Consumer healthcare marketers know millennials – generally defined as people born between 1980 and the early 2000s – are one of the most challenging segments to win over. There are countless blogs and articles about how millennials think, how to reach them and how to motivate them to act. So let’s turn the conversation around and take a moment to look at how the millennial generation has made us work harder and smarter – and in doing so, helped us become more effective healthcare marketers.
Here are some of the top characteristics of millennials we should all truly appreciate:
- Millennials are entitled.
This is an opinion you will find on any online search for information about millennials. It doesn’t sound like a positive attribute, but their sense of entitlement is building higher expectations in healthcare and contributing to the industry’s need to be more patient-centric. Millennials want to make informed decisions about health—and they want it to be easily accessible on their desktops and mobile devices. They want virtual care models, text message notifications and online appointment setting. They demand convenience and often refuse to wait, which is contributing to the rise of more urgent care outlets, forcing traditional physician practices and hospitals to rethink their patient experiences.
- Millennials have natural truth detectors.
Millennials are very perceptive and quick to identify when advertisers are giving it to them straight – and when they are not. As a healthcare marketer, you must avoid corporate speak and be authentic with your messaging. Otherwise, you put your brand at risk of poor social media reviews. After all, millennials feel it is their right and moral obligation to protect the social good by sharing experiences and observations online.
- Millennials take a stand against campaign messages that conflict with their values.
Millennials support creative messages and brands that align with their values. Remember GoDaddy’s controversial puppy commercial planned for the 2015 Super Bowl? After a preview of the spot aired on a popular talk show, social media exploded with outrage over the ad. The company pulled the spot the very same day. If the creative aspect of an ad isn’t relevant, timely, tasteful, concise and compelling, it will fail quickly in the eyes of millennials.
- Millennials lead technology adoption.
Marketing has always been on the leading edge of technology that facilitates connections between people and companies. Today we are learning a great deal from millennials. They are self-assigned researchers and testers of new digital technology, especially social media and mobile apps. Engaging target audiences on mobile devices has never been more crucial because more than 85% of millennials now use smartphones. That’s why, as a healthcare marketer, you must always consider mobile strategies with ease of access, simple messages and fresh content.
- Millennials do their research.
Millennials like to learn the facts. In a matter a minutes, they will determine if an organization, physician or product is worth their consideration. Providers who are very transparent with price, quality and outcomes data will have an advantage over competitors who are less forthcoming with information. The assumption is if organizations aren’t sharing this data, they must not be proud of it.
There is much to be said for the qualities of millennials. Although some may be perceived as challenging, I find they stand up for what they believe, want and need. Most of all, they are raising the standards for healthcare marketers and providers. As healthcare marketing professionals, it is up to us to step to the plate and deliver the information millennials need to make informed decisions about health. If we don’t, I’m sure we’ll hear about it.