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Cracking the Code of the "Invincible" Millennial

Millennials—born roughly between 1980 and 2000—are now the largest generation of adults in America, making up 73 million consumers. While the image of the Millennial persists as a 20-something college graduate addicted to social media and high-tech wearables, the reality is that many Millennials are nearing their 40s, with established careers and multiple children already in school.

It may feel like this generation is a difficult code to crack in terms of taking healthcare seriously. A 2012 study found that more than half of Millennials will delay seeking medical attention due to frustrations with the experience. Furthermore, more than three in four find that it’s easier to find information about a hotel than a medical provider.

Millennials are just like every other health-minded generation that came before and every generation that will come after. It just takes understanding their needs, beliefs, and ways of thinking to reach them effectively. The truth? Millennials are just as worried about their health as the generations who came before them and just as ready to engage in healthcare that they can trust.

Tip 1: Evolve Your Marketing Strategy

Millennials respond well to visual communication. Just look at the most common social media sites dominated by Millennials—Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok—to see that your marketing visuals need to be engaging, clean, and sometimes (but not always) irreverent.

Additionally, while print marketing can still be an effective means of advertising your onsite healthcare services, know that Millennials will almost always search online for more information, and that searching is often being done on a mobile device. According to a Pew Center study, half of surveyed Millennials say that they do most of their online browsing from their phones.

Additionally, they’re info-junkies: Millennials were arguably the first generation where “googling” became a shorthand verb for looking up something online. Millennials love researching things ahead of time and looking at various sources before coming to a consumer conclusion. They’ll often scour the Internet for everything they can find about your onsite services before deciding whether to jump in, including user reviews and third-party accreditations.

What does that mean for your online marketing? Highlight patient experiences or testimonials that will speak to the skeptical Millennial. Ensure that the information they’re looking forward is easily accessible, straightforward, and lacking in annoying pop-ups and submenus. When designing that landing page, infographic, or call to action for your onsite health center, ensure that it’s going to look as clean on a mobile device as it will on a desktop or in print. Otherwise, Millennials will just close the window and look elsewhere for healthcare.

Tip 2: Don’t Overdo the Generational Appeals

The tip above mentioned being irreverent in your humor to reach Millennials…but don’t overdo it. A Pew Center study found that Millennials score lower than any other generation in terms of believing that people can be trusted. That cynicism rose in large part after the Great Recession that began in 2007 and has not faded in the time since. This means that Millennials are not particularly ideological in their consumerism nor naïve when it comes to understanding what corporations want from them: their attention. This also means that you should push for transparency and pragmatism when it comes to convincing Millennials to do something you want, like pursuing healthcare.

Know that pushing too hard for their engagement—using memes, chasing trends, or relying too heavily on a nihilistic sense of humor—can often backfire. Millennials will see through the charade and decide that you or your services can’t be trusted. In this sense, generational humor is a lot like culinary spices: a little can go a long way.

Tip 3: Make Taking Action Easy

Having witnessed the explosion of the online marketplace, Millennials are both used to—and expecting—the consumer journey to be streamlined and intuitive. Consider Amazon’s design of 1-Click Ordering: the online giant removed the inconvenience of having to access a “shopping cart” page, which they realized was just another window that a consumer had to click through before getting what they wanted. As the name implies, 1-Click Ordering allows for a single click on the item’s page for the order to be processed, billed, and shipped to the address on file.

When it comes to making an appointment at your onsite health center, or refilling a prescription, or even messaging the onsite clinician, how many clicks does it take? When designing a call to action for Millennial patients, ensure that the call-to-action is as close to a single click as you can get it. The same goes for downloadable materials, wellness portals, or health surveys. If Millennials have to click through even a few windows to get what they’re looking for, they’ll avoid the process entirely.

Tip 4: Diversify Your Healthcare Services

Perhaps more so than any other modern generation, Millennials believe in a holistic view of health—and that means a holistic view of healthcare offerings.

If you’re only offering acute care or condition management at your onsite health center, your Millennial employees might go elsewhere to receive a more comprehensive suite of care. They care about services like fitness programs, yoga classes, alternative therapies that might feature herbal or dietary supplements, and mental health care. In fact, 80% of Millennials spend one-fourth of their disposable income on holistic wellness products, and 70% say that they are “doing everything” that they can to live a healthy life.

In this regard, you should aim to be a “partner” in their healthcare journey: providing the services they want and are most likely to use in pursuing a wellness-centered lifestyle. And consider feeding the info-junkie with educational services like podcasts, free webinars, and interactive learning around health that will keep them coming back.

Tip 5: Millennials Don’t Think They’re Invincible

It’s common to equate the frustrations in reaching Millennials with the idea that they—as a result of their relative youth—feel “invincible” when it comes to healthcare. But this is a myth.

According to research, Millennials worry just as much as their grandparents about their health. And they in part assuage those concerns by researching more about health and wellness information online than any other generation. The reality is that much of traditional healthcare—long wait lines, bloated online services, and narrow views of health and wellness—does not speak to their concerns as consumers.

And perhaps most importantly, bridging this gap means healthcare providers having the time to build a relationship with their Millennial patients. In the same way that Millennials value pragmatism and transparency as consumers, it’s important for them to feel that they are “a part of the conversation” when it comes to their health. Millennials don’t believe they are invincible, but they also don’t like being condescended to or felt as if their health is being dictated to them. Ensure that your onsite services are both marketed as, and perform, the vital function of working with patients to achieve holistic wellness.

With these tips in mind, you’ll find that Millennials are more than willing to engage in the onsite healthcare that you’re providing. And with their place as the largest workforce in America, you’ll likely see improvements to both health center usage and the long-term wellness of your employees.

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