforts will engage this population in the way they already are selecting to receive information—via mobile and apps.