From “Doctor knows best” to “I know best,” consumers are taking a bigger role in managing their health.
If you’ve scrolled through Instagram at any point in the last 2 years, you know that wellness is all the rage. In fact, it’s now a $3.7 trillion global industry. There has been a dramatic shift in the global conversation from health to holistic wellness. Consumers are obsessed with self-improvement of the “whole person,” with a new focus on areas like clean eating, clean sleeping, mental health, skin health, fitness, hydration, and stress levels.
As consumers take a bigger role in managing their health, they demand more information about the food they eat, the medicines they take, and the make-up they wear. Consumers are increasingly doing their own research first, relying less on the advice of doctors or advertising, and as such, rewarding brands that are transparent and forthcoming with meaningful information about their company and products.
We’re also seeing a shift within some healthcare systems from a fee-for-service (FFS) model to a value-based care (VBC) model, an alternative that focuses more on quality of care than quantity. Value-based models reward better outcomes and lower spending, rather than promote the use of additional unnecessary tests and procedures. Brands that can facilitate meaningful interactions between HCPs and patients have an opportunity to succeed in this value-based landscape.
Enabling this shift among both consumers and healthcare professionals is the proliferation of health tech and devices that track vitals and promote healthy habits. The use of health and fitness apps grew by over 330% between 2014 and 2017, with over 75% of active users opening a health and fitness app at least twice a week. Consumers appreciate brands that support their efforts with meaningful integrations and incentives to help support them on their wellness journeys.
As part of this quantified-self movement, consumers are not only tracking their behavior to learn more about their health, but are also turning to tech that tells them when and how to take care of themselves, from a smart water bottle that blinks when you need to drink water, to a smart watch that reminds you to periodically stand up. And there are new products on the market everyday – health tech was pervasive at CES 2018, addressing everything from sports to skin to sleep, and even more serious conditions like cancer.
The growth in digital health tools, data, and products alludes to a more important trend in the healthcare space – gone are the days of simply popping a pill. Today’s patients and healthcare providers want to be a part of the health journey, and brands that enable this engagement are more likely to build meaningful connections with these consumers.
Pharmaceutical brands have already begun creating Community Pages on social media to discuss diseases instead of the drugs themselves, allowing HCPs and patients to get involved in the social conversation. Retail pharmacies are even starting to shift services toward digital health to become one-stop shops for healthcare services, especially in more remote rural areas where access to care may be sparse. This expansion could mean more opportunities for brand partnerships that will help increase meaningful content and consumer engagement. Brands and marketers can also use a myriad of behavioral economics techniques to help consumers make the right choice for their health, intercepting, rather than interrupting, patients at key moments of decision.
As patients learn more about their health with the vast amount of data now being collected, brands have an opportunity to engage in these meaningful moments. Especially now, in this age of meaningful brands, it’s not just about reaching sales goals, it’s about helping consumers live their best life and reach their health and wellness goals. That’s meaningful media.