While women in their 40s and 50s make up a key audience for any marketer, they are especially important for healthcare brand managers and marketers. In addition to the fact that three out of four women are dealing with at least one health condition, these women are also “sandwiched” between caring for their children and their parents.
Still, this audience isn’t made up of “sandwich” generation super moms alone. Digitas Health and Yahoo! partnered to better understand and connect with this group of women, not only as consumers and patients, but as people. After speaking with thousands of women about their health, their lifestyles and their families, we came to some surprising conclusions, which we shared at an invitation-only event at Yahoo! Headquarters and at Digitas’ 2011 NewFront.
(1) Information is experienced as much emotionally as it is functionally. In the search for health information online, expertise and relevance are primary concerns. But for women, emotional factors also weigh heavily as they make decisions about the health of their families and themselves. 66% of women surveyed told us that they sought information from sources that “have my best interests in mind” and “no hidden agenda.” “As marketers we tend to be comfortable pushing information out,” said Deborah Radcliffe, Pfizer team leader, consumer portfolio marketing, when we unveiled our research insights. “We need to take what we know to heart and be relatable to patients and consumers.” Now more than ever, marketers must tailor their brand messages to provide the emotional support that these women are seeking.
(2) The Web offers multiple touch points to help women “realize to decide.” 56% of the women we spoke to revealed that they frequently turn to online health sources for information and support. These sources aren’t just official drug or treatment sites, but online communities and patient portals where these women can both offer and receive support and health information. There is ample opportunity for brands to partner with publishers to create educational resources for consumers and patients.
(3) “Yes Doctor” has become “Yes Doctor, but…” Online research has transformed the patient-doctor dynamic. Nearly half of the women we spoke to agreed that the patient role in diagnosis and treatment is more prominent, thanks to the abundance of health information online. These women also indicated that they now look to their doctor as “a partner who makes decisions with her, based on who she is and her context.” But while 60% of women said they had productive conversations with their doctors, just 34% said that those conversations were comfortable. BreastCancerSisterhood.com patient blogger Brenda Ray Coffee explained at NewFront that “It’s a survivorship skill to stop treating doctors like gods and see them as helpers in your health.” Because of this sense of empowerment, messaging around women’s health should celebrate this audience’s confidence, but be humorously realistic about the stresses of life.
The path forward for healthcare marketers is clear: understand how 40-everything women approach health decisions and tailor campaigns accordingly. For details about the five health styles and additional research insights, please visit Yahoo! Advertising Solutions.
- Erica Nardello, Corporate Communications, Digitas Health. Follow @Digitas_Health on Twitter for more insights from the brand!