Health, Wellness, and Lifestyle Marketing for 2020 and Beyond

John KadlicHealth and Wellness, Marketing, Perspective

Rise above the silos to craft winning strategies

It wasn’t too long ago that the healthcare, wellness, and lifestyle industries were viewed as mostly siloed spaces without much crossover. Now that narrative has shifted, and the consumers expect the integration of health, wellness, and lifestyle as they seek a more holistic view of wellbeing. For those in health, wellness, and lifestyle marketing, this shift has implications that extend far beyond individual messages, tactics, or channels. For marketers to succeed in this integrated view of health, wellness, and lifestyle, it demands rising above the silos and crafting nuanced strategies that appeal to and resonate with multi-faceted individuals along their entire customer experience journey. 

The lines between health, wellness, and lifestyle are fading. There’s a growing understanding that they all work together in service to personal wellbeing. For example, schools and curricula now strive to educate the whole student, and medical institutions are learning how to better treat the whole patient — not simply a collection of symptoms.

 “Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.”

—Designer and architect Charles Eames

Take the Mindfulness movement, for example, and its evolution from a strictly spiritual practice into one that is nationally embraced as and increasingly practiced in schools, workplaces, and halls of government as we better understand how our thoughts affect our overall wellbeing. 

Mindfulness and meditation is increasingly taught alongside mathematics and history in schools.

Reach for a deeper understanding of the consumer and her journey

This focus on overall personal wellbeing poses a new dimension to health, wellness, and lifestyle brands and their marketers. The interactions they have with their consumers are no longer confined to traditional norms. It requires a deeper understanding of the consumer and her journey. The points of impact and the ups and downs she might experience are more far-reaching. How and where you engage with her may be different now. While personas, segmentation, and journey modeling are still core tenets of the marketer’s toolbox, close examination needs to take place to assure that the full dimensions are being considered regarding a person’s wellbeing as that is increasingly how a consumer thinks about it herself. 

Think about it this way: If you are a health insurer, you’re protecting people by providing medical coverage for their partners and children and assuring them that if they get sick or fall, you will be there for them. You’re helping people live their best and most authentic lives — only possible when one feels protected enough to dream. So, an effective marketing strategy can’t be built on a silo that no longer exists.

It isn’t just “health” or “insurance” anymore. If you’re in the business of health, you’re in the business of wellbeing. You help people feel healthy, strong, and protected as they live the lives they want.

Drive exponential growth through this integrated approach

Colorado health insurer Rocky Mountain Health Plans (RMHP) provides a shining example of a marketing campaign crafted around the integrated concept of personal wellbeing. RMHP harnessed the brand’s unique connection to people in its community by telling stories of Western Slope neighbors living authentic, fulfilled lives — possible through the protection RMHP offers its customers. In designing their award-winning Life on the Western Slope (LOWS) campaign, RMHP took a deeper examination of their customer targets — as individuals with families, dreams, challenges, and goals, that extended far beyond simply considering them people that needed health insurance. They were able to authentically convey that they understood the Western Slope lifestyle better than any outsider and protect their neighbors better than anyone else. The resulting campaign resonated with their audience and neighbors beyond all expectations, helping drive a more than 75% increase in brand search queries year over year during their critical open enrollment period.   

Where to begin: Three fundamentals for new and continued success

There are three fundamentals that marketers in the personal wellbeing arena need to embrace in this new landscape:

  1. Source of Authority – how credible are you with your customer and how can you become the go-to source for your area of expertise? Are you affiliating with other credible sources, getting healthcare professional validation, becoming a thought leader, striking relevant endorsements and the like?
  2. Genuine Authenticity – are you open about your ambitions and transparent about your actions? Do you admit when you make mistakes? Are you building trust or hiding behind the guise of “purpose” but not living it?
  3. Aggregating Others – are you catalyzing others to engage with you and on your behalf? Are you creating micro-movements that generate momentum for your brand and resonate with consumers?

Today’s health, wellness, and lifestyle brands face fierce competition. By tracking strategies and approaches alongside the shifting narrative around personal wellbeing, brands can rise above the fray and forge real connections with their customers: connections that matter, and connections that last.