Not Your Parents' Healthcare Any More: Pitching Healthcare to "Young Invincibles" via the Web, Mobile Phones and New Media

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WellPoint and the Mayo Clinic bypass traditional marketing and product development paths to create and sell youth-centric healthcare services to the coveted 19-34 demographic, many of whom forego health insurance because of cost.

WellPoint and the Mayo Clinic bypass traditional marketing and product development paths to create and sell youth-centric healthcare services to the coveted 19-34 demographic, many of whom forego health insurance because of cost.

Mayo Clinic health news on YouTube and iTunes WellPoint health plan promotions on surfboards These two healthcare companies, anxious to curry favor among physically active, technology-savvy Gen-Xers, are test-driving these non-mainstream marketing channels. These companies shared the research and marketing behind Mayo Clinic InTouch, a cell phone health information tool, and WellPoint's Tonik, a health plan geared to the lifestyles and attitudes of "young invincibles," with more than 100 healthcare executives during a March 28, 2007 audio conference.

Sponsored by the Healthcare Intelligence Network, the audio conference drew participants from health plans, pharmaceutical companies, disease management organizations and healthcare advertising agencies. For more information, please visit

iTunes gives InTouch a 'thumbs-up;' The Daily Show plugs Tonik - Neither promotion was planned, but the separate media mentions created added buzz among "young invincibles" for the promoted products, said the product spokespeople. An unconventional naming strategy and multiple touch points - online, in print, on the street and at live events - combined to generate first-year sales of Tonik that were 849 percent above projected goals.

WellPoint views Tonik audience as "mature unsure," not "young invincibles"-- In-home affinity groups gave WellPoint and Grey Worldwide San Francisco, the ad agency behind the Tonik product, the insight they needed to classify this largely ignored group of uninsured. "[WellPoint] went into this with a lot of preconceived notions. One of those was that [the 19- to 34-year-old market] were the young invincibles," explained Shelley Patchin, WellPoint's director of advertising. "We found out that yes, that's slightly true, but there's really something else…that they were kind of more unsure. They were mature. They knew what they wanted in life but they were unsure how to get there, how to proceed." Ms. Patchin co-presented with Aric Hooverson, account director, Grey Worldwide San Francisco.

Mayo Clinic repackages content into GenX-friendly formats - Mayo arrived early on the podcast scene, says Lee Aase, Mayo Clinic manager of national media and new media. Aase describes what happened when Apple featured Mayo's podcast on its front page in 2005: "This [feature] increased our average daily site traffic … by more than 100 percent versus the previous month. The [podcast] downloads went up by 8,200 percent in the month between August 2005 and October 2005. And this was without any other promotion other than iTunes.

A self-described "borderline GenX-er," Aase created a video product demo for YouTube on Mayo's new cell phone-based health information tool, and also blogs on the subject. "We're just looking for opportunities like this cell phone application where we can build more of that relationship that used to be formed by people sitting around their television stations and having that common national experience," he said.

Cohorts Inc. defines demographics, validates strategies - "The first thing to keep in mind is that traditional marketing is not going to yield terrific results," said Scott Schroeder, president and CEO of Cohorts Inc. "They're inundated with media, very hard to reach, and diverse electronic and alternative media such as billboards are going to be great ways to reach them."

Case Studies Featured in "Healthcare for the New Generations: Understanding and Engaging Generation "Xers" and "Yers" Through Tailored Products and Channels" - The 90-minute audio conference features the experiences of the Mayo Clinic and WellPoint and the market research of Cohorts, Inc.. The audio conference is devoted to the use of new media channels to develop products and services to attract this generation and create a healthcare marketing message that resonates with them. For conference details and formats, including CD-ROM and on-demand rebroadcast availability, please visit

About the Healthcare Intelligence Network - HIN is the premier advisory service for executives seeking high-quality strategic information on the business of healthcare. Contact the Healthcare Intelligence Network, PO Box 1442, Wall Township, NJ 07719-1442, (888) 446-3530, fax (732) 292-3073, e-mail info @, or visit

"We're very excited about these new directions in healthcare products and communication. From this conference, we've seen that this demographic can cut through the waves of media messages to identify those most relevant. By grasping this early and tapping into the power of the Web and non-traditional media, WellPoint and the Mayo Clinic are positioning themselves as leading providers of healthcare products and services for this market."    

Please contact Patricia Donovan to arrange an interview or to obtain additional quotes.

Patricia Donovan
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