PharmaVOICE Blog Post

Health Mindsets Report from Syneos Health: How to Diversify Marketing Efforts According to Consumer Healthcare Attitudes

Posted By: Dan Limbach
January 15, 2019

That consumers are engaged with their own healthcare more now than ever before might make it all too easy to overlook how deeply their modes of engagement differ from one another. It sounds logical to assume that general engagement with information would reliably predict engagement with healthcare information, but a Syneos HealthTM survey uncovered exactly how and why this presumption fails. Understanding how, even across groups of people highly attuned to healthcare, consumers exhibit diverse ways of interacting with healthcare, empowers a healthcare marketer to access different types of consumers most relevantly and effectively. The Health Mindsets report from Syneos Health breaks down how to put these insights to practice.

Across engaged healthcare consumers, the survey illuminated a fundamental divide into two groups, which Syneos Health behavioral scientists have labeled as follows: invested individualists and disaffected communitarians.

Invested individualists are optimistic about healthcare systems and, accordingly, likely to consult doctors. They tend to be independent, and when they engage HCPs they do so confidently and make joint decisions with them. In the eyes of these individualists, health is within their control and not fixed by external factors.

By contrast, disaffected communitarians are skeptical about healthcare systems and tend to consult family and friends over HCPs, due largely to their belief that the system is condescending and built around profits rather than patients. To a degree, they tend to chalk up the state of their health to external factors, like God. Rather than follow a doctor’s orders, they’re more likely to make their own decisions about treatment.

These two different mindsets have important implications pertinent to healthcare marketing. The dichotomy highlights where different people seek information, showing which channels are best for accessing each people. Individualists, as noted, are likely to value information conveyed to them by doctors, but are less likely to be moved by healthcare information on digital and social media or by healthcare stories in the news. These latter two sources, however, are heavily relied on by communitarians.

The question emerges, naturally: how does one know which people are individualists and which people are communitarians? Addressing this, the Health Mindsets report from Syneos Health identifies some demographic factors which help predict which camp a consumer falls into. The most noteworthy one is age.

Younger consumers, those under 45, are more likely to consult a broad array of sources for healthcare guidance—such as digital and social media, family and friends—while older consumers, those above 45, usually consult HCPs straightaway. It makes sense, then, that older people display much better rates of medication adherence—at least 86% of the time on average—while younger people adhere to their prescribed regimens less than 60% of the time on average. It may come as a surprise that older consumers tend to be more activated when it comes to managing their health but, indeed, they are the main age group making up the invested individualist segment, while younger people, predominantly, are disaffected communitarians.

There are factors aside from age—including gender and caregiver status—that influence where a consumer falls along the divide. But packaging distinct communication according to target age group alone can break new barriers.

When accessing consumers over 45, an offering can be conveyed most efficaciously in a message of self-empowerment, appealing to the individualists’ agency and self-sufficiency. On the other hand, when communicating with consumers under 45, addressing a patient’s family and friends directly, through a social-centric marketing strategy that brings the patient’s social framework into the message, can provide a crucial missing link.

Meeting the two groups within their own zones of comfort, communicating with them in their own languages, and offering experiences congruent with their instinctive attitudes—these are important steps toward improved results. Understanding the fundamental variance among consumer health mindsets can greatly empower any healthcare marketing effort.

Read the report here.

About the Blog Poster: Dan Limbach

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