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A Better Way to Reach Women at Risk for Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness

It’s been said that the first step towards change is awareness. Judging by the amount of pink being worn around the country, Breast Cancer Awareness month is hammering that message home.  While awareness may no longer represent a challenge, getting women to respond to awareness and educational efforts made by healthcare organizations is still a challenge. Patient engagement is not the same as patient activation.

How can you motivate women to take the next step towards prevention and early detection? Certainly not with an approach that treats consumers the same just because they all have two X chromosomes. Psychographic segmentation offers healthcare providers the necessary insights to develop meaningful campaigns and materials that activate healthcare consumers.

Five Different Approaches to Connecting with Women

Segmentation is nothing new when it comes to marketing. But when you take a deeper look at your target audience – beyond demographics or socio-economics – you begin to identify differing attitudes about healthcare and wellness, motivating factors and communication preferences that need to be considered when you plan your next campaign. Here are five ways you can customize your communications to achieve higher activation and engagement levels.

  1. Balance Seekers, representing 18 percent of the population, are pro-active and wellness-oriented. They are, however, very independent, electing to consider multiple sources of information rather than relying on healthcare professionals alone for advice. To appeal to this audience, healthcare providers might consider sharing content via social media, perhaps in collaboration with an established group like #BCSM.  Or, a hospital could weave breast cancer awareness into a sponsored women’s fitness or nutrition class.  
  2. Willful Endurers do not change habits easily. Over a quarter of healthcare consumers fall into this category, so hospitals and other healthcare providers find themselves particularly challenged by this self-reliant, doctor-averse segment. Moreover, the 2015 c2b Consumer Diagnostic found that the majority of patients with breast cancer fall into this segment.  Since they are more focused on the present than the future, hospitals might find more success with campaigns that allow for more immediate activation. In cities across the country, for example, MammoVans—mobile mammography units—deploy in parking lots of grocery stores and pharmacies. This allows healthcare providers to connect with women in the moment.
  3. Priority Jugglers may match the Balance Seekers in numbers, but there are few similarities beyond that. They are proactive only when it comes to their family’s health and needs. When it comes to their own health, they tend to be reactive, not taking time out for personal wellness. Since they are so focused on fulfilling the needs of others, hospitals and other healthcare providers might do well to motivate the desired behaviors for prevention and early detection of breast cancer by running a campaign that asks the question, “Who cares for your family if you aren’t around?” By emphasizing that the Priority Juggler’s health matters most to the people she loves, you have a better chance of connecting in a meaningful way.
  4. Self Achievers are very proactive when it comes to wellness. They shouldn’t be ignored when it comes to awareness and education campaigns—it is nearly a quarter of your target audience—and as long as you have the educational resources, checklists and other tools Self Achievers need to make smart decisions, you’ll have their attention. Just make sure those materials are available digitally!
  5. Direction Takers, the smallest segment (13%), are definitely looking to hospitals and other healthcare providers for guidance. They often fall short, however, when it comes to follow-through because they find it hard to fit recommendations into their routine. Convenience-based outreach, like the MammoVan example, may make it easier for Direction Takers to conform to physician advice, but they will also expect to pick up the latest education brochures on their next doctor’s appointment.

These are just a few of the ways you can customize your approach to drive not just awareness, but true engagement leading to activation. With the use of psychographic segmentation and a strategic marketing plan, you can execute awareness and education campaigns that build in multi-channel tactics and variable messaging so that you reach your entire audience in ways that will motivate each unique individual.

Psychographic Segmentation and its Practical Application in Patient Engagement and Behavior Change


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