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Four Tactics for Engaging Women as Healthcare—and General–Consumers

By Feb 09, 2007

Women as consumers are different from men as consumers in so many ways. Men typically home in directly to their goal, while women generally meander and enjoy the journey. Women also tend to be multitaskers and jugglers trying to stay in control.

If you are a healthcare marketer, you must first understand women as healthcare consumers. You must know why health and wellness is important to them in their multidimensional roles as consumers, caregivers, career women, and community leaders. Here are four essential strategies to reach and engage women regarding healthcare:

1) Involve women in “coparenting” or creating your messages with you. Informal, interactive research that provides a springboard for spontaneity will provide you with the feedback you need to create more-transparent, empowering, and compelling messages for women. Women love to share ideas, spontaneous feelings, dreams, fears, and most of all, information. Today’s women are seeking information and readily sharing what they have read in health or self-help books, in magazines, and online.

To create a dynamic exchange of information and ideas and to maximize spontaneity, host research “gatherings” in settings such as coffee lounges, spas and wellness centers, living rooms, and restaurants. You may even want to create a mini “TV talk show” and discover salient issues that can propel your marketing efforts and build your business.

2) Position your health or lifestyle message in a woman’s “peripheral vision.” Neither a full frontal attack nor splashy, expensive product- or service-focused advertising will capture a woman’s attention and loyalty. Marketing to women successfully requires a careful consideration of their beliefs and values. This includes

• identifying creative approaches to connecting with the social and community causes that are important to women.

• aligning your brand’s essence and key messages to those social and community causes.

• reinforcing the role of a total wellness and lifestyle solution, rather than a product-centric or service-centric brand approach.

3) Target women in “life stages,” not “age stages.” Identify the life stages your targeted prospects are living in today. Maybe they’re in their “fitness” phase, which usually takes place early in a woman’s life, when it’s all about her own healthy body. Or your prospects could be in their “family-centric” stage, which normally ranges from their early 20s to their 40s, when family comes first and children are growing. They could be in the “discovery” stage, which is about refining and expressing who they are.

4) Think mother-daughter bonding. Strong intergenerational influences can be found between women and their daughters, and between women and their mothers. Information and advice, especially related to healthcare, is solicited. It flows freely from one generation to another. Reinforcing this idea, research from MedeliaMonitor recently revealed that 64% of women surveyed talk with their mothers on a daily or weekly basis. More than 41% said their moms were their best friends.

Women are newly empowered decision-makers, purchasers, and influencers. You can leverage that empowerment to your advantage. Building a brand, enhancing an organization’s or company’s reputation, and building trust takes more than sending out controlled messages that speak to women in their multiple roles. Winning their minds and hearts means connecting with them and with their influencers. This will give you greater credibility, visibility, and involvement in your targeted prospects’ lives.

Kelley Connors is principal of KC Healthcare Communications (www.womenshealthpr.com), a Norwalk, CT-based public relations and marketing consultancy.

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