Pharmaceutical digital marketing shake-up as millennials turn to web for self-diagnosis

Oct 24, 2014 | Search engine marketing

There’s a generational shift in patient behaviour as going online for self-diagnosis becomes a mainstream behaviour, bringing with it a shift in pharmaceutical digital marketing. Young adults in the US are switching to digital methods of self-diagnosis over more traditional approaches when it comes to healthcare, according to a new report. The poll, conducted by […]

There’s a generational shift in patient behaviour as going online for self-diagnosis becomes a mainstream behaviour, bringing with it a shift in pharmaceutical digital marketing.


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Young adults in the US are switching to digital methods of self-diagnosis over more traditional approaches when it comes to healthcare, according to a new report.
The poll, conducted by communications firm Allidura and GSW, quizzed 2,015 adult millennials, 508 gen Xers and 507 baby boomers to assess how different demographics handles health issues.
The Millennial Mindset: The Worried Well survey showed that 37% of millennial respondents – people aged 18 to 32 – sometimes end up with the wrong diagnosis.
This compared to 24% baby boomers (adults aged 50-68) and 26% of generation Xers (adults aged 33-49). The survey featured the opinions
This reliance on self-diagnosis can lead to a ‘search and stress’ cycle, with 44% of millennials stating that viewing health information online causes them to worry about their health. The figures are 32% for gen Xers and 24% for baby boomers.
Leigh Householder, chief innovation officer at GSW, said: “For millennials, the question isn’t who can help them be healthy, but rather what can help them. For brand marketers to be successful in reaching this audience, they must think about health and wellness the same way, and create solutions that inspire millennials to experience health at any given moment and throughout all aspects of their lives.”
Householder also pointed out the importance of mental health for this younger generation. The survey reported that 35% of millennial respondents believe seeing a therapist or psychiatrist regularly is important to good health, while the figure was 12% for baby boomers and 24% for gen Xers.
“To millennials, physical health is intricately connected with mental health,” concluded Householder.
Danny Meadows-Klue, president of the Digital Training Academy, added: “ Most pharma brands still operate in the world of 1990s marketing, relying on a field sales force and a meetings programme. With patients empowered to search for information through digital channels, the new battleground is in content marketing – and in regulated markets it’s about creating high value content that’s given to charities and NGOs to help support patients. Brands have the resources and access to the right KOLs, making content marketing a critical tool to consider for any digital pharmaceutical marketing strategy.”

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