Matt Carmichael

Healthcare Marketing: To Reach Moms We Have to Get Smart…Phones That Is

Becoming a mom triggers more dependence on smart phones. 

 A young woman has a baby.  And gets a smartphone.   That desk computer or laptop is pretty hard to manage with a baby on your hip.  And especially if you have two or three children.  But staying connected and having access is even more important.  Sharing those pictures and daily baby updates with family and friends is certainly essential.  So what do you do?  You get an iPhone, Android, Blackberry or other smartphone…  Or maybe an iPad.

A recent study by Babycenter cited research that states over half of new moms purchase a smartphone as a direct result of becoming a mom. The camera is a necessity as well as apps for getting things done and staying organized, social sites to stay connected to friends and family, and games to keep the kids entertained.   In fact, a study by Morgan Stanley estimates that in 2011 there will be more smartphones and tablets shipped than notebooks and desktops.

So for healthcare marketers, reaching moms should include a mobile strategy.    “If you are not reaching them through their mobile device, you have less and less chance to reach them at all,” according to Matt Carmichael in a recent article in Advertising Age.  And the study by BabyCenter also indicated there was a sizeable correlation between having a smartphone and moving toward a more digital mix of media consumption.  Forty-six percent of moms with smartphones have taken some form of action after seeing an ad on their mobile device.  And as reported in the Ad Age article, on average, moms with smartphones spend over 6 hours a day with mobile media, which includes email, mobile, web, apps, SMS and voice messaging.

Few hospitals have a well-defined mobile strategy or have even experimented with mobile marketing.  But in the future, it may become necessary for reaching moms. Moms are a key target for hospitals. They are the gatekeeper for their family’s healthcare and control an enormous amount of healthcare dollars.  Mobile is where they are.  It is the communication device they depend on.  It goes with them, stays with them, is the most convenient and fits into their hurried lifestyle. To build a brand and a relationship with them will mean having a mobile strategy. To reach them, we have to get smart too.


Hospital Marketing: Boomers’ Use of Social Media is Booming

Baby Boomers who provide care for aging parents are heavier users of social media than boomers in general.

Baby boomers are embracing social media.  Faster than any other segment. According to Pew Internet the number of 50-plus who use social networking sites grew 88% during the past year.  Now practically half of the adults over 50 regularly use social media.   In the more narrow 50-65 age group its almost three fourths.   Healthcare marketers are learning that social media can be a very effective way of reaching and connecting with baby boomers.

But those boomers who are caregivers to aging parents are even more likely to embrace and use social media. Age Lessons partnering with Comscore found that approximately 15.5 million of the 78 million boomers are caregivers.  They are split 60/40 female to male and the level of care ranges from daily phone check-ins to live-in help.

As reported by Matt Carmichael in Ad Age these boomer caregivers use social media an average of 150 minutes a month and view 70% more pages than average internet users. They are dependent on social networking sites for information because they have so little time for other types of socializing.  Their free time is limited and they are often restricted by the demands of caring for their parent(s).  It is often the easiest and fastest way to stay connected with family and friends.  They also use social media to validate and reinforce their feelings by finding others in similar situations and communities that provide support and encouragement.

The study also found this group is more likely to use the internet to find information, conduct research and make purchases.  The top sites for boomer caregivers are Facebook with a 91% reach, Amazon with 76% and Wal-Mart at 41%.  Twitter has 21% reach.

These caregivers are important influencers and decision-makers for not only their own immediate family’s health concerns but also for their parents.  This makes this group especially important to healthcare marketers.

Marketing to niches can be very effective.  They are more easily identifiable and the message can be very focused.  The use of social media, especially Facebook – whether in the form of a page or ad, can be extremely useful tools reaching this key demographic.