It’s no secret that many men avoid going to the doctor. Here's how healthcare marketers can adapt their methods and messaging to reach them.
About 40 percent of men skip annual check-ups, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Not only does this mean that these men are at greater risk for an undiagnosed chronic condition, it also means that healthcare marketing efforts may not be very effective at reaching this segment of the population.
When it comes to connecting men with a healthcare message, it may be time for marketers to shift tactics. Here are a few ideas for consideration based on our experience.
Give Them What They Want
As is the case with any successful healthcare marketing campaign, it is essential to speak the target audience’s language. True North has helped clients develop campaigns promoting men’s health by aligning the topic with interests outside of healthcare, like parenting, exercise, grilling and cooking, and sports.
For example, one direct digital campaign produced by True North connected an annual collegiate basketball tournament to a client’s promotion of vasectomies. The campaign encouraged men contemplating the procedure to schedule during the month of March so they could stay home to recover while watching basketball on TV.
Another True North client produced a quarterly eight-page publication that read like the newsstand magazine, Men’s Health. The publication regularly featured giveaway promotions to a local sporting goods store and personal question Q&As with area doctors, which made the physicians seem more accessible and relatable to readers. This magazine distributed to the community in conjunction with a second title that featured content geared entirely toward women.
While an entire publication or campaign designed to reach men can be a powerful tool, it’s not the only option. Some True North clients routinely cover men’s wellness topics among other content—both digitally and in print. Several create publications with designated departments and/or themed issues specifically for men’s health.
At times, clients don’t recognize the need to market to men. In one instance, True North was able to help a client identify that focusing their marketing efforts on women and children to promote one of their locations may have been short-sighted. When the response rate to a direct mail campaign was lower than expected, True North leveraged the client's CRM to identify that the largest patient population in that area consisted of men ages 45 to 54. This led to diversifying the next direct mail campaign to include photography and messaging specifically targeting men within that demographic.
All the Right Marketing Moves
When it comes to marketing to the men in your area, consider expanding on a national theme. For instance, “Movember” is a national awareness campaign for men that connects the idea of growing facial hair during the month of November to understanding the risks and getting screened for prostate and testicular cancer, as well as mental health issues. Incorporating the Movember concept into your hospital’s outreach efforts for November is one way to encourage men to turn to your facilities for screenings and care.
Another approach to engaging men in healthcare conversations is making offices more welcoming to them. Think man cave rather than exam room. Whether it’s by offering complimentary Wi-Fi or outfitting the lobby with comfortable leather furniture, designing a space with men in mind—much like women’s health facilities do for their patients—could pay off.
Think outside the box. Do men need to be in your facility’s offices, or can you meet them where they are to fulfill their healthcare needs? Telehealth apps are one way to provide care to men for acute illnesses, while chronic disease risk can be addressed by setting up health fairs at workplaces or at community and sports events.
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