Exploring Generational Marketing and How It Impacts Patient Engagement

Exploring Generational Marketing and How It Impacts Patient Engagement

Exploring the differences between each generation enables healthcare providers to tailor their patient engagement programs to their audience. Millennials value patient feedback or reviews, Generation X is looking to access healthcare conveniently, Baby Boomers utilize online resources before consulting a healthcare professional, while Silent Generation prefers in-person services and medical advice. Learning these differences improves patient experience, making your services more accessible and specific to your patient needs.

When providing quality healthcare, it is vital to consider patient engagement. However, generational differences pose a challenge in ensuring patients receive appropriate care. Healthcare providers must understand each age group’s needs, especially with technology causing further gaps. This blog post investigates how generational marketing impacts patient engagement and demonstrates how healthcare providers can use this information to enhance the patient experience.

How Healthcare Companies Can Use Generational Differences to Their Advantage When Creating Patient Engagement Programs

Customizing patient engagement programs to fit generational communication preferences can significantly impact participation. By applying generational marketing to your strategy, you show patients how their healthcare providers are working to address their individual needs, thus improving engagement. Knowing your target audience is essential to customizing your program. The first step before launching is to understand which generation will respond best to your offer.

Utilizing technology to implement patient engagement programs can be advantageous for some generations. Millennials and Generation Z prefer to engage with a healthcare provider online, so utilizing digital engagement strategies within the program is necessary. However, surprisingly, Millennials are slightly less likely than other generations to use devices such as Fitbits to track their health. Knowing which age group will benefit is crucial since older generations can be unwilling to utilize online services for healthcare.

Understanding the best time to post on social media for your targeted age group is crucial when using online methods. Consider each generation individually. Since most Millennials work full-time, you will likely receive the highest engagement by posting during lunch or after business hours. On the contrary, the Silent Generation typically does not use online resources, so launching a patient engagement program online may not be successful. Generation X can be the busiest, taking care of young children and caring for their aging parents, so posting when they likely will have downtime will be most beneficial.

Since Millennials crave connection and relationships, incorporating social media into your patient engagement program is essential. One way to do this is by using question-and-answer segments. 

Given that Generation Z is constantly using technology, providing access to online resources is vital, especially for mental health and wellness. Sharing educational health news is a way to engage Generation Z and meet their expectations regarding healthcare. 

Generation X is often willing to switch healthcare providers to improve health outcomes. Showcasing other patient results, with their written consent, is an effective way to capture the attention of this generation.

How to Tailor Your Patient Engagement Initiatives to Different Generations

For healthcare organizations to ensure they tailor patient engagement programs correctly to each generation, they must understand the various preferences of the respective age groups.

Old patients walking using walker in rehabilitation center

We will begin by exploring the Silent Generation—born between 1928 and 1945. The members of this generation are the most likely to follow medical advice from their doctor. The Silent Generation rarely performs research, instead taking medical advice as fact. When tailoring patient engagement initiatives for the Silent Generation, consider that they prefer traditional face-to-face healthcare services. It is unlikely that online resources will make them feel comfortable.

Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, differ from the Silent Generation, as they are more willing to utilize technology to better their health. This generation tends to research a health condition before consulting their physician. Providing accurate and up-to-date health news can significantly reduce confusion for Baby Boomers.

The next generation, born between 1965 and 1980, is Generation X. Being the generation that comprises 33% of the workforce, having convenient access to healthcare is a top priority. This generation naturally performs a lot of their research out of curiosity. Physicians recommending credible resources would be beneficial for them. Like with Baby Boomers, incorporating health news into your patient engagement program will capture their attention effectively. Moreover, making your services as convenient as possible is vital for meeting the needs of Generation X.

Millennials comprise the generation born between 1981 and 1996. This generation uses traditional healthcare the least and typically utilizes healthcare services during emergencies. Apart from that, they are much more likely to take advantage of services such as telehealth. Millennials value patient reviews highly when choosing a healthcare provider, and connecting with their provider is a must. To engage Millennials effectively, consider using patient feedback and question-and-answer segments to showcase your company’s authenticity and incorporate patient reviews.

How to Measure the Success of Your Generational Marketing Initiatives

After implementing patient engagement programs, healthcare companies can use social media analytics to measure the success of each program. Using data is vital to understanding whether the patients are responding appropriately and engaging fully in the program. By running social media campaigns and using a landing page, you can easily see where the program needs improvement. 

To take it one step further, companies can foster patient-centered care by asking for feedback directly from the patients and incorporating it into their programs. By listening to each patient, engagement will rise once implemented further. Gathering patient feedback can be accomplished by using surveys and polls.

Another good way to measure the success of your patient engagement program is by researching your competition. Knowing what your competition is posting can provide valuable insights into what your target generation responds to best. If your patient engagement program differs from your competition’s and isn’t producing satisfactory results, try emulating your competition to improve outcomes.

Generational differences have proven to impact the success of patient engagement strategies. To effectively launch a patient engagement program, healthcare companies must have a comprehensive understanding of the various communication preferences of their patients. Healthcare organizations should review their current patient engagement programs and tailor them to fit the individual needs of the different generations. If you believe leveraging generational marketing in your patient engagement programs through social media marketing could be beneficial, contact us to discuss effective social media management strategies.


Enlace Health. (n.d.). Healthcare Through a Generational Lenshttps://www.enlacehealth.com/healthcare-through-a-generational-lens/ 

Integrated Healthcare Executive. (2016, May). How Generational Factors Impact Patient Engagementhttps://www.hmpgloballearningnetwork.com/site/ihe/article/how-generational-factors-impact-patient-engagement

Mottl, J. (2016, March 2). Patient views of health engagement vary generation to generation. Fierce Healthcare. https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/mobile/patient-views-health-engagement-vary-generation-to-generation 

Delaney Atkinson

About the Author

Delaney Atkinson

Delaney is a Bone Marrow Transplant Nurse in Alberta, Canada. She is also planning to go travel nursing in the USA very soon. When Delaney isn’t writing healthcare content blog posts, she enjoys walking her dogs, reading self-improvement books, and enjoying new experiences.

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