Marketing to Millennials

Marketing to Millennials
Marketing to Millennials

Pharma brand managers seeking closer ties with the 74-million-strong Millennial demographic should read this month's roundtable “Engaging the Digital Natives,” and a study released as we went to press. Marketers may find the two helpful in honing a message. Hint: mainstream health ads probably won't appeal to this group.

For mid-October's “Millennial Mindset: The Worried Well,” Allidura Consumer and GSW surveyed those aged 13 all the way up to Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers.

When it comes to the study's namesake—the Millennial—the exercise revealed these insights: The HCP is not necessarily the answer, as 84% trust people they know personally; 37% are likely to self-diagnose with problems they don't have, suggesting that the generation that grew up with the web is stressed from information overload.

Takeaway—you need to key in on Gen-Yers' social tendencies and offer support without adding to the anxiety which ready access to research has already caused. Not surprisingly, Millennials prefer tools to information, a la Sanofi's and AgaMatrix's IBGStar glucose monitor that plugs into a user's iPhone.

For a deeper view, our Leadership Exchange on reaching the digital native plumbs some of the attitudes that seem to fly in the face of “ask your doctor”:

They're the oomph behind the sharing economy: Gen-Y's distrust of the establishment is one reason behind the success of upstarts like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb. “Millennials are really powering that economy because of their increased trust [among Millennials with other Millennials] and maybe even increased distrust of people who aren't their friends, and that don't have a social profile online, and are a brand they've heard of over and over again,” said Derek Flanzraich, founder and CEO of healthy-living site Greatist.com.

They tend toward self-treatment: Millennials exhibit “a greater prevalence to reward,” said Allidura's Danielle Dunne, to “take a time out, treat myself to kind of deal with different stress levels.” Dunne said Allidura's research spiked, “such that Millennials were unique in that regard.”

They're off the “grid”: Nielsen's John Zatwarnicki said his own research has revealed a “slight distrust towards large corporate entities,” but at the same time Millennials demand a certain level of corporate responsibility. Once that bar is met, their loyalty toward product or service was “off the charts” compared to other generations. “It's sort of like saying, ‘If I buy into your message and I'm going to support the product, you better do the right thing.'” He summed up the mindset this way: “'I'm a little off the grid…if I'm a Millennial…but when I am connecting with something larger, I want to make sure there's a heightened sense of involvement from that entity.'”

Their demands offer a way in: “Millennials are definitely confident and in many ways entitled, right?” continued Flanzraich. “There's this sense of, ‘I don't just want the company to produce great products that have amazing advertising that are super tech savvy and totally get me. I also want them to be sourced humanely and smartly. I want the company to stand for a really important mission and value.'”

It struck me that some of these seem like characteristics that are discordant with some of the traditional ways the pharma industry seeks to reach audiences, but which may actually be in concert with the direction our industry is heading. What do you think?


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