Healthcare Marketing Makeover: We Need to Reach the Next Generation of Patients

The healthcare industry is facing a demographic shift. Obesity, depression, high blood pressure, asthma: These are just a few of the chronic health conditions that are now affecting almost 40 million Americans between the ages 18 and 34, new federal data shows. But these generations have different needs and expectations than their predecessors. To reach them effectively, healthcare marketing needs a makeover.

Here are four key ways healthcare marketing needs to shift to attract younger patients:

1. Ditch the doctor’s office waiting room and meet them online.

Younger generations are digital natives. They get their information and make decisions online. Healthcare providers need to be where they are: on social media, search engines, and healthcare apps.

Traditional marketing channels like print and TV commercials are less effective with these audiences. Instead, focus on creating engaging content that educates and informs, such as blog posts, infographics, and videos. Share this content on social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, where younger generations spend their time.

2. Speak their language.

Forget the medical jargon. Younger generations want healthcare information that is clear, concise, and easy to understand. Use plain language and avoid technical terms. And don’t be afraid to use humor and pop culture references to make your content more relatable.

3. Focus on preventive care and wellness.

Younger generations are more proactive about their health than previous generations. They are interested in preventive care and maintaining their well-being. So, focus your marketing on healthy eating, exercise, mental health, and disease prevention.

4. Make it personal.

Younger generations value personalization. They want healthcare experiences that are tailored to their individual needs and preferences. This means using data and analytics to personalize your marketing messages. For example, you could send targeted emails or social media ads based on a patient’s age, location, or health interests.

Here are some additional tips for healthcare marketing to younger patients:

  • Partner with influencers. Younger generations trust recommendations from people they admire—partner with social media influencers or healthcare professionals who resonate with your target audience.

  • Make it easy to book appointments. Offer online booking and telehealth options to make scheduling appointments convenient for younger patients.

  • Be transparent about costs. Younger generations are price-conscious. Be upfront about your fees and offer payment plans if possible.

  • Build trust. Younger generations are skeptical of marketing messages. Build trust by being transparent, authentic, and providing valuable information.

By following these tips, healthcare providers can attract and retain younger patients in a changing healthcare landscape.

Remember, the future of healthcare marketing is all about meeting patients where they are and providing them with the information and experiences they need to make informed decisions about their health.

Why it’s important to reach younger demographics

There has been a concerning rise in cancer diagnoses among younger people, particularly those under 50. While overall cancer rates are still higher for older adults, the increase in early-onset cancer is a worrying trend that warrants attention.

Here are some key points to consider:

  • The data: A recent study published in JAMA Network Open found that cancer incidence rates increased for people aged 30-39 between 2010 and 2019 while remaining stable in other younger age groups. Breast cancer was the most common type of early-onset cancer diagnosed, followed by gastrointestinal cancers.

  • Possible reasons: The exact causes of this trend are still being investigated, but several factors may play a role. These include:

  • Lifestyle factors: Obesity, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, and smoking are all linked to an increased risk of cancer.

  • Environmental exposures: Pollution, chemicals, and radiation exposure may also contribute to cancer development.

  • Changes in screening: Improved cancer screening tests may lead to earlier diagnoses of some cancers, even if the actual incidence hasn’t increased.

  • Birth cohort effect: Some researchers believe that each generation may be born with a slightly higher risk of cancer due to factors like prenatal exposures or changes in the environment.

  • Importance of early detection: Despite the rise in early-onset cancer, it’s important to remember that cancer is still relatively rare in younger people. However, early detection and treatment are crucial for improving survival rates. This is why it’s important for young adults to be aware of their cancer risk factors and to talk to their doctor about any concerns they may have.

In the past three decades, the incidence of colon cancer has risen significantly among people younger than 50, many of whom have no obvious risk factors, such as having a genetic predisposition. No one knows why.

A report released early this year by the American Cancer Society found that people younger than 55 went from accounting for 11 percent of all colorectal cancer in 1995 to 20 percent in 2019. About 3,750 people younger than 50 will die of colorectal cancer in 2023, according to the report.

Here are some resources that you may find helpful:

Remember, knowledge is power when it comes to cancer. By staying informed and taking proactive steps, young people can reduce risk and improve their chances of a healthy future.

It’s important to note that while this is a concerning trend, there are also positive developments in cancer research and treatment. Early detection through advanced screening methods and innovative treatment options are constantly being developed, giving hope for better outcomes in the future.