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10 Ways Providers Can Improve Outreach to Female Patients


When it comes to making health decisions, women are often in the driver's seat. That means healthcare marketers need to learn how to address the particular needs of women.

My wife often tells me I should think more like a woman. For example: Be sure to be aware of your surroundings, because you never know when someone might be stalking you or planning to steal your handbag. Shred all those receipts because someone might be planning to steal your identity. Do more research before you buy. Cover the touch pad when you enter your debit card PIN. Sweat the small stuff, particularly when it comes to your family.

Sickcare, USA needs to pay attention. According to consultants posting in a recent HBR blog, health care consumers are overwhelmingly female and have huge unmet needs. In fact, they report that one-third don't trust their doctors.

Sickcare is not the only industry trying to get into the head of Venus. Automobile manufacturers have been trying for years.

One challenge for healthcare marketers is how to address the particular needs of women without being sexist or dismissive. Putting pink on your website won't cut it.

What's a provider to do?

1. Remember, we all buy emotionally and justify rationally. Probably more so with women.

2. You need to do a better job of understanding women sub-segments and their personal and family health needs and address them with a value proposition that works.

3. Use social media to listen, not talk.

4. Use the power of the grapevine.

5. Be sure you pop up and stand out when women do research on your product offerings, and, believe me, they will.

6. Get rid of the dead plants and outdated magazines in your "waiting room".

7. Get rid of your "waiting room" and use it as an educational and informational resource for time-strapped patients.

8. Moms are mobile multitaskers. Be sure to connect with mobile optimized offerings.

9. In case you haven't noticed, women are different. Take time to understand the differences in buying behavior.

10. Ask men what the women in their lives think, since, for the most part, the woman will be the decision-maker anyway.

Men trying to understand women goes back a long way. When it comes to sick-care and personal health marketing, plus ca change... vive la difference.

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice