Friday, September 2, 2016

The Next Chapter Of Healthcare Marketing Is Emerging

Over the course of the last month and a half, we have been very focused working in retail and healthcare. I post limited blog content about healthcare despite extensively working in the category. 

We have spent a lot of the last six weeks working with the largest healthcare system that serves greater Detroit.  We have been helping them chart out future growth and specifically how that growth affects real estate and operations.

Healthcare today is not only going through a set of changing models related to health reform, but healthcare leadership is also encountering the effects of generational changes along with continued advancements related to technology. 

No question that both Millennials and aging Boomers are presenting opportunities.

I am entertained on one level by all the urban development that continues to expand based on Millennial-anchored planning models  Millennials who at this moment in time love the charm of live-work-play.

What many players in the urban development field overlook is that Millennials are coupling and having their first kids.  Gone quickly is the discretionary money to spend on a new app or another round of organic, environmentally friendly micro-brews.

This past week, I heard word that a past pediatric healthcare system client is focusing 100% of its marketing efforts against Millennials.  I do not find that as an “aha insight,” but those on the client-side apparently do.

Of course, if you follow the “drive-by” media, you are hearing claims that range from Millennials being the largest generation ever, Millennials deciding not to get married, Millennials electing not to have kids, Millennials electing to have kids – but outside of marriage and Millennials being trendsetters of a baby-bust.

Simple statistical facts challenge much of the “drive-by” media assertions.

Nearly 90% of all babies born in 2016 were birth by Millennials.  That percentage is expected to exceed 90% in 2017. More Millennials are finally coupling, getting married and moving out of their parents’ homes and now more 50% of Millennials actually have at least one child.

My assertion is that the vast number of pediatric hospitals… and their ad agencies… are limited in their understandings and preparation strategies for the change.  How the Millennial parents communicate, the media the agencies recommend, the relationship dynamics and the topical points of interest and dialogue engagement marketing strategies that emerge… are likely to be “out-of-whack!”

Bill Creekmuir, a gentleman that I was blessed to meet and in some ways is a mentor of mine, sent me a link to a study that was released by KPMG.  Bill served as CFO of one of the top House & Home corporations in the U.S.

The study tracked the impact of what it calls the “new consumers” emerging in the marketplace and it’s not too surprising to discover that Millennials make-up a significant portion. 

What’s particularly interesting is what the study explored related to health and wellness in which the report specifically notes two distinctive drivers – an emerging consumer focus on “sustainability” and emphasis on “health and wellness.”  The report goes on further to talk about how these drivers affect operational and financial models.  There is limited “digging deeper” in connecting the two.

Are all Millennials engaged in a physician-centric, physician-guided relationship? No.

Are all Millennials actively involved in proactive a wellness-focus regimen?  No.

And if I replaced “Millennials” with “Baby Boomers,” would the answers change?  No.

BUT… there is a far greater share of both generational groups engaged in health and wellness and variations of physician alliances that similar age groups in the past. And that percentage is expected to grow.

When I interact with healthcare marketers and healthcare agencies, I get a kick out of their “drive by” strategies that focus around social media.  I truly do not make this up. I am sure that the healthcare CFOs must love their marketing teams who advocate shifting all the marketing dollars away from “mass media” to “free” social media.

The deeper dynamics of “sustainability” and “health and wellness” are rooted in emotions that circulate around “self-destiny,” “immortality,” and “directive control.”  All of which are proactive that further translates to rational deliverables of “prevention” and “early detection.”

Healthcare providers today are beginning to explore the opportunities emerging.

Three weeks ago, I had lunch with a good friend of mine that is a primary care physician who is also an internist.  He wanted to get my thoughts on opening up a “wellness management” center adjacent to his practice.

The hospital CEOs that I am working with in Detroit are actively engaging in real estate assessment in the context of “treatment” versus “wellness-prevention” service centers.

There is a study that I am beginning to launch that specifically explores provider perceptions in the context of “coaching” and “guidance” roles versus “dictatorial” and “treatment” roles.
What I will leave for readers of this post to think about are several ways in which healthcare plays a more significantly broader market role than many perceive and understand.

In what ways do the deeper dynamics of “sustainability” and “health and wellness” impact another service category like financial services?  Is debt manageable and real estate investments sustainable?

To what degree will the desired, natural balance of high-tech and high-touch impact how advisory council is delivered? 

Where is investment delivery better fulfilled… among Boomers who are beginning to face the health challenges of aging or the Millennials who are emerging as the family-centered households of the here and now?

Is one’s personal fulfillment of “self-destiny” really something that is self-defined and self-achieved or in actually, a “group task” among the socially connected Millennials?

The one thing I certainly know is that when I have my 7-year-old nephew around, I get my share of exercise… as well as a context of the world around me that is a whole bunch more accurately perceived than behind those corporate office walls!