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How Unique is the Healthcare Consumer?

August 12, 2019

Address consumers as individuals

The consumer-driven healthcare market wants the convenience of mobility, the empowerment of information, the satisfaction of loyalty and the independence of choice. They have been conditioned by instant access to information, entertainment and consumer goods, and their choices are virtually endless. Technology has placed them firmly in the driver’s seat.

At the end of the day, you must convince a segment of those empowered healthcare consumers to respond positively to your messages. The challenge is building convenience, empowerment, satisfaction and choice into your healthcare communications in an optimal way.

Healthcare consumers have been conditioned by other industries

For all the differences between the healthcare industry and other industries, consumers of healthcare want the same thing from the companies that engage in their health as they want from other consumer-focused companies.

A study conducted by healthcare consulting firm McKinsey indicated that consumers appreciated companies that provided great customer service, delivered on expectations, made life easier and offered high value. They expected the same attributes of service, convenience and value from their healthcare companies. Interestingly, they expected those attributes in the same proportion that they expected them of admired retail brands like Amazon and Apple.

Healthcare consumers’ needs may closely resemble the needs of other consumers—but the stakes are higher

Solving the problem of healthcare consumer engagement

While healthcare consumers want what other consumers want, the stakes for engaging healthcare consumers are higher. Marketers not only need consumers to engage in a business transaction, they also need them to engage in their health and make informed decisions that will improve outcomes. And the right medium for engagement is direct mail.

According to a study published in June 2018 by the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent agency that exercises regulatory control over the U.S. Postal Service, consumers either read or scan 74 percent of direct mail they receive. The reading rate rose even higher when the deliverable was not a credit card offer.

The same study indicated that 12 percent of respondents intended to respond to direct mail. According to a Marketing Charts analysis of Data Marketing & Analytics (DMA) data, the actual response rate to direct mail in 2017 was 5.1 percent, compared to response rates of 0.6 percent for email and paid search.

Marketing Sherpa found that direct mail is trusted by consumers across the age spectrum. Of consumers dubbed the “Silent Generation,” those born from 1925-1945, 83 percent trusting direct ads/catalogs when they are considering a purchase. Of Millennials, on the other hand, 70 percent trusted direct mail—still a large majority. Eighty percent of Baby Boomers trusted direct mail, while 77 percent of Generation X said they would trust direct mail to help them make a purchase.

he age spectrum. Of consumers dubbed the “Silent Generation,” those born from 1925-1945, 83 percent trusting direct ads/catalogs when they are considering a purchase. Of Millennials, on the other hand, 70 percent trusted direct mail—still a large majority. Eighty percent of Baby Boomers trusted direct mail, while 77 percent of Generation X said they would trust direct mail to help them make a purchase.

How do you convince empowered healthcare consumers to respond positively to your messages?

Direct mail is integral to healthcare consumer engagement campaigns

So, how do you optimally build convenience, empowerment, satisfaction and choice to engage the healthcare consumer? Start by creating an engagement campaign that includes direct mail. In our next post, we’ll discuss how to ensure the money you invest in direct mail to healthcare consumers yields a good return.

When you’re ready to discuss how personalized direct mail can help you know and engage your customers better, contact us.