It started on January 1, 2011 — the day that the first Baby Boomers turned 65. Every day since, approximately 10,000 more have joined the ranks of senior Americans. That’s more than 53 million aging adults in need of healthcare, but connecting with them is another story. How can healthcare organizations improve patient acquisition and engagement among Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation?
Addressing Seniors’ Health Concerns
Millennials have dominated the minds of marketers in recent years, thanks to their burgeoning buying power. But when it comes to healthcare utilization, seniors dominate — which is one of the biggest reasons that hospitals and other healthcare providers need to modify their approach to appeal to aging adults.
Several trends only emphasize the need to engage seniors more when it comes to healthy behaviors. America’s Health Rankings’ 2019 Senior Report notes, “Although more younger seniors (aged 65 to 74) report a high health status, the rate of certain unhealthy behaviors and outcomes is increasing.” In a 15-year comparison (2002 to 2017), the 2019 Senior Report found that among 65- to 74-year-olds:
- Obesity is 36 percent higher;
- Diabetes is 36 percent higher; and
- Excessive drinking is 42 percent higher.
Given the above trends, it’s no surprise that the numbers for older adults with hypertension are significant too. According to CDC data:
- 61.1 percent of men age 65-74 have and/or are being treated for high blood pressure;
- Likewise, 67.4 percent of women age 65-74 have and/or are being treated for HBP; and
- Nearly 75 percent of men and women aged 75 and over have hypertension as well.
But it’s not all bad news. The 2019 Senior Report also noted an 11 percent rise in seniors who report very good or excellent health and a 22 percent decline in the death rate among seniors. Healthcare providers can focus on keeping healthy seniors well while driving greater engagement among the rest.
Align Healthcare Marketing for Seniors’ Expectations
Where can healthcare organizations begin? Not by relying on superficial changes to existing marketing materials, such as larger font sizes and pictures of older adults. Instead, providers need to address the real issues that are a top priority for seniors (and for many other healthcare consumers), including convenience and ease of access, which can be more problematic when transportation isn’t readily available due to economic factors or health issues.
Additionally, seniors are looking for specialized, age-appropriate services. And above all, they desire positive patient experiences.
Then, with those priorities in mind, hospitals and other providers can focus on timely, engaging healthcare marketing for seniors.
- Improve the relevance of messaging using psychographic segmentation — Patients may share demographic traits like age, sex or diagnosed health conditions, but that doesn’t mean they think alike. The c2b psychographic segmentation model classifies individuals into five, distinct segments based on what they believe when it comes to health and wellness, what they expect in terms of communication to support decision-making and what motivates them to engage in healthier behaviors. This allows hospitals and other healthcare organizations to improve the relevance of their marketing efforts.
- Create personalized experiences — The older generations didn’t grow up in a self-service world. Unlike younger generations that are comfortable with impersonal, automated navigation on a phone or website, older generations appreciate live interactions. Make it easy for seniors to reach a real person without running a frustrating gauntlet of automated instructions.
- Use multiple communication channels to maximize healthcare marketing reach — Senior patient acquisition strategies should not be limited to traditional print and broadcast channels. Recent Pew Research has found that 73 percent of adults age 65 and older use the internet, and research from 2017 also showed rising tech adoption among the 65+ set. While only 17 percent of adults aged 80+ have smartphones, 59 percent of adults aged 65 to 69 do. And with more Baby Boomers still set to join the ranks of over-65's, the number of smartphone-savvy seniors will only climb. Social media is attracting seniors too. Today, 34 percent of older adults use social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.
- Keep it simple — Seniors may be embracing technology, but they’re still wary of it. Make sure that your website and apps are easy to navigate, utilize white space and use plain language. Explainer videos are useful for helping seniors understand complex procedures or promoting health and wellness best practices.
As the saying goes, “Age is just a number.” Many seniors today stay physically active well beyond retirement. Healthcare marketing for seniors should embrace that attitude, emphasizing how better nutrition, healthy habits and wellness makes it possible to live life to the fullest at any age.
For more on psychographic segmentation as it relates to patient acquisition, download our whitepaper.