The “General Market” Illusion: The New Majority in Healthcare Marketing

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

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There’s a the New Majority in town.

On December 21, 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau announced the results of Census 2010—the resident population of the United States is now 308,745,538. But Census 2010 data isn’t just about counting noses. You may be surprised to learn that there’s a “new majority” in town, and there’s an important paradigm shift underway for healthcare marketing and advertising.

Before you become mired in numbers and analysis, here’s quick background note. Healthcare Success clients are healthcare providers—private practices, physician groups, hospitals and healthcare businesses—throughout the United States. And although healthcare providers are not usually thought of as sophisticated marketers, we often work with savvy clients who understand the importance of audience demographics and the need to think in multiracial terms.

The new census numbers reveal shifts in the population, and a “new majority” in healthcare marketing. What’s more, a “general market” audience profile is an illusion.

Advertising industry publication AdAge puts it this way: “The takeaway is simple: America is more ethnically diverse than ever; 50% of babies born today are non-white. And when these babies grow to be adults, they will be in the majority, as so-called ethnic minorities.” Their article, titled How Brands Must Adapt to the New Majority Marketplace, has important insights for healthcare marketing.

In our previous post about Census 2010, we looked at a report from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Their analysis observes—among several disruptive changes—that, “Business leaders will have to figure out how to design, package, and label goods and services that cater to the needs, cultural preferences, and consumer purchasing behaviors of both a ‘graying’ and ‘browning.’” (The report is available here.)

The reality is that a broad and general approach to healthcare marketing has always been less effective than precision audience identification. The high altitude observations about Census 2010 are only the starting gate for savvy marketers. Each of us needs to take an extreme close-up look at the specific demographic changes in our specific service area.

Our recommendations: First recognize that there have been significant changes in the population, and that there’s a new majority to consider. And finally, the healthcare marketing objective now—as it always has been—is to define a target group in precision terms and not generalities.

You can always connect with us here about sharpening your “new majority” focus.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.



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