5 things to consider when marketing healthcare to women

Why pink is not a strategy and other helpful marketing tidbits

While developing a campaign for one of our clients, we uncovered five insightful nuggets about the dos and don’ts of marketing to women. We understand — not all women are the same. Our insights will help you avoid falling into “trope traps,” and ensure your marketing is compelling to women.

No matter who you are marketing to, your hospital or health system should strive to be authentic and honest in its messaging. This is especially true for women, who are less likely to trust your organization if it’s being inconsistent. That’s why we created this list, to help you avoid having unproductive marketing faux pas in your next campaign.

Let’s dive right in:

Not So Pretty in Pink

For decades, organizations have been relying on the color pink to attract women to their products and services, but it’s proven to be an unreliable method. In 2017, it’s ridiculous to assume that women are attracted to the color pink because it’s “soft” or “pretty.” Women have just as many choices on the color wheel as men, and some women really dislike the color pink. Additionally, content is more important than color. Women are interested in personalized messages that speak to them on an intimate level. You can’t slap the color pink on a women’s health ad and call it a day. It is a bit irresponsible and kind of lazy.

Bridget Brennan, CEO of Female Factor, a marketing firm, told AdWeek, “ If it’s not raising money for breast cancer, it just seems like someone somewhere in the company thinks pink is catnip for women. But it’s just getting a little old, and women expect a bit more than that.”

We agree.

Insight: Pink is not a “woman” strategy

Aim to inspire

We’ve seen some compelling marketing campaigns within the last decade or so, such as  Alway’s Like a Girl campaign or Dove’s Real Beauty campaign. These campaigns were an instant success because they drew on real emotions and addressed issues that women can relate to on a personal level. If anything, we’ve learned that women respond to honest and authentic messaging. Recently, Audi released a commercial during the Super Bowl that addressed gender pay gap issues. No surprise, it wasn’t well received. Many audience members felt it was self-serving since they’ve never taken a stance like this before. Contrast this with a recent campaign we conducted for Bellevue Woman’s Center. We surveyed real women and asked them “What’s different for women?”  Using their responses and real life experiences, we created a compelling marketing campaign that was supported by the community. Watch the video here.

Insight: Real inspires women  

Family is optional

Women are often depicted as mothers or wives in advertising. For instance, the recent Mr. Clean Super Bowl ad depicts a woman instantly attracted to an animated Mr. Clean character as he does household work. Although it was regarded as one of the most memorable ads of the evening, it certainly wasn’t making any bold political statements. Quite the opposite. The ad reflects gender roles that many men and women do not identify with — the tired housewife, the lazy husband, etc. However, this is not an accurate representation of our society today — and women are the first to notice. Today, women are more independent than ever before, with more women earning college degrees than men, and in many cases, they are the breadwinners of their households. To create a successful, inclusive campaign, consider showing a range of women in your ads.

Insight: There is no stereotypical woman

Socialize more

It’s no surprise that women use social media more than men. According to Health Grades, women use social media to help them make healthcare decisions.  They also use it to share health-related stories, both positive and negative and seek advice on these sites. It’s important to monitor your social media channels and make sure you are keeping up with customer service. If someone posts a negative complaint on your Facebook profile, respond to them swiftly and reassuringly.

Insight: Socializing with women can pay off

Be mobile friendly

Women spend more time on their mobile phones than men. According to a new study from Time Inc. and Nuance Digital Marketing, 60 percent of women say that their mobile phones are the most important devices in their lives and using their mobile phones positively affects their attitudes. So what does this mean for you and your healthcare brand? Include mobile ads in your marketing. But be a bit more clever than creating a banner ad. Consider other forms of mobile marketing, such as promoted posts and sponsored content.

Insight: Mobile moves women

Read more about our “It’s Different for Women” campaign.