January 11, 2023
The next generation of consumers dominate today’s digital society: Gen Y (millennials) and Gen Z (Generation Alpha). These sizeable, younger age groups have grown up experiencing boundless technology at their fingertips. And we can expect this trend to continue, as data reveals that the rate of tech-forward generations won’t be slowing anytime soon:
According to the 2020 US census, the adult population ages 18-44 will grow by roughly six million, or 9.5%, by 2030.
This statistic is meaningful because it emphasizes the need for businesses to adapt to changing circumstances. Now, because of the immediate availability of products and services online, companies are no longer in control of the business-consumer relationship. Rather, younger generations—with unlimited access to companies online—dictate the dynamic with an extraordinary supply of buying power.
There are a few things healthcare practices can do to get these younger generations’ attention. For more information, here are a few ways your practice can attract the next generation of consumers for better growth in a digitally and socially evolving society.
In 2022, millennials (age from 26 to 41) remained the largest group in the United States, making up roughly a quarter of its population. Gen Z, or anyone born after 1996, ranks as the third-largest cohort behind millennials and Baby Boomers.
Unlike their Baby Boomer counterparts, millennials and Gen Z-ers have spent most of their lives surrounded by technology, only knowing a digitized world. The digital generation is used to having fast access to entertainment, social media, and everything they need—from takeout to car repairs.
In the healthcare industry, it's quickly becoming a standard to meet the expectations of these increasingly prominent younger generations. In particular, the 2020 pandemic introduced telehealth to a highly receptive population, of which 40% stated they would continue to use these virtual services. Along with offering telemedicine, your practice can implement other digital solutions like online scheduling, text message reminders, and paperless intake forms to accommodate today's patients.
But before you can offer these services, millennials and Gen Z-ers need a way to find you online. You'll have difficulty attracting new patients if your practice isn't visible on search engines.
Today, a reliable practice management system should include a range of digital solutions, including a way to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You'll rank higher in search results through software that helps your practice collect quality online reviews.
In addition to the visibility you gain from them, having your reviews displayed online adds a layer of honesty and vulnerability to your practice—something highly valued today. In reality, Gen Z-ers and millennials are notorious for conducting thorough research about brands. Over 40% of both generations prefer online reviews.
The next generation of consumers depends on feedback because they value authenticity. They don't fully trust corporate-directed marketing and think traditional advertisements fail to reflect the reality of everyday life. Online reviews reveal the true quality of your practice through what they believe is an honest lens.
And as statistics put it bluntly, they'd rather hear from others before they hear from you: 89% of millennialstrust friends and family over what businesses say. Furthermore, 84% prefer user-generated content about businesses. Thus, healthcare influencers could attract more attention than a TV commercial.
Even with this data, you shouldn't be discouraged from marketing your practice; you just have to take a different approach. Reach out to younger patients on digital platforms like social media and display ads.
Remember that it's important for your messaging to be transparent and honest, not performative. Don’t tell patients what you think they want to hear to win them over. Instead, inform them about the negative implications of treatment or how certain medications can impact their everyday lives. With today's consumers, being genuine gains trust.
Along with showcasing authenticity, it’s important to note that the consumers with dominant buying power right now are the most ethnically, racially, and sexually diverse generations ever to exist. They're also extremely cause-driven and motivated to fight social injustices.
And it matters to them—a lot—that businesses participate in making changes for the better. According to a survey, it’s becoming increasingly important for companies to take a stance on social issues. Approximately 83% of Gen Z-ers and 76% of millennials feel that businesses should stand up for a cause. Conversely, only 59% of participants 41 years or older share this sentiment, indicating a significant shift between generations.
To reach more progressive young consumers, your practice can engage potential consumers by championing diversity, highlighting health issues affecting marginalized groups, and providing education and resources that combat healthcare disinformation.
Sharing meaningful core values could earn your practice more loyalty from Gen Z-ers and millennials. They are known to base their consumption habits on their beliefs. Showcasing your real-world impact (such as how you treat your employees or the ways your practice is eco-friendly) can go a long way toward gaining consumer patient loyalty.
Ally Your Practice with the Next Generation of Consumers
With a rise in technology and rapidly evolving social standards, the generations with the most buying power have stressed the need for healthcare offices to adjust its operations, communication channels, and marketing strategy. Reliable software can provide many of these solutions, including visibility online, and land your practice on younger consumers’ radars.
Transparent marketing, honest patient reviews, and open support for important causes can likewise attract a generation that’s careful with how they spend their time and money.
Insightful statistics have revealed that the growth of digital, socially conscious consumers isn’t slowing down, and they’re holding all the cards. So if your practice wants sustainable growth in the coming years, it must play by a new set of rules.
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