Mindset List: Cultural Touchstones in Healthcare Marketing

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

"2016" display made out of people in front of the Beloit College buildingThis year’s Mindset List from Beloit College has relatively little to do with healthcare marketing, at least directly. It’s informative, amusing…and a little sobering.

But for healthcare providers and medical marketing professionals, this annual look into the value system of college freshmen helps keep us painfully aware of the life experiences and “cultural touchstones” of an important audience segment. (And it is strikingly different from your own.)

For anyone not familiar with “the Mindset List,” it was first created in 1998 for the faculty of Beloit College [Beloit, WI] to better understand the incoming class of students (who would graduate in 2002). It still serves that purpose as well as being popularly circulated and discussed around the world. It’s great insight for everyone.

Here are some of the distinct characteristics of individuals (typically about 18 years old) who are entering college this month, and will be among the graduating class of 2016. Their life experience, perspectives, attitudes and “mindset” are well worth understanding.

Beloit’s quick summary tells us, “This year’s entering college class of 2016 was born into cyberspace and they have therefore measured their output in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds.

“They have come to political consciousness during a time of increasing doubts about America’s future, and are entering college bombarded by questions about jobs and the value of a college degree. They have never needed an actual airline “ticket,” a set of bound encyclopedias, or Romper Room.

“Members of this year’s freshman class, most of them born in 1994, are probably the most tribal generation in history and they despise being separated from contact with friends. They prefer to watch television everywhere except on a television, have seen a woman lead the U.S. State Department for most of their lives, and can carry school books–those that are not on their e-Readers–in backpacks that roll.”

You’ll want to read all 80 items on the list, but here are a few samples about the graduating class of 2016:

  •  A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.
  • Gene therapy has always been an available treatment.
  • Before they purchase an assigned textbook, they will investigate whether it is available for rent or purchase as an e-book.
  • They know many established film stars by their voices on computer-animated blockbusters.
  • History has always had its own channel.
  • Genomes of living things have always been sequenced.
  • The Sistine Chapel ceiling has always been brighter and cleaner.

And for a further perspective on the mindset list, read our previous post, Target Audience Cheat Sheet for Physician Marketing and Medical Group Advertising.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

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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