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Smart medical marketers understand that in order to be effective, they must provide education through communication. Messages must be crafted in such a way that they resonate with the business’s target audience. This can be challenging when the business provides services across different generations or when the family’s decision maker is a different generation than the patient.

Generational marketing involves understanding the buying motivation of different generations. Each generation has a unique set of “sweet spots.” Businesses must understand these nuances in order for their campaigns to have the greatest impact. Does this mean that businesses must uniquely target different age groups? Not necessarily.

The traditional way of thinking was to market to specific age groups. While this may have worked in the past, it falls short of meeting the diverse needs of the people. For example, the “Greatest Generation,” which includes those over age 65, most often rely on their physician for healthcare referrals. However, their children, the baby boomers, are often making healthcare decisions on their behalf. Therefore, businesses must craft marketing messages that resonate with this audience as well, which can include television and online marketing mediums.

When marketing to Generation X and millennials, the Internet should be a large component for delivering marketing messages. Both groups require nurturing in order to retain, especially the millennial generation, therefore social media and email marketing has a distinct value. Patient review sites are also important for providing valuable information on the experience one has with a provider, group or hospital.

If businesses limit their marketing to one specific age group without considering the bigger picture, their marketing efforts will most likely suffer. Each generation is unique and has specific needs from the businesses they engage with.

Rather than trying to make everyone happy with the same message or medium, businesses should diversify their marketing strategies.

Multi-channel communications should be employed that are personalized and “real” rather than generic. Marketing messages should resonate with both the patient and their caregiver, even if they are delivered in two different ways.

By helping consumers see themselves (and their loved ones) in the marketing messages delivered, businesses can cross generations and meet the varied needs of the people. This creates a more informed consumer, who in turn, is a more engaged patient.