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Why Healthcare Retailers Should Use Psychographic Segmentation in 2018



Changes within the healthcare marketplace as a whole continue to affect healthcare retailers, such as pharmacies, grocers, equipment/device retailers and vitamins/supplements shops.  While these retailers have a wealth of shopper purchase data and some forms of market research, it may not be sufficient to achieve their sales goals and business objectives.

To successfully drive changes in the behavior of healthcare consumers, it’s important for retailers to better understand them, what they want and what drives them. But traditional market research only offers limited insight to retailers, especially when consumers are lumped into a uniform population.

Segmentation is a method of market research that divides healthcare consumers into groups, allowing retailers to get a better understanding of their target market. Approaches to segmentation include behavioral, socioeconomic and demographic, attitudinal and psychographic. Retailers rely on behavioral data — in this case shopper purchase data — to offer coupons, in-store promotions and anticipate inventory needs. However, such data only show what shoppers do, not why they do it.

Two shoppers may purchase the same vitamin product or OTC pain reliever, or fill a prescription, at a retail pharmacy. The behavior is the same, but the motivations behind that behavior can be very different for both of the two shoppers. If motivations are different, messaging needs to be different to elicit the desired response.

While all approaches to segmentation have their place, psychographic segmentation offers unique benefits to retailers in the healthcare industry. Here’s a closer look at psychographic segmentation in retail, how it works and the benefits of using this approach in a healthcare retail environment.


What is Psychographic Segmentation?

The challenges facing pharmaceutical manufacturing companies today are massive.

Like other types of market segmentation, psychographic segmentation divides consumers into smaller segments based upon shared characteristics. However, this segmentation method specifically groups together consumers according to communication preferences, priorities and motivations. Psychographics takes a closer look at the lifestyles, values, personalities and attitudes of healthcare consumers, classifying them in groups based on why they make decisions and behave in the ways they do.

By using psychographic segmentation, healthcare retailers can customize shopper engagement based upon the preferences and motivations of consumers, ensuring a higher rate of success.

We’ve identified five psychographic segments among healthcare consumers, which include:

  • Self Achievers: Wellness-oriented and proactive in healthcare; motivated by goals and progress measures; willing to invest what is necessary toward health and appearance.
  • Balance Seekers: Wellness-oriented and proactive in managing their own health; want choices and options; most likely segment to explore alternative/holistic medicine
  • Priority Jugglers:  Reactive in healthcare for self but proactive getting the appropriate care for family and loved ones; very busy and will sacrifice self for the benefit of others.
  • Direction Takers: Reactive but high utilizers of healthcare; prioritizes physicians and pharmacists as most trusted sources of health information; needs directive guidance.
  • Willful Endurers: Highly independent and reactive in healthcare; lives for the moment and are least likely to pursue preventive medicine; believes health issues are a “bridge to cross” some time in the future.

Each segment has its own communication preferences, motivations and approaches to healthcare, and understanding each segment on a deeper level can help healthcare retailers develop better marketing strategies for reaching each group.


The Big Marketing Challenges for Healthcare Retailers

Many healthcare retailers are struggling into today’s changing healthcare marketplace. For decades, healthcare retailers, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare institutions have marketed to health conditions, not to people. Instead of looking at how individual groups of consumers think and why they behave as they do, many retailers continue to look at health conditions and demographics alone in developing marketing strategies.

Along with marketing to health conditions instead of people, retailers in the healthcare industry tend to use a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. It’s easy to lump all healthcare consumers into one large group, but different consumers have different values, attitudes, and life experiences, which means they interact with companies in different ways. Retailers must learn more about consumers and find ways to build emotional connections with them.


Benefits of Using Psychographic Segmentation in Retail

Why should healthcare retailers begin using psychographic segmentation? Because it offers the ability to customize patient engagement so you can target your marketing efforts to different groups of consumers based upon their preferences and motivations. When one understands  shoppers’ needs and motivations, it is easier to create marketing campaigns that resonate with different segments of consumers.

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


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