I am an individual who is your worst consumer nightmare if you keep marketing to me like an old fool. I am not a demographic marketed for services I do not need, based solely on assumptions of age.
A funny thing happens when you get older. Brands, especially those in healthcare, suddenly decide that based solely on age, that one is now in need of senior services, specialized care, and other age-based items. I particularly enjoy the direct mail pieces for Medicare supplement insurance from Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare and others with the rhetorical question, “Are you turning 65?” in the headline.
Really? Do I have a choice in whether I’m turning 65? I never imagined it was a possible choice. And here is the big one for me, Consumer Cellular, your ads portray “seniors” as bumbling fools who need help to understand that “new-fangled technology.” Nonsense. Just nonsense.
Age-based segmentation is wrong on many levels. Age-based marketing does not reflect the new market realities of how someone of any age uses technology, their experiences or expectations as individuals, as well as how they relate to the world, their beliefs, self-perceptions, attitudes, and lifestyles’. Your “seniors” use and are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, etc.
And just because I reached that magic age, I did not become an invalid, incapacitated or suddenly in need of “senior services.” I do not suddenly need a geriatrician. Hospital, if you understood who your user is, you would have seen I already have a primary care physician and have been using for health care system for over 20 years. Get a clue.
In this age of personalization with the wealth of segmentation data available, it is sheer laziness on marketers to rely on the old traditional age-based segmentation assumptions. I even propose to you, that relying on age-based segmentation and assumptions of the age group and their needs, is a form of racism and bias that perpetuates age-related stereotypes in society.
It’s time for marketers to stop their dependence on outdated and irrelevant age-based assumptions and segmentation and become people-oriented marketers. Becoming an individual-oriented marketer meeting their needs and not assuming will lead to brand growth and success.
The sooner you realize and start removing traditional age-based assumptions and segmentation from your marketing efforts; the more effective your marketing will become.
And even better, by dropping age-based segmentation, your messaging will become more relevant, more personalized, and more effective. You won’t be reinforcing age-related biases and discrimination in the society either.
Now, it isn’t that hard, is it?
On another note, I will be taking a small few weeks break from posting. I am having retinal detachment surgery on August 13, and my vision clarity, as well as writing, will be difficult at best for a while. I appreciate you reading Healthcare Marketing Matters, and I will be back writing again as soon as I can see clearly.
Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist and thought-leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters is read in 52 countries and listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs, and Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing & social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, call Michael at 815-351-0671. Opinions expressed are my own.