We’ve been in healthcare marketing for a very long time, and after over 15 years in the industry there’s one thing we still hear that makes our blood boil.
“Our area has a much older population. Most of our patients are senior citizens, so we just know that using social media marketing won’t be effective.”
Tell that to my grandmother, the most active social media user I know. She likes all of her favorite companies on Facebook, she reviews every facility she’s ever been to, and she’s one of the only people I know who actively engages with her healthcare provider’s social media pages. My grandmother is a Baby Boomer, and because of this she’s subjected to the most ridiculous stereotypes, often from people in our own industry.
Healthcare marketers love to talk about who they’re marketing to. It’s just what we do. We talk about marketing to millennials, about how we reach our Generation X’s and our Generation Y’s, but we never talk about the Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers are the most under-appreciated segment of consumers in healthcare marketing, a reality that seems ridiculous when you take into account just how vital they are to our industry. People have lots of excuses for why they don’t market to Baby Boomers, particular through more “modern” channels like social media. It’s time to set those excuses aside, though. Here are four key reasons why everyone in our industry should take the Boomers more seriously:
1. They’re the second largest group of consumers out there.
There are over 76.4 million Baby Boomers in the United States, making them the generation that up until 2015 made up the majority of the population. Even though they’ve finally been overtaken by the millennials, Baby Boomers still make up the large majority of consumers. More importantly though, Baby Boomers are the generation that is most likely to spend money. They’ve far outspent previous generations and continue to spend more than people from younger generations. They know what they want, and they’re not opposed to paying for it.
2. They already have a strong personal investment in your product.
One of the biggest draws Baby Boomers have for healthcare marketers is the fact that, generally speaking, they’re already personally invested in the product you’re trying to sell them. Unlike younger generations, Baby Boomers have a profound understanding about the value of good health. While Generation X-ers are more likely to go out of their way to avoid paying for any medical costs, whether they’re injury/illness related or even something as simple as paying for health insurance, Baby Boomers understand the importance of taking care of yourself and know that the costs associated with healthcare are undoubtedly worth it. You don’t have to sell them on the importance of good healthcare, you just have to provide them with the right combination of information, access, and affordability when it comes to marketing your product.
3. Their online presence is ridiculous.
No longer can we hide behind the outdated stereotype that Baby Boomers are clueless when it comes to technology, that they’re sitting around on their dial-up modems waiting to send an email. Todays Baby Boomers are more active and tech-savvy than ever. They’re using search engines, social media, smartphones, and tons of other digital devices to search for information and stay in touch with family, friends, providers, etc. More than that, a shocking 82% of Baby Boomers are active members on at least one social media site. That’s a huge percentage of the senior citizen population who’s using social media on an everyday basis, so why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of that and use those platforms to market to them?
4. They’re actively searching for information about your product.
Not only do Baby Boomers have an incredibly strong online presence, they’re also one of the generations that’s the most likely search for healthcare information online. Over 57% of Baby Boomers have searched for healthcare information online, and the majority of those online shoppers also regularly engage with their healthcare practice’s social media pages. DMN3 has also discovered that more than half of Boomers will actually visit a company’s website or continue their search on a search engine after seeing something on a social networking site.
Pretty cool, huh. So what does this information mean for healthcare marketers? To put it bluntly, Baby Boomers are one of the most crucial yet somehow under-appreciated group of consumers in the healthcare industry. We know that they care about the services we’re marketing, and we know that they’re regularly utilizing social media platforms and search engines to find information about healthcare and search for providers. We know that they make up the second largest portion of the American population, that they as a generation almost singlehandedly defined modern day consumerism, and that they’re willing to spend money on the things that they value. We also happen to know that their health is one of the things that they value the most.
We know all of these things, and it’s time to start acting on them. The old stereotypes about the Baby Boomers have been shattered. We can’t hide behind those excuses anymore. If you’re in healthcare marketing and you’re not devoting a significant amount of your time, money, and efforts into marketing specifically to Baby Boomers (and yes, this marketing should 100% include social media), then you’re making a huge mistake. It’s time to embrace the Baby Boomers.