Health and Wellness This Week: Consumer Insights Drive Form + Function

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.

This week we saw big moves in the wearables market, a growing trend of targeting everyday consumers with sports nutrition products, and a new report shows just how many people are looking for EHR software.

Big Moves In Fitness & Wearables: What Is The Future of Wearables?


Facebook entered the mobile fitness tracking market with its acquisition of ProtoGeo Oy, maker of the mobile app called Moves. Moves utilizes the sensors already in smartphones to track and detect physical activity providing users with a simple interface for measuring daily activity. There are two U.S. patents currently being processed for the app's algorithms.

In another move by a big corporation, Nike released the majority of its FuelBand team last week. The news has stirred speculation about what it signals to the rest of the industry. Canalys estimates 17 million "smart bands” will ship in 2014, with the market increasing to 45 million by 2017. Nike has grabbed 14% of the worldwide market. The leader is still Fitbit, with 58%. The company was an early leader in the industry.

Mashable brought up several interesting points regarding Nike's exit.

Hardware is demanding and requires strong expertise, which isn't Nike's primary business. Another difficulty in the wearables market is the competition coming from two directions: smartwatches and smartphones. With integration into smartphones, the fear for some wearables makers is that people won't need tracking devices in addition to the smartphones they already carry with them everywhere.

"Those devices say something about the user that a smartwatch doesn't," says Jeff Holove, CEO of Basis. "These devices are icons, they're almost symbols that say the person wearing it cares about their health. I think that's important."

An article on MD+DI, takes a different perspective, acknowledging the fashion approach of some wearables companies and asserting that in order to survive long-term, companies will need to create products that provide meaningful outcomes.

Marketing Strategy Insight: The potential for the wearables market to become more commoditized means that companies will need to take one of two approaches. The first is to invest heavily in R&D to create innovative new technologies that provide sustainable, competitive advantage and provide functionality that can create meaningful outcomes. The second is to invest in their brand, which can serve as a competitive differentiator and be developed into a valuable intangible asset if cared for properly. For companies who want to invest in their brand, design in form and function will be important. Beautiful aesthetics will help foster the consumer love affair with wearables. Understanding how the consumer makes a statement with their tracking device is important. Companies will need to create meaningful connections with consumers to develop long-lasting relationships. Providing value beyond the technology with exceptional brand experiences is paramount.

Sports Nutrition Companies Look Beyond Gym Rats To Target Everyday Consumers


Swisse Wellness on US sports nutrition sector: "We think there's an opportunity in this space to make a big impact"

Stephen Daniells of NUTRAingredients-USA, reports: "Changing consumer attitudes toward health and similar consumption levels in the US and Australia give Swisse Wellness an opportunity to excite consumers with a new sports nutrition range that is not just focused on the muscle men and gym junkies, says Ulrich Irgens, Executive Vice President of Swisse Americas."

Marketing Strategy Insight: The US sports nutrition market, led by sports drinks, a market estimated to reach up to $6.9bn by 2017, and nutrition bars, estimated to reach $3.9bn by 2017, provides ample business opportunity. The healthcare system in America is changing and pushing the population toward a focus on preventative health. With more people engaged in health and wellness, companies will need to understand the evolving market and find ways to target these new consumers who aren't as extreme as the hardcore athletes they may have previously targeted. Capturing the attention of everyday people who want to maintain health will require understanding these new customer segments. New personas will need to be developed to understand their needs, wants, concerns, habits, and lifestyles. Companies who want to target this new and growing market will need to consider how their positioning, messaging, look and feel, and marketing tactics might need updating in order to reach consumers and stay relevant.

40% Of Buyers Looking To Replace EHR Systems

Software Advice released its EHR Software BuyerView 2014 report, providing information about EHR software buyers from Q1 2014. The report analyzes information from interactions with physicians, detailing their most common pain points and motivations for purchase.

  • Current solution is too cumbersome (too slow, requires too many click-throughs, etc.)
  • Buyers are looking for integration between software (for example billing or scheduling)
  • Nearly 40% requested mobile support
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Current is outdated

Marketing Strategy Insight: If you're an EHR software provider, this is good news. You can use these insights about pain points to develop messaging that speaks directly to users' needs. For example, with a marketing automation program, you could schedule multiple tracks of emails to different segments. For the existing EHR users, email content could provide users with information about your product's performance and its ability to integrate with scheduling and billing. For first time users, email content could highlight how your product helps companies improve organization and efficiency. In addition, the information might also provide valuable insights for your development team to use for product improvement.

Health and Wellness This Week: Consumer Insights Drive Form + Function