5 marketing tips to target “Generation Health”

 -Marketing to Generation Health

“Generation Health” is a new term, one I noted this morning in a fantastic article by TechCrunch. Entitled ‘The rise of “Generation Health“‘, Duncan Turner takes a deep dive into the digital healthcare and how the emergence of new technology has led to the emergence of the on-demand patient, or “Generation Health”.

Healthcare as an industry is adapting the way it markets to this new target, the more informed customer.

We’ve done the research and taken guidance from more traditionally consumer-led industries and picked out 5 ways to market to “Generation Health”.


This is not a new idea! “Content is King“, an idea originally coined by Bill Gates, is vital when marketing to “Generation Health”. This generation has grown up with information at their fingertips, thanks to the internet. Content or inbound marketing is one of the best to set yourself apart, not only because it shows off your expertise, but also because it helps you rank in search engines. Being ‘findable’ is half the battle for marketers these days.

Digital content is vital, as 1 in 3 adult Americans have used the internet to search for information about a medical condition. Content is vital when marketing to ‘Generation Health’, as you want to make sure this generation sees you as an expert source when searching for answers to medical queries.

But that’s not all. Content makes you approachable and helps you start a conversation with your target. This is especially important in the healthcare industry. People will typically be searching for something affecting them or someone they care about. This could be something minor, or it could be something more serious. In either case, people need to feel reassured when it comes to health. The emotional side of healthcare makes content a key marketing tactic for communicating with ‘Generation Health’.

The benefits of content (or inbound) marketing: 

  1. Creating content and regularly blogging, helps you rank on search. For example, it helps you rank for long-tail keywords, which will send your company higher up the search results pages. This will lead to increased traffic from organic search.
  2. H2H (Human to human) marketing is key. Even if you are a B2B marketer, you are still talking to a human. So be a human back. Content shows the personal side of your business.
  3. Provide valuable content for social media campaigns. It’s not enough to simply tweet other’s writing. Eventually, you want to drive that traffic to your own site. Only then will you convert this traffic into leads.
  4. Demonstrate your expertise in your industry. Instead of just pitching your product, you can use your website to highlight your knowledge and that you understand problems plague the industry and how to fix them. It also allows you to stay fresh, ahead of the industry.
  5. Content marketing converts! It generates and increases leads. It does add another step to the buyer journey, so be sure to map out the route you wish a potential customer to take and ensure the copy is tailored to them.
  6. Use content and blogging to facilitate conversations with your target market, be it through a comment field or by social media.


Just like retail, healthcare is not all digital. Just as an on-demand consumer will go into a retail store, the on-demand patient will visit a doctor’s office or hospital. Digital marketing channels will be vital to marketing to “Generation Health”, mixing offline and online tools will set your company apart. Don’t abandon traditional platforms, incorporate digital channels into your marketing strategy.

There are 7 channels of promotion in marketing, which are Digital, Direct, PR, Sales Promotion, Personal Selling, Advertising and Events & Tradeshows. A smart mix of all 7 will set your healthcare marketing apart. It’s important that you close the loop and ensure all customer touchpoints are covered. We will focus on Direct, Digital, PR, Advertising and Events & tradeshows.

Printed advertisements are still relevant for healthcare marketing, and double up as a digital tool if the magazine of choice opts to have both a print and a digital version. TV advertisements also have their place, with a reach that can be multiplied exponentially with a social media campaign running concurrently. United Healthcare has done this fantastically! They have injected humor into their TV commercials, which coupled with good social activity has boosted their reach. The most recent commercial features Chuck Norris.

Direct marketing through traditional channels should not be overlooked. There are many who would favor information sent to them in the mail, with a personalized message. For example, a local send could attract walk-ins to a new clinic or hospital.

Events and tradeshows are a great way to get in front of your customer and have face-to-face meetings. A simple Google search yields results for hundreds of health, wellness or clinician-led events.

The US healthcare industry is unique, as it markets direct-to-consumer or direct-to-patient. Digital marketing technology has enabled healthcare marketers to talk directly to consumers in a new, more engaging way. We’ll explore the use of social media later. Healthcaresuccess.com took a deep dive into the changing face of healthcare marketing towards the end of 2016. In their article, a Periscope on 2017: Healthcare Marketing Trends, they identified 10 trends to watch out for in 2017. Here are just a couple of digital trends that stood out.

  • Use of Social Messaging Apps like SnapChat or Facebook Messenger, which enable real-time conversation with the on-demand patient, who seeks information faster.
  • Targeted digital campaigns to deliver timely, personalized content and enable marketers to target consumers by location, for example.
  • Video and VR are predicted to be huge for marketers in 2017. Microsoft is amongst the first in healthcare to jump on this. Check out their fantastic new website, complete with VR homepage.

Patients have never been so informed. The marketing battle for the new on-demand patient has only just begun. Effectively mixing channels, and creating coordinated, targeted marketing strategies will be vital to success.


Another key trend identified by industry experts, that links with content and mixing channels, is the idea of thinking Mobile first. The way people consume information has changed. More and more people are using mobile devices, on the move, to get content where and when they want it.

Because of this healthcare marketers need to ensure all content is optimized for small screens, without sacrificing the look for desktop users.


Consider the recent uptake of wearables or health trackers, as it speaks to the mindfulness of consumers. Marketers need to consider how this provides evidence for the changing characteristics of their target consumers.

“This means leaning into attributes like control, self-actualization, spirituality and wellness—while being mindful of generational differences.” – Brogan

From boomers to millennials users of health trackers, ‘Generation Health’ is much more aware of their health and wellness. This indicates that marketers need to adjust the message to suit this shift. This will most important in the first stage of any marketing plan – creating the personas. Identifying these shifts early will allow you to create an effective marketing strategy.

The ‘Mindfulness’ of ‘Generation Health’ will be key to effectively understand the consumer, and creating a marketing strategy that effectively speaks to them.


Engaging with target consumers online will be vital to any healthcare marketing campaign over the coming years, and is like the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Social media platforms, especially those with messenger features, are a fantastic way of engaging with your target consumer. Not only that, it provides you the tools to listen.

Social listening is vital for marketers. It is quite possibly the most effective tool we have for monitoring trends in the digital age. This process of monitoring digital conversations helps you to understand the issues concerning your target market, whilst monitoring the opinion of your brand.

Social media has been measured by engagement – likes, follows, pins, shares etc. etc. There are many fantastic examples of healthcare social media campaigns, a lot run by charities or associations to increase awareness. Last week, we took a look at the #WearRed campaign run by the American Heart Association to raise awareness of heart disease in women. Another great example is from back in 2010 when a social media campaign helped boost an important donor drive.

Take a look at this summary infographic.

Marketing tips to Generation Health infographic

What is the future of healthcare marketing?

Just like the future of healthcare is digital, the future of healthcare marketing is digital. As diagnostics, drug development and more becomes more technology driven, so must healthcare marketing.

Many believe that by 2020, all marketing, not just that in the healthcare space will have evolved again. On-demand marketing is coming. Consumer demand will change. They will want to interact with products and brands at any time, from anywhere. Data and information will need to be deployed more effectively as the on-demand consumer will have access to multiple new sources. The consumer will start to expect a more targeted, personalized experience. If you have data on a consumer, you should be using it in a safe, smart way to talk more directly to them. The consumer will expect all interactions to be easy.

Digital Diary is headed to Dallas. Join us April 4-5, 2017 to discuss the latest in digital health at Digital Healthcare Transformational Assembly featuring the panel discussion From Connected Health to Digital Health, moderated by Brian Ahier, Director of Standards and Government Affairs Medicity and Interoperability & HIE WorkgroupMedicity, HIT Policy Committee.

Key Discussion Points:

  • How digital technology is transforming health and social care.
  • Tailored and interactive text messaging to engage and activate patients.
  • Tailored mobile engagement strategy can help hospitals, health systems, health plans and other organizations positively influence healthcare consumer behavior and reduce costs.
  • The increasing role of smartphones and apps in digital health.
  • How digital health technologies will improve personal health.
  • Mobile Health Computing – Artificial Intelligence – HIPAA, HITECH ACT and ACA.
  • Consumer Facing Digital Health Technology.
  • Tools, tactics, and strategies to make the promise of the digital revolution a reality
  • Understand what role digital health can play in revolutionizing the delivery of healthcare services.

Other top sessions include The New Era of the On-Demand Patient: How Technology and Data Shape Digital Marketing in Healthcare, Digitization and Mobility are Revolutionizing the Practice of Medicine and Embracing the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Digital Officer Relationship.

For more information, visit The Millennium Alliance Digital Healthcare Transformational Assembly page >>


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