Tough time targeting women, pharma? Think time-crunched and family-first: study

Marketing to women can be tough, but especially for pharma and healthcare, which need to understand that women put their health low on their priority lists. (Pixabay)

While women are a holy grail marketing target—and have been for years—they are a tough crowd for pharma companies. Not only do women tend to put their own health on the back burner, many say they don’t even have time to listen to health-related messages.

That’s according to a recent survey from GCI Health, HealthyWomen and Redbook magazine, which found fewer than half of respondents were willing or able to make time for their own health check-ups and screenings. And that’s while an overwhelming 83% of women direct their family health decisions.

That’s a problem for pharma marketers. While it’s not the industry’s fault women put their health way down on their to-do lists, it does mean drugmakers need to figure out how to talk to women on their own terms, GCI Health CEO Wendy Lund said via email. That means addressing women’s time-crunched information-seeking health queries—the way they typically tackle health issues when they do focus on it—promptly and succinctly.

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“The good news is that these women are open to self-help expertise. In the time they do have, they are actively seeking information,” she said. “It is critical that pharma marketers understand everything these women have going on in their lives so they can effectively communicate with them and educate them.”

The HealthiHer survey was meant to shine a light on how women ages 30-60 feel about their health and drive a movement #BeHealthiHer to encourage women to put their health first.

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GCI parsed through the general findings for insights and advice specific to pharma and health marketers. For instance, because work-life balance is key, Lund said, pharma marketers can and should shift its conversations with them to include health and why it’s important in that everyday balancing act.

Plus, it’s wise to accept that women might never make their own health a priority over their families’ health. Instead of trying to push them, communicate that it’s OK and offer ways to simplify and manage the health of everyone in the family.

And finally, “Understand barriers to compliance. If a healthcare regimen is too much of a burden, women are simply not going to do it,” Lund said. “Offer tools and resources to physicians and their patients on how to incorporate treatment and management into their patients’ busy lives.”