Women are the health care decision makers in our country. According to statistics from the United States Department of Labor, women make approximately 80 percent of the health care decisions in their families. They take the lead role in choosing health plans, scheduling doctor’s appointments, and making sure their loved ones are getting the care they need. Women need the right tools and information to make the best health care choices for their families and for themselves. Yet, according to She-conomy.com, 66 percent of them feel misunderstood by health care marketers, and 91 percent think advertisers in general do not understand them.
Marketing your healthcare system or services to women goes beyond letting them know about your O.B. department. With a focused effort on understanding and connecting with the way they make their healthcare purchasing decisions, you can employ gender-specific marketing techniques that will not only attract them to your health services but to your entire system.
Making an Emotional Connection
It’s not just a stereotype. Many studies show that women do need to make an emotional connection with a brand. Women do not want facts and statistics fed to them. They want authenticity via true stories told by people they can relate to. More importantly, they look to those they are already connected to, like friends and family, rather than experts when searching for the right brand. Peer-to-peer recommendations, both face-to-face and through social media, count most when women are considering which health care providers to choose. Marketing campaigns should show multiple use cases, rely heavily on visuals like video, and create an anecdotal story to connect them to their brand.
Having On-Line Presence Is a Must
When faced with a healthcare decision, women go on-line first, but a preference for peer-to-peer recommendations goes beyond the official hospital web site. Bloggers, for example, are trusted by them more than a user review on a company’s web site, according to a recent BlogHer.com study, and according to Quantcast, about 23 million American women are weekly readers of or contributors to blogs. Having a presence on social media is an important part of any health care campaign.
Remembering that Women Are a Diverse Population
One of the main complaints women have about advertising is that assumptions are made about them. Not all of them are moms, and even if they are, that is not the only lens through which they see themselves or choose their brands. If you are marketing health care to women, don’t overlook their diversity. They play many roles and take on many responsibilities, such as caregivers to their parents or sole breadwinners. “Bucket marketing” to women permeates advertisement today. Many healthcare marketers do not address the complexity and nuances of women’s roles and responsibilities.
Healthcare marketers must understand how women process marketing information and make decisions for their families in order to win over this market segment and bring them on-board for all hospital services.