4 ways pharma companies can reach millennials

Each generation is known for certain trends and characteristics. The silent generation - born between 1928 and 1945 - grew up during the Great Depression, so they're thrifty, patriotic and loyal. Baby boomers - 1945 to 1964 - came of age during a time of change in the country. They're idealistic and stand up for what they believe in. Generation X - 1965 to 1980 - began to move away from the beliefs and loyalties of their predecessors and are focused on individuality. Millennials - 1980 to early 2000s - are highly involved with technology and want to improve society and save the world. This latter group is now reaching the age of adulthood and starting families. Because of this, pharmaceutical companies will need to change their ways if they wish to market products to them successfully.

1. Use the right platform
There is an abundance of platforms on which pharmaceutical companies can reach their target audiences. However, the one they choose all depends on the recipients of the message. Newspapers may be read more by the older generations, and televisions appeal more to baby boomers and Gen Xers. If pharma hopes to advertise to millennials, they must use their platform of choice - mobile devices and the Internet. Millennials have grown up with access to both technologies. In fact, they are the first generation to have access to the Web throughout their lives. Because of this, millenials, also known as Generation Y, are always on the go, and its members want relevant information when and where they seek it. This efficiency in communication is demanded in all aspects of life, LinkedIn contributor Andrew Hoffman explained.

Millennials have access to countless devices that help them get the information they need.Millennials have access to countless devices that help them get the information they need.

To reach their millennial audience, pharma companies need to become active on both the Internet and mobile devices. This may mean creating social media pages and mobile applications or making their websites more mobile-friendly. However, with these platforms, pharma must make adjustments. They'll have a limited amount of space and time to communicate their messages, so they'll have to find the best way possible to participate in digital advertising.

2. Focus on wellness as a whole
While previous generations may want to fix one problem, millennials want to focus on situations as a whole. This trend doesn't only apply to their work responsibilities or personal goals, it also relates to their view of health, even if reports aren't at their highest. According to a study from Allidura, GSW and Harris Poll, only 42 percent of Gen Yers would say they're healthy and 48 percent claim they're happy. However, these rank as top priorities for 95 and 97 percent, respectively, of millennials.

"Health and happiness rank as top priorities for 95% and 97% of millennials."

Gen Y isn't taking the traditional route of visiting doctors to get healthy. They focus on the foods they're putting in their bodies, the activities they participate in and how they're doing mentally. While seeing a primary care physician has fallen by the wayside, visiting a therapist or psychiatrist is increasing, with 35 percent of millennials making appointments.

Because of this, pharma companies will need to adjust their marketing strategies. Instead of focusing on one condition, they will have to show how certain medications or devices will improve health as a whole. Millennials want to see how their lives will improve overall, not just how one part will get better. To fully engage Gen Y, pharma has to create an emotional connection with ad recipients.

3. Be transparent
Never has it been more important for companies to be transparent. Businesses should be open about where their products come from and how they're made. Consumers have the technology to fact-check and research, so they will find out if a company is being truthful. Millennials are more focused on where their items are coming from than ever before. According to the survey from GSW, Harris Poll and Allidura, 42 percent and 36 percent of Gen Yers will pay more for foods made with all-natural or organic ingredients. Approximately 33 percent of millennials feel it's important to avoid artificial ingredients. However, they're also focused on sustainability and the environment, and they'll trust the brands that share their beliefs and provide this type of information.

Pharma companies should share the same openness when using direct-to-consumer advertising, PM360 contributor Tyler Durbin claimed. They should not only give facts about risks, uses and ingredients, but they should also describe the process these medications and devices went through to reach consumers. Share previous customer experiences, humanize the brand and express the business's values and goals. Millennials will be more likely to trust companies that have their own identity and moral and ethical codes.

To build brand trust and loyalty, companies must be open about their practices.To build brand trust and loyalty, companies must be open about their practices.

4. Capture their attention
The previous steps won't matter if you can't create engaging and appealing content. However, there's a fine line between catching someone's eye and overwhelming them with facts and images. In a focus group National Public Radio held with Southern California millennials, the organization discovered that subtlety can convey a message better than blatancy can. Loud and outlandish advertisements can turn Gen Yers away. Instead, they want commercials and ads that will tell them a story before pushing their products on them. If they can teach them a new skill or give them extra information, millennials will feel an even stronger connection.

Millennials need the same products as their predecessors. However, traditional marketing methods may not work on the younger crowds. Pharma companies will need to reevaluate their health care advertising.