Health & Wellness This Week

Engaging Health Consumers | Health & Wellness This Week

This article is part of ParkerWhite’s weekly series, “Health and Wellness This Week,” a roundup of the latest healthcare marketing news and what it means for your marketing strategy.

There are many opportunities for companies to introduce new products as healthcare becomes more consumer-friendly. Many companies are engaging health consumers to actively take care of their health. This week we look at:

  • Barriers to adoption for wearables
  • Reaching millennial healthcare consumers
  • The market for hearables

Privacy and Cost Barriers to Adoption for Wearables

New reports released by PwC listed privacy concerns and cost as the biggest reasons why people aren’t using wearables. “For wearables to help shape the New Health Economy, next generation devices will need to be interoperable, integrated, engaging, social and outcomes-driven,” said Vaughn Kauffman, principal of PwC Health Industries, in a release.

This doesn’t mean people aren’t interested in using wearables if the right incentives are present. “68% of consumers would wear employer-provided wearables streaming anonymous data to an information pool in exchange for a break on their insurance premiums,” PwC reports. Three-fourths of consumers surveyed said they want to receive information about how to exercise smarter and collect and track that information. Two-thirds are interested in using the devices for healthier eating.

But for companies touting wearable devices, there’s fiercely intense competition. Tech companies Apple ($AAPL), Amazon ($AMZN) and Google ($GOOG) have the highest rated brand in the market. No device companies made the list.

Marketing Strategy Insights

  • Building trust with consumers is critical – trust comes from building a strong brand, maintaining transparency, responding to consumers, and ensuring privacy
  • If you’re going to compete against giant corporations like Apple and Google, you need to differentiate and build equity with a brand strategy to ensure marketing consistency
  • Prioritizing privacy and effectively communicating how your company protects consumers is key

Study Provides Insights About Reaching Millennial Healthcare Consumers

A study by inVentive Health’s agencies Allidura Consumer and GSW, in addition to the Harris Poll, found millennials and boomers have similar perspectives about health, but the way they solve problems is much different. Both groups want to be healthy, but millennials don’t trust classic sources of information.

Millennials exhibit a willingness to change behaviors. Nearly half of them said they had tried extreme fitness regimens and double-digit percentages reported a willingness to eat their way to better health. But only 48% said they feel healthy. Millennials view doctors as “sick care,” and instead want to practice preventative health. Celebrities do not impress them, but they respect information from people like Dr. Oz, a perceived authority.

Marketing Strategy Insights

  • The stark differences in the way millennials and boomers approach health solidifies how critical it is to have targeted communications for each segment
  • It’s especially important to take the time to understand the nuances of marketing to millennials because it is not necessarily intuitive
  • It’s no surprise celebrities don’t impress millennials, as they’re a generation marked by skepticism and a high need for transparency – just because someone is a celebrity doesn’t mean they have any authority in the health field

Hearables > Wearables?

In an article on VentureBeat, Scott Snyder of Mobiquity describes why “hearables” could make a big impact by leveraging the earbud, a common technology. Despite the craze around wearables worn on the wrist and chest, Snyder says the ear presents several applications for monitoring. He suggests an earbud is more natural to wear, the ear is a good place to pick up blood flows, and the ear is a better predictor of movement and speed. Using ear-based sensor technology also makes sense for hearing impaired individuals, providing an opportunity to monitor vital signs of an elderly patient. Snyder says the market for smart headphones is not far from an inflection point. With increasing commoditization of the headphone market, it’s reasonable to expect to see a high-profile sensor studded model hit the high-end fitness market.

Marketing Strategy Insight

  • Snyder lists several reasons why earbuds are practical – this includes ease-of-use, which further highlights how important it is to incorporate a 360 degree view of user experience for consumer healthcare products
  • Remain focused on the issue of adherence – getting people to actually use these devices and keep using them remains a challenge