Illustration depicting marketing to Gen Z

As a proud member of Generation X, I’m tired of hearing about Generation Z. Aren’t you?

Turn on the news or look online, and it won’t be hard to find something about them. Do we really need another article about how they are different from the generations that came before them?

I want to say no. But if you are a healthcare marketer, overlooking the impact of Generation Z on the industry comes with serious risks.

The oldest members of Gen Z are transitioning from college to their first jobs and starting to make healthcare decisions independently. A recent report from Accenture found this group to be increasingly dissatisfied with the traditional healthcare model. In fact, 45% do not have a primary care provider.

This generation will likely change how healthcare is delivered in the future. Gen Z can show us how to communicate with and attract new patients in this digital world.

Why marketing to Gen Z is critical

Let’s meet Generation Z.

Gen Z refers to individuals born loosely between 1996 – 2012, after the Millennials. With more than 2 billion members worldwide, they are the most racially and ethnically diverse population segment.

According to a recent Pew report, this younger generation sees diversity as good for society. They primarily live in urban areas, are more progressive than those who came before them and are comfortable using gender-neutral language.

Gen Zers are the first “digital natives” — individuals who grew up in the information age. They do not remember a time without the Internet. Instead, these so-called “Zoomers” consume digital information quickly and comfortably through smartphones, laptops and wearable technologies.

And according to a 2021 Bloomberg report, Gen Z has more than $360 billion in spending power.

Gen Z will reshape marketing

A recent report from EarthWeb investigates how Generation Z consumes media and what they look for in the businesses they support. According to their research:

  • Nearly 99% of Gen Z own a smartphone
  • Over half prefer socially responsible companies and brands
  • 85% turn to social media daily, favoring YouTube, Instagram and TikTok
  • Over 58% check their emails more than once a day
  • Around 60% want to see real individuals in advertisements
  • Generation Z’s average attention span is 8 seconds

In the last few years, savvy marketers have realized that traditional marketing techniques do not have the same return on investment (ROI) they once did. Instead, there has been a distinct shift to digital marketing, focusing on web, video and content marketing. This is the space where you’ll find Generation Z.

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How to market to Gen Z

The marketing strategies you put into place for Generation Z will translate into new and exciting ways to reach all your constituents. Here are some ideas to consider when marketing to Gen Z.

1. Be authentic. 

Generation Z uses their spending power to support brands that resonate with them. This is the perfect space for healthcare organizations.

Now is the perfect time to create a strong brand voice that sets your hospital or practice apart from your competitors. Share your mission, vision and values. Reinforce your brand through empathetic content that builds a connection with your readers.

Ensure your brand is consistent across your organization, with a distinctive look that immediately identifies your organization. Use photos of your caregivers and patients in real situations. And keep diversity in mind. Your visuals must reflect your team and the people you serve.

2. Leverage next-generation digital tools. 

From finding patient education to booking an appointment with a provider, Gen Z does things on their terms. Loyalty to one primary care provider isn’t crucial to this group. They are most comfortable using telehealth, walk-in clinics and urgent care centers when necessary.

Gen Z prefers mobile-friendly apps and sites that allow them to interact with their providers directly or quickly find the information they need. Does your organization offer these tools? Keep in mind how your constituents complete tasks when building an app or designing a website. Ensure your digital tools are responsive, with a clean design, straightforward navigation and robust search functions. If your patient experience is clunky, these individuals will look elsewhere.

3. Tailor your social media experience.

With 8 seconds to grab Gen Z’s attention, you must leverage the strengths of each platform to get your message across.

Each social media platform channel has a precise purpose. LinkedIn caters to job seekers and can help boost your organization’s reputation among your peers. Twitter is best used to share breaking news and commentary. Even its word count (280 characters) forces you to be sharp and on point. Instagram allows you to share a steady stream of engaging photos that show your organization in a new light.

Content created for one channel must be tweaked for each platform to resonate with viewers. Ensure your posts follow your brand standards and contain clear calls to action. And don’t forget to measure analytics at least quarterly to refine your strategy.

Let’s look at video specifically. Generation Z watches at least one video daily, so it’s no wonder that almost 88% of marketers see a strong ROI. Yet, video can be costly if you don’t have an in-house crew. Before you start filming, consider how to repurpose your work. Include 30-second snippets on social media and e-newsletters to draw readers to your website. Share them at events or broadcast them on in-hospital video screens. If you can’t reuse a video, it might not be worth the investment.

A final thought on marketing to Gen Z

The best way to stand out from your competitors is to tell authentic stories that resonate with your different audiences. For Generation Z, this is the content they crave.

Marketing and communications are changing. Splashy commercials and slogans don’t move Generation Z. These individuals want relevant information that empowers them to take charge of their health. And they expect your website, patient portals and apps to make that information accessible and easy to find.

For Generation Z, it’s not about your organization’s bottom line — it’s what you stand for. And we can all use a little more of that these days.

Find a content partner who’s 100% dedicated to healthcare. WriterGirl’s team of writers, editors and strategists can help you create custom content for health and wellness blogs, so you can better connect with patients and consumers. Drop us a line anytime to learn more.