Healthcare marketers may be talking to the people who use their products—but are they talking to the people who buy their products? It’s an important distinction, and in many cases, these two stakeholders may not be the same.
In a recent self-funded study, the healthcare research team at Market Strategies International-Morpace honed in on how caregivers interact with healthcare services and products in relation to the loved one they care for. The results are striking in their implications for healthcare marketers. Nearly one-third (29%) of the adult population is responsible for caring for another adult with a debilitating medical condition. Of this group, 52% buy over the counter (OTC) medications for their loved one and in many cases without their loved one’s input—which begs the question, why aren’t more healthcare marketers actively trying to connect with caregivers?
Despite the size and influence of the population, caregivers often feel overlooked and unsupported in their role. The vast majority we surveyed indicated that they were in need of information to help them in their caregiving role. What type of information do caregivers need? Not surprisingly, information on treatment options tops the list, but for time-poor caregivers, information on how to balance personal life with the care of their loved one is also a leading response.
The difficulty of connecting with caregivers is due to the extraordinary amount of time they devote to their loved one. Our study has found that almost half provide care daily, and the average duration of care is seven years. However, knowing the right ways to reach caregivers as well as a thoughtful marketing strategy could equate to a highly captive and loyal audience. Building a relationship with caregivers has the potential to provide returns for the duration of their caregiving experience and beyond.
How can healthcare brands build awareness and loyalty by helping caregivers be more effective and efficient in their role? Start with speaking to caregivers directly—and lend a helping hand. Healthcare marketers who get to know the caregiver population intimately and fill this unmet need for information and support will gain an advantage and potentially countless lifetime customers.
Read the full report on caregivers to better understand who they are, what they need and how healthcare marketers can bridge the needs gap.