Millennials – the approximately 80 million people 18 to 35 years old (born between the early 1980s to the early 2000s) – do things differently. They donate differently (see Getting Donations From The Next Generation), they expect different customer service (see How Far Are You Willing To Go To Improve Consumer Satisfaction?), they respond to “gamification”, or the digital game design techniques used in interactive technology (see Four Factors Drive “Gamification” In Healthcare), and their tech preferences are driving the “Internet of Things” (IoT) in health care (see ‘The Internet Will Disappear’).
How do you adjust your organizational strategies for reaching millennials? Consider these factors when designing your marketing strategies:
Millennials do their own health care research online – Among millennial parents in a recent survey, online resources were the dominant form of health care research, with 23% of millennial respondents either not asking physicians for referrals, or double checking that referral online (see How Millennial Parents Will Reshape Healthcare Marketing). Key to your marketing – provide millennials with the information they need to make their decisions.
Millennials trust patient satisfaction scores – Patient satisfaction “scores” include both the research Millennials can find online, as well as word of mouth with friends and family. According to a recent survey, 70% of millennials select a primary care doctor based on family and friend recommendations (see How Millennials Shop for Health Care). Key to your marketing – focus on both improving your consumer satisfaction scores, as well as advertising them (if they are good).
Millennials count both friends and relatives as family – Millennials have a much larger group of “influencers” that they trust. Not just family but also friends. And their “referrals” come from word of mouth from family and friends – or online reviews that replicate word of mouth (see Marketing Is Dead! Long Live Marketing!). Key to your marketing – keep your brand well known online, and at the forefront of “influencers” conversations about health care options.
Millennials are willing to pay more – Possibly because they trust their own research, and they trust the use of data to make decisions, Millennials are willing to pay more if they think the quality is there. For example, a recent study found that Millennials would pay more for a newer, brand named drug as long as the data showed better efficacy (56%) and fewer side effects (55%) (see Millennials: The New “Boom” in Healthcare Marketing). Key to your marketing – embrace big data as a way to market your brand and your services.
My colleague, OPEN MINDS Marketing Director Angela McDonald, summed up what these generational differences mean for your marketing, your website, and your customer service:
Millennials turn to the internet first for almost any sort of research, and they have come to expect this level of information, especially for important research such as health care decisions. Your online presence is key if you’re trying to reach millennials. And that doesn’t mean just having a website – you have to invest some time into ensuring your website is updated and user-friendly. Your website needs to be appealing and consumers need to be able to find the information they’re looking for quickly. Millennials aren’t going to spend a lot of time searching to find information – they give each site just a few minutes before moving on. For instance, many hospitals and physician offices now include information about the health care professionals associated with their organization on their websites, including their background and patient care philosophy. Some even produce short videos of these professionals – videos that help potential consumer feel comfortable selecting them.
Millennials will perform thorough online searches when making health care decisions, and any negative reviews or patient satisfaction scores found online will certainly impact their decision. Your organization needs to make customer service – the consumer experience – a top priority. And this is more than just the staff that answer the telephone and those that actually see the consumer. All staff that interact with the consumer on any level need to understand the importance of a good experience, how it affects consumer satisfaction scores, and how those scores can affect your organization’s reputation and, ultimately, your revenue.
For more, check out the article and accompanying webinar – Running A Best Practice Digital Marketing Program: Using Online Marketing & Social Media To Your Advantage – by OPEN MINDS Executive Vice President, Marketing, Tim Snyder.