As baby boomers age, the number of caregivers will continue to increase. It is estimated that caregivers are expected to exceed 45 million by 2020. It is important for healthcare marketers to understand the unique dynamics among patients and caregivers in order to craft marketing campaigns that will reach and resonate with them.
Many healthcare providers make the mistake of thinking the role of a person (patient or caregiver) is the only driver of implications on strategy, media and reporting. Some of the other factors that must be taken into consideration include age, attitude, lifestyle, relationship and severity of illness. Caregivers may vary vastly – from millennials to the elderly – and the same holds true for patients. To provide a better understanding of the different audiences and their roles, let’s examine a few real-life scenarios.
Caregiver Profile: Kimberly, Patient’s Sister, Age 63
Kimberly takes her role and responsibility as a caregiver very seriously. She does her due diligence and pays close attention to detail when it comes to making decisions for her ailing sister. She is a sponge for information and asks a lot of questions, so education is important. Additionally, she takes a more proactive approach to health and holds advice from medical professionals in the highest regard. The Internet is not a go-to source of information for Kimberly or other caregivers of her age, so when it comes to reaching them, traditional media like cable TV, magazines, newspaper and the yellow pages tend to be most effective.
Caregiver Profile: Jennifer & David, Patient’s Children, Age 40s
Jennifer and David have a lot on their plate. Their own children still live at home, they work full time, and they struggle with balance. They are willing to help their ailing parents, but they also worry about themselves. They don’t take very good care of themselves and don’t go to the doctor regularly. Developing a strategy to reach them revolves around the reality of their hectic lifestyle. It is important to craft messaging that considers their needs and focuses on making their role as a caregiver much easier. While they are difficult to communicate with, the silver lining is that they understand technology and regularly use it to help them manage their busy life. Traditional media like cable TV and magazines are not the best way to reach them. However, outdoor media and Internet rank much higher due to their busy, on-the-go lifestyle.
Caregiver Profile: Michelle, Expectant Mother, Age 28
Michelle tends to be stubborn and headstrong. She is unsatisfied with her current lifestyle and income, and is not a big fan of helping others unless it benefits her. She doesn’t use preventative medicine and doesn’t visit the doctor often. Her cell phone is her lifeline, and she uses it for everything from gathering information to making purchases to connecting with friends. She feels that the Internet can give her all the information she needs, so she is less likely to recall information from the doctor’s office. An estimated 79% of millennial patients begin their healthcare research on a search engine, and Michelle is no exception. When it comes to reaching her, healthcare providers must communicate often and make the information highly accessible. The Internet will certainly be most effective.
While the media tools used to deliver messages to these audiences will differ, the ultimate goals of your campaigns should remain the same:
- Provide both roles with accurate information
- Earn their trust through communication and action
- Guide them to make the right decisions
- And always maintain an open line of communication.
Morgan & Co. uses passion, experience, expertise and analytics to develop marketing campaigns for healthcare providers. We thoroughly understand the complexities of marketing to healthcare audiences and can help you develop the most effective strategy to achieve your goals. To explore how we can help you, contact us today.