Millennials have been described as the new “boom” in healthcare marketing. Born between roughly 1982 and 2003, millennials number 80 million, and as they reach the age where they are responsible for finding their own medical care, they are attracting the attention of marketers. A recently released Makovsky Health report indicates that millennials are more comfortable using digital to manage their healthcare needs than other age cohorts. I believe that from a local search perspective, marketers should pay close attention to how millennials use digital — but do so carefully and without making blanket assumptions.
Image Credit: Mobile Commerce Press
Let’s take a look at two interesting data points from the Makovsky Health study to understand how millennials may or may not affect your local search strategy:
Millennials Use Mobile
According to the study, millennials are more likely than any other age group to want to use mobile apps to manage their health. Overall, 66 percent of Americans would use a mobile app to manage health-related issues. These findings correlate with other research that shows millennials expect to use mobile to meet their health needs and expect their physicians to do so, too.
Providers should adapt their local search strategies to adapt to millennials’ mobile habits. For instance, healthcare providers should make their essential location information easily findable through mobile devices. And they should ensure their local listings feature the kind of information that millennials are most likely searching for via mobile, such as urgent care. Make sure your local page makes prominent any emergency services you offer. Provide a clear call to action and easily found name, address, and phone (NAP) data so that the searcher can obtain needed treatment quickly. If you provide any transparency in pricing for emergencies, make that information easily found.
Millennials Are More Open To Social Media
The report suggests that millennials are more open to social media as a way of interacting with the Healthcare community. But being more open to social media does not necessarily mean being an enthusiast. According to the study, millennials are five times more likely to trust a pharma-sponsored social media platform than those aged 66 and older. But before you add social media content to your physician page or hope to accumulate fans via Facebook Places, note that only 31 percent of millennials are likely to trust such content (versus 6 percent for those aged 66 and older).
In the case of social, providers should indeed pay attention to the data and understand it. You don’t want to be blind-sided by a trend. But proceed with caution and first take care of more pressing local search needs.
The lesson here: take a close look at the data, cross check it, take note of it, but don’t necessarily adapt your local search strategy. Even in the case of mobile usage data — which suggests strongly that providers embrace mobile to court millennials — before you take action, take a step back and understand your patients’ needs. Survey them. Talk with them directly. Find out not just how they are incorporating digital into their behaviors, but also why.
How are you courting millennials via local search?