Conference Reviews

Marketing to the Millennial

Reviewed by Pradip Kamat, MD, MBA, FCCM

Plenary session by Anthony J. Cadieux, Director of Digital Marketing Strategy, Adventist Health System

Who is a millennial?
Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are people who reach adulthood around the turn of the 21st century. A Time magazine article placed the millennials as born between 1980-2000.

Why is marketing to millennials important?
There are about 79 million millennials in the US and growing. Millennials will make up 50% of the US workforce by 2030, of which 25% will be self-employed. Their estimated purchasing power is $170 billion per year. They do not own a landline but are heavy users of cell phones and are very active on social media. They send at least 20 texts from their cell phone per day. They believe that technology helps people use their time more efficiently. Millennials grew up with internet, computers, and social media, which makes them adept at understanding interfaces and visual languages. Due to their close interaction with electronics and a socially networked world, they are targets of marketing/sales campaigns.

A disjointed healthcare system doesn’t appeal to the millennials
The presenter described how the marketing giant and internet retailer Amazon has an efficient, seamless operation of selling products, engaging customers, producers andretailers in an easy hassle-free environment. Amazon, by using technology, can create repeat customers for their host of products.

Amazon will display new products, allow easy extensive searching, pay in one click, provide online reviews, store customer information and use the same to market a related product (retargeting). Because of its seamless customer-friendly offering, people go to Amazon to buy more products. Millennials like the “one click” feature of companies like Amazon.

The author goes on to describe the healthcare industry, which is completely disjointed and unable to store a patient’s health information over the years. The involvement of multiple federal and local health agencies/insurance companies makes storing patient data and health patterns difficult. This makes the consumer interface of healthcare tough for a generation that is technology dependent.

Example of marketing to the millennials: Florida Hospitals Heart Health app
The presenter then went on to describe Florida Hospital’s Heart Disease app which is easy to use and keeps the user engaged. It begins with a free assessment of the patient’s heart health, asking a series of questions about the person’s lifestyle including sleep habits, exercise, and diet. Additionally, by an easy to use (yes or no type of questions) interface, it evaluates risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, weight, and blood pressure.

Once a patient has answered all the questions on the app, an automatic account is created on the Florida Hospital’s healthcare portal, which lists patients risk assessment results and recommended next steps. If an appointment is necessary, the app will automatically list the location that is closest to the patient’s current address. Reminders about the appointment will be texted to the patient the day prior as well as a few hours prior to the scheduled appointment date. Directions to the exact clinic/hospital location are also provided. Millennials love easy to use apps like the Florida Hospital’s heart health app.

Additionally, the app allows patients to schedule multiple appointments to coincide with the other (for example, an appointment for a blood draw followed by a clinic appointment on the same day in the same building). To keep patients engaged, the app will send texts regarding diet tips, recipes and even connect to a Fitbit that helps track and manage fitness goals. It will also send regular reminders about events such as the Florida Hospital’s heart walk, etc. and even email the patient photos of the race they were involved in.

In summary, Mr. Cadieux, through the above example of Florida Hospitals Heart Health app, basically drove home the point that marketing to millennials involves the use of latest technology. The millennials are more likely to stay engaged if it can be done via a cell phone, social media or an app. Additionally, the alignment of digital and physical experience is critical, especially as the clinical experience drives most online reviews.

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