Why Healthcare Marketing Needs to Wakeup to Caregivers and Influencers

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

caregivers family friendsHealthcare marketing is in need of an overhaul, according to Advertising Age (AdAge), the respected advertising and marketing industry publication. They arrived at this conclusion after talking with 25,000 consumer/buyers of healthcare products and services.

Marketing and advertising that only targets the prospective patient might miss the mark and not get the job done. As marketing-savvy professionals already recognize, the singular patient has become the “patient plus,” and that includes caregivers, influencers, family members, friends and others. And some of healthcare marketing’s well-established rules and assumptions need to (or have to) change as well.

One of the significant findings in the Advertising Age/Modern Healthcare survey is the rise of multi-generational households, “as well as an overall aging population, families are increasingly involved in cross-generational caregiving. The phenomenon is especially visible with boomers, sandwiched between their millennial children…and their increasingly frail parents.”

“It’s important for marketers to craft messages that consider the needs of patients as well as the caregivers who influence health-care decisions,” writes Ad Age. The nature of the message, how it is communicated, and the action that may follow can be different for the patient and for various other members of that patient’s circle of influence.

In another important finding, “all age groups preferred to receive communications about health care via email, followed by mail, phone and text messaging,” writes Ad Age. “The margins between email and other modes were wide in all but the most rural areas.”

The Advertising Age and Modern Healthcare survey included a range of medical and healthcare delivery topics, “including prescription medications, herbal remedies, doctor visits, care-giving responsibilities and how consumers receive messages about those things.”

Email, along with regular mail and text messages, has been used effectively to inform and educate patients, encourage treatment and medication compliance, and to connect with family, friends and other influencers in the healthcare decision process. Some patients and prospective patients would be open to communicating directly with their doctor’s office.

There’s additional background information about shifting demographics in our previous article, The Silver Tsunami and Five Other Disruptive Trends Impacting Medical Marketing. Trends and related survey information is sold online through Advertising Age.



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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