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Inside Tips on Marketing Hospital Services to Boomers

Anna Webster, for HealthLeaders Media, May 4, 2011

It's well understood that the U.S. is teeming with a population that's older and sicker than ever. Quick facts: there are over 78 million baby boomers in the U.S. today. Six out of ten will have more than one chronic condition. The 50+ healthcare market is expected to grow 23% over the next decade, while the same market for those 18-49 will climb only 1%, according to research in Case Studies in Niche Marketing.

With these facts in mind, there is a booming (pun intended) opportunity for marketers to target the niche audience. Julie Sherman, senior director of brand services for Banner Health, offers practical advice for marketing for the aging population.

Step 1: Define the Audience and Goals

At the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center the key demographic is Phoenix, AZ metropolitan seniors as well as their families, with the target market age range set at 45 plus. Banner Health has been expanding service lines geared toward seniors such as orthopedics and cardiovascular services.

The cancer center is set to open in the fall, and Banner marketers are looking to create a buzz getting baby boomers involved.

"The number one goal is to build name recognition," Sherman tells HealthLeaders Media. "Our research indicated that when people were asked to name the top cancer institute only 2% named MD Anderson."

Step 2: Recognize Obstacles and Successes

"One of the challenges we're working to overcome worried well and the people are really at risk. With our CRM tool we're able to define who is at risk. How we used to do it was by putting an ad in the paper saying come one, come all --- techniques to weed out the worried well and target the audience who really needs these services," Sherman says.

On any direct mailing campaign, there will be multiple prototyped catered toward the at-risk patient population. It is not "one size fits all," Sherman says.

It's equally important to know what works. In Banner's case, events have been successful.

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