Marketing to the Millennial Patient


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A few months back, I was suffering from a particularly bad sinus infection.After days of muddling through piles of tissues, I realized I needed to get some medicine. I do not have a primary care physician, so I had no choice but to visit an urgent care center to get the prescription I needed.

When I searched for clinics nearby, ten urgent care clinics popped up. All of them had similar hours, services, prices, and convenient locations. With no prior information to base my decision off, I ended up picking the clinic randomly.

Before my appointment, I decided it would be a good idea to stock up on some Vitamin C. I reached down to grab my Emergen-C when I noticed a label on the box that indicated the company’s ties to an organization that provides clean drinking water to people in developing countries. Emergen-C’s cause-related marketing strategy certainly worked on me. I was very pleased to see my purchase going beyond the product and felt satisfied to have made a positive impact with my money. I decided then and there that Emergen-C would be my brand of choice.

Then it crossed my mind; why wasn’t choosing an urgent care clinic this easy?

As a Millennial, I want my brands to relate to me in meaningful ways. Emergen-C is not the only brand that uses this type of marketing. Some well-known examples of effective cause-marketing campaigns among Millennials are Tom’s, and Warby Parker, who have made a name for themselves as brands that give back. They engage in a “one-for-one” policy where each purchase of a pair of shoes or glasses also provides a pair for those in need.

These brands do exceptionally well among Millennials because we care about where our money goes. We want to feel like we make a difference with our purchases.

Millennials are an optimal audience for urgent care cause marketing. What works for retail can work just as well in medical marketing.

Why should urgent care clinics focus on marketing to millennials?

Here at Maru/Matchbox we conducted research around alternative healthcare sites. We found that Millennials are big users of urgent care clinics. One prominent study suggests that 33% of millennials don’t have a family doctor.

This could be for a variety of reasons. Many of us don’t have established doctors, because we are young, uninsured, between jobs, or all of the above. We also like the transparent pricing urgent care clinics provide. We’ve got enough student debt to worry about; we don’t want to worry about added healthcare expenses and we are a particularly price-conscious group.

These clinics are primarily for single case treatments- so they are better for younger people without chronic conditions. We also like the convenience and ease of a walk-in clinic. Waiting a week for an appointment doesn’t exactly jive with the generation of instant gratification.

What cause marketing strategies would entice millennials to visit one urgent care clinic over another?

Just as Emergen-C stands out in my mind as my brand of choice because I feel good about each purchase, urgent care clinics can do the same. I want to spend my money on healthcare services that give back and contribute to something bigger than myself.

Many urgent care companies are already engaging in various types of philanthropy, but there is certainly room for a more targeted strategy; especially towards Millennials.

For example, some innovative medical marketing strategies for clinics could be:

  • A promotion where each flu shot purchased at a clinic affords a vaccine for an underprivileged patient.
  • Engaging in educational outreach events on prevalent healthcare issues the community faces.
  • Providing free preventative care to underprivileged patients.

Ascribing an emotional significance to your brand empowers Millennials and will keep us coming back.

The healthcare landscape is rapidly changing and urgent care clinics are becoming increasingly popular amongst young people. Innovative marketing techniques that involve giving back not only differentiates the brand, but also builds valuable brand loyalty amongst the population you most want to target (us!).

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