A Healthcare Marketing Check-up: It’s Her Economy

If you were asked what buying group drove the world economy, could you answer correctly? According to Harvard Business Review, it’s women and they control $20 trillion in annual spending. These numbers represent a market that is double China and India’s growth markets combined.

It is certainly a curious and enigmatic thing why companies continue to underestimate the female consumer – and worse, patronize and stereotype “her” in marketing messaging specifically aimed at women. And healthcare is no exception to this. In fact, according to early insights learned from WomenSpeakWorldwide.com’s What Women Want survey, healthcare marketing is in the top three industries doing the worst job of meeting women’s needs. Financial services and Technology/Electronics are the other two leading contenders.

Study after study reveal one major insight into the world’s largest market: Women feel underserved. They feel undervalued in the marketplace and underestimated at work. Organizations that cater to women by responding to them technologically, functionally and emotionally will win in the long term.

One example of a big brand in the financial services sector winning big with women is Citibank. Surely you’ve seen the rock climbing commercial for Citi’s Thank You card – the song with the musical refrain “Somebody Left The Gate Open,” the putting off of a marriage proposal to climb a rock instead? Everything about this ad is right on. The use of double entendres with nylons, shoes and a rock challenges what we typically see in marketing targeted to women. And the climbing is real. The ad agency used real rock climbers, not actors or stunt people. Even the fact that the woman pays for the entire trip is in itself a breath of fresh air. Citibank has hit the mark with this one and hopefully we’ll begin to see others follow suit.

If we in healthcare marketing would take the time, like Citibank has obviously done, to understand the pain points in a woman’s world, we would be able to provide better ways of communicating and serving this powerhouse buying group responsible for making most of the healthcare decisions in this country. Some commonalities I’ve found in the research I’ve done on marketing to women boils down to a list of three pervasive challenges afflicting them:

  • Managing her household and finances
  • Too many demands on her time
  • Not enough time for herself

The fact is, women rule the world. Or at least control the purse strings. Therefore, I’ve gathered some additional data on women that will hopefully reinforce just how powerful this buying group is.

  • 85 percent of all purchasing decisions are made by women.
  • 51.4 percent of the US population is female.
  • In 31 percent of two-income marriages, women out-earn their husbands.
  • 1 out of 11 American women own a business (U.S. Department of Labor).

Source: GirlPowerMarketing.com

And four even more pertinent statistics:

  • 90 percent of families’ healthcare decisions are made by women.
  • 91 percent of women say that advertisers don’t understand them.
  • 66 percent of women feel misunderstood by health care marketers.
  • 58 percent of women are annoyed with how advertisers portray their gender.

Source: Greenfield Online for Arnold’s Women’s Insight Team

Women continue to dominate when it comes to accessing information via a mobile device:

  • 45 percent of women have a smart phone.
  • 23 percent of women download a health app.
  • 52 percent of women access health information by phone.

Stats courtesy of PewInternet.org. Download the Pew Internet Mobile Health 2012 Report for more key findings on the mobile health market.

Some facts on the making of Citi’s rock climbing commercial:

Business Insider interviewed Citi’s agency about how they filmed the commercial. Click here for that article.

AcrobatAnt Healthcare Marketing & Advertising
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK


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