Marketing Healthcare to Women: Google Search Joins with Mayo Clinic

February 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

Google has partnered with the Mayo Clinic to deliver health information through search in a totally new way to provide more information on symptoms and treatment.  This change, which began on February 10, will certainly set a new bar for how Americans seek information and medical facilities respond.  But it may also pose a challenge for marketers.

Screenshot 2015-02-18 19.46.10Rather than relying on information resulting from a regular search, Google has taken the position that health information needs to be presented in a different and more reliable way.  Mayo Clinic has partnered with Google to review all the information provided.  Now, when a consumer does a search, they will see an expanded box next to their Google search on desktop and more detailed information on the Google app.

And while this new search box will provide useful information, the change certainly impacts content and search strategy for marketers.  The addition of this information box to the search results may likely mean a reduction in clicks to the websites in the SERPs.  The person searching may not perceive a need to go to the website with specific information.  For instance, if a person needs information on heart attack warning signs, they may never go to a local hospital site, only relying on the Google box of information.  Video may be a strong tool in getting around the knowledge graph.  Currently videos are not included in the knowledge graph.   A 2011 study by AimClear demonstrated that video can receive as much as 41 percent more clicks in organic search over text results.

According to Google,  “the box will be filled with enhanced information culled from throughout the web, verified by multiple physicians and, finally, signed off by doctors from Mayo. Altogether, an average of 11.1 physicians have inspected and approved the information Google will now present.”

The information may include special illustrations, symptoms and treatments.  Google is beginning with 400 medical conditions which will inform about 10% of current health searches.

This initiative is huge in Google.  Here are some of the reasons why Google has made this change:

1.  One in every 20 searches on Google is about health information.

2.  Three-quarters of all health inquiries start with a search engine, according to Pew Research.

3.  The most commonly-researched topics are specific diseases or conditions, treatments or procedures, and doctors for health professionals.

4.  35% of US adult say that they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they have or someone else has.

5.  One in five internet users have consulted online reviews and/or rankings of healthcare providers/treatments.

6.  31% of cell phone owners, and 52% of smartphone owners, have used their phone to look up health or medical information.

The technology that Google is using is part of the Knowledge Graph which links searches to connected information.  Now, you currently see this technology at work when you see the box of information to the right of a search results displayed for a celebrity or famous personality.


Marketing to Women: Women Buying Healthcare Insurance

March 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

Insurance-Pills-Computer-300-00256C58Since the Affordable Care Act has been in place, a recent Gallup poll shows the number of uninsured American declined from 17.1% to 15.9% in the first quarter of 2014, the lowest level since 2008.  Half of Americans who remain uninsured say they will ultimately purchase health insurance as the March 31 deadline approaches.

The percentage of Americans who get insurance through a current or former employer fell nearly two points so far in the first quarter of 2014 to 43.4%. More Americans now say their primary health insurance coverage is through a plan fully paid for by themselves or a family member compared with at the end of 2013 — 18.1% vs. 17.2%. Those most likely to still be uninsured are under 34, Hispanic and make less than $36,000.

A recent presentation by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee reported that those purchasing healthcare are more likely to be female, aged 45-64.  Why is that?  Women use the healthcare system more regularly than men.  We have babies, we have a need for more preventative services, and we tend to be in charge of our family’s health.

Before the Affordable Care Act in 2008, the American Academy of Family Physicians reported that women want a health care system in which they and their families can conveniently obtain preventive services, see their personal physicians the same day they become sick, and receive coordinated follow-up care from hospitals, or care from other physicians.   A Kaiser Family Foundation report indicates over half of women have a chronic condition of their own to contend with.  Women need appointment flexibility – less than a third have the flexibility to change their paid work hours, but nearly 20% of them provide care for a family member.  These challenges continues to be important information for those seeking to satisfy their patients.

Marketing to Women: Top Ten 2013 Lipstick Economy Posts

December 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

A little retrospective on what you thought was most interesting in The Lipstick Economy this year. These are the top posts on marketing to women from this year.  A confusing year for women – Sheryl Sandberg told us to “lean in”,  Miley showed us how to twerk and Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer extended paid leave for parents and banned telecommuting.  

iStock_000012573383XSmallMarketing Travel to Women: Eight New Trends You Need to Know.  According to the Travel Industry Association, there is an estimated 32 million single American women who have traveled at least once in the past year, and some three in ten travel five or more times a year.  The average adventure traveler is not a male but a 47-year-old female and they have different expectations from travel than men.

Marketing to Women: Growth of Women in Marketing.  Almost a third of all Americans are employed in marketing-related positions.  That’s a staggering number if you think about it.  And it is a path for women to grow up the corporate ladder.   A recent study by a recruiting firm found that more top executives have come out of marketing than of any other area.

Marketing to Women: Why Marketers Don’t Understand Women.  For the first time in history, women now outnumber men in the workforce. Women are more educated, accounting for approximately 58% of students in two- and four-year colleges.   We account for 85% of all consumer purchases.   Purchases include homes, healthcare, cars, travel and computers.  And 96% list “being independent” as their single most important life goal.  But research says 91% of women don’t think marketers understand them.

M_BeyonceSuperBowl_101612Marketing to Women: Women Watching Super Bowl Too!  More women are watching the Super Bowl than the Academy Awards! In 2012, 54 percent of the roughly 111 million viewers who tuned in to watch the Superbowl on Fox were men, compared to 46 percent women.

Marketing to Women: Your Elevator Speech in 15 Seconds.  Sometimes the most important things are not addressed in business.  This handy guide to creating your elevator speech in 15 seconds is vital.  At New Year’s when you are at that party and someone asked you what you do, what will you say?

Marketing to Women: Six Things to Know About #Hashtags.  Hashtags are everywhere.  Some 24% of tweets contain hashtags. And 71% of people on social media use hashtags.  Even Facebook instituted the lowly pound mark that has become a strong marketing tool.  Do you know when to hashtag and not to hashtag?

Marketing to Women: One-third of All Women Are Single “Indies”.  It’s a new day for women and there is even a new term for the group that are over 27, not married, not living with a partner, and without children.  They are called the Indies.  This group has been growing and currently include some 31 million women, about a third of all adult women.  They now surpass the number of married moms!

Marketing to Women: Emotional Connection Important for Healthcare.  A recent study shows that 85% of consumers say it is important or very important to them to do business with a company for which they have strong emotions, per survey results from rbb Public Relations.  And the industry for which it is most important is healthcare.

Marketing to Women: Power to the PANKs.  PANKs, Professional Aunts No Kids.  They are actively involved in the lives of children around them.  In fact, one in five women is a PANK, or approximately 23 million Americans.  PANKs are roughly half of all the women who are not a mother or grandmother.  This group is actually growing as women are choosing to stay single or marry later.  PANKs spend $9 billion on toys and gifts for children annually.

Marketing to Women: Top 10 Culinary Trends for Restaurants.  The top 2013 trends included healthy kid’s food, iced tea, gluten-free, Greek yogurt and more.

Marketing to Women: 3 Hours at Doctor vs. 52 Hours Online

October 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

New research says that the average consumer visits the doctor three times a year but spends some 52 hours a year researching health information online annually.

Insurance-Pills-Computer-300-00256C58The average number of physician office visits per person is 3.19x.  Since most physicians actually spend only 15 minutes per patient, there is a role for other healthcare efforts to expand the physician experience through other efforts such as email, telephone care and even group visits.  According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 63% of women want a relationship with a doctor that knows their medical history.

Marketing healthcare is really marketing to women.

Learning the behavior of women in these situations is important because women make the primary healthcare decisions in 2/3 of households.

  • Some 59% of prescriptions are ordered by women.
  • Women spend 80% of all dollars in a drugstore.
  • 60% of all doctors appointments are made by women for the household.
  • More than one in ten care for a sick relative or parent.

While many online search occasions are prompted by physician diagnosis, it certainly means that consumers are not getting adequate information from their healthcare provider.

The research, conducted by Makovsky Health and Kelton among Americans aged 18 and older, was focused on behavior related to healthcare and prescriptions.   We tend to go to pharma-related websites when we are experiencing symptoms (16%), after receiving a diagnosis (51%) and before filling a new prescription (23%).

Some 24% of consumers use at least one or a combination of social media channels (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and blogs) to access healthcare information.

The most accessed online resources are:

  • WebMD – 53%
  • Wikipedia – 22%
  • Health Magazine Websites – 19%
  • Advocacy Group Websites – 16%
  • YouTube – 10%
  • Facebook – 10%
  • Blogs – 10%
  • Pharmaceutical Websites – 9%

Contrary to their search for health information, 33 percent of consumers have spent less than an hour researching information on the Affordable Care Act.

Marketing Healthcare to Women: The Anatomy of Content Marketing

March 11, 2013 § 3 Comments

Content marketing is important to healthcare brands.  For many reasons.  The idea of content marketing is to intersect the consumer with content that promotes an idea, spurs an action or engages the audience.  No, this is not cat videos or elderly people playing dueling pianos.  This is real information that consumers can discover for themselves.  It is a targeted marketing approach that has quality, original content at its heart – hence, the infographic below – The Anatomy of Content Marketing from Content Plus.

Here are just some of the important facts to consider:

wider reachHubSpot research shows companies that blog typically get 55% more visitors than non-blogging competitors. This might have something to do with the fact that such sites get 97% more inbound links than others, which is also beneficial for their performance in search engine results pages (SERPs).

McKinsey Quarterly found up to half of all buying decisions are driven by a word-of-mouth recommendation.

Around 60% of Twitter and Facebook users are more likely to recommend brands they follow, so small businesses should focus on building their fanbase via quality content so they reap rewards.

The majority of consumers say they’d much rather get to know a brand through reading articles they publish than checking out advertisements about them. And 60% of consumers said they felt more positive about a brand after reading custom content on their site.


Marketing to Women: Only 18% of Hospital CEO’s Are Women

February 19, 2013 § 3 Comments

Let the statistics speak for themselves:   Women make 80% of the healthcare decisions.  Seventy-three (73%) of medical and health service managers are female.   Women compose 47% of medical school graduates.  Some 32% of all physicians are women.   And  yet only 18 percent of hospital CEOs are female.  And even worse, only 4% of healthcare company CEOs are women.

The following presentation from Rock Health gives some of the perceived barriers to advancement in healthcare – self confidence, time constraints, ability to connect with senior leadership, family and education/skills.

While women are beginning to make upward progress, it is amazing that these types of gender differences still exist.  What do you think?

Marketing to Women: Helping Women Make Their Own Health a Priority

January 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

Guest Post by Scott Zimmerman


High-Tech Healthcare Engagement: Helping Women Make Their Own Health a Priority

Conventional wisdom tells us that women take care of everyone else before taking care of themselves, and research, including our own, supports this. You do it all—own businesses while having kids, running marathons, making family decisions, and earning degrees. And because you’re busy taking care of everyone else, you tend put your own health last.

In a study conducted on behalf of the American Academy of Family Physicians, 90 percent of adult women in the United States are responsible for making healthcare decisions for themselves and their family members. This includes spouses, children, and other relatives, such as parents and grandparents. Unfortunately, while you make care and treatment decisions, most of you aren’t following doctor’s orders. In fact, 81 percent of the women we surveyed in our TeleVox Healthy World study, “A Fragile Nation in Poor Health,” admitted they do not follow treatment plans as exactly prescribed by doctors.

Luckily, we live in a technological age that enables patients to communicate with doctors and nurses more frequently and with greater ease. Through mobile apps, text messaging, email, and voicemail, patients now have the opportunity to stay connected with their doctors outside of the exam room, making location and lack of time both issues of the past. Today’s digital media is advancing wellness efforts and strengthening patient engagement—all while saving time and money.

Our studies showed that women requested the highest amount of between-visit care—and when you consider that they are the primary caregivers in most homes—this makes complete sense. So it follows that, as the decision makers when it comes to healthcare, you need adequate knowledge and tools to help you achieve success in that role. One of our TeleVox Healthy World studies, “Technology Beyond the Exam Room: How Digital Media is Helping Doctors Deliver the Highest Level of Care,” revealed that 84 percent of women said receiving digital communication updates from their healthcare professional, such as text messages, emails or voicemails, are as helpful, if not more helpful, than in-person conversations.

We found that when women integrate doctor-patient communication into their daily lives, they look for physicians who are attentive, receptive and accessible. You want to know that your doctor is listening. Some women reported wanting doctors to take a few more minutes to just ask them about their day—How’s the family? How’s the job? What’s new? Personalized engagement efforts go a long way. “Technology Beyond the Exam Room: How Digital Media is Helping Doctors Deliver the Highest Level of Care,” found that 55 percent of women want the communication they receive from healthcare professionals to be relevant to them as an individual, with 51 percent reporting that communication received from healthcare professionals should be personalized with information that is tailored to their specific needs. Thirty-four percent of women would like all communication from their doctor to be personalized with their name, and 11 percent said that they would ignore or refuse digital healthcare communication if it is not personalized. Another 23 percent expect the communication they receive outside of the exam room to help them become or remain healthy individuals.

It’s these small, but meaningful touches doctors can do to help you make your own well-being a priority. Whether it’s through emails that provide health and fitness tips, text messages that remind you to take medication, or voicemails reminding you to schedule a yearly exam, you want doctors who genuinely care about keeping you healthy. Doctors need to remind you that it’s okay to prioritize your own healthcare.


Scott Zimmerman is a regularly-published thought leader on engaging patients via ongoing communication between office visits. He is the President of TeleVox Software, Inc, a high-tech Engagement Communications company that provides automated voice, email, SMS and web solutions that activate positive patient behaviors by applying technology to deliver a human touch. Scott spearheads TeleVox’s Healthy World initiative, a program that leverages ethnographic research to uncover, understand and interpret both patient and provider points of view with the end goal of creating a healthy world–one person at a time. 

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