The “Sandwich Generation ” has been described as people in their 30s and 40s who are caring for their aging parents as they support their own children. This generation is faced with a broad array of health-related decisions ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics, making them a critical target audience for any hospital marketer to understand. With the ongoing growth of Americans aged 65+, the number of people in the sandwich generation will certainly continue to increase in the coming years.
A recent study by BPD discovered that 1 in 4 adults identified themselves as THE SANDWICH GENERATION.
BPD RECENTLY CONDUCTED A NATIONWIDE STUDY OF 204 ADULTS WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE SANDWICH GENERATION. HERE ARE 4 KEY INSIGHTS:
1. THE SANDWICH GENERATION DOES NOT FEEL AS THOUGH THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM MAKES BEING A FAMILY CAREGIVER EASY.
When asked how easy the healthcare system makes being a caregiver, the respondents give an average score of only 5 out of 10. More than 20% give a score of just 1 or 2 out of 10.
BPD’S TAKE: There is no doubt that our healthcare system is complex. And it becomes even more complex when caring for multiple loved ones. Hospital marketers can ease the burden for caregivers through consumer-friendly education. For example, consider explaining why consumers may receive multiple bills for one hospital stay. We’ve found short, animated videos to be an effective form to deliver this type of information. Here’s one example.
2. THE SANDWICH GENERATION IS SKEPTICAL ABOUT A HOSPITAL THAT CLAIMS A DESIRE TO KEEP PEOPLE HEALTHY AND OUT OF THE HOSPITAL.
When asked how believable it is for a hospital to claim that its goal is to keep people healthy and out of the hospital, the sandwich generation gives an average score of only 5 out of 10.
BPD’S TAKE: Many hospitals express a goal of keeping members of their communities happy and healthy. While admirable, hospital marketers should recognize that consumers are skeptical about this type of claim. It is important to back up the claim with concrete examples of what your hospital is doing in this regard. Providing real examples (such as wellness programs and community outreach) builds trust and establishes credibility.
3. THERE IS A HEAVY RELIANCE ON GOOGLE REVIEWS.
When conducting online research to choose a hospital or health system, the sandwich generation relies more heavily on Google Reviews than hospital websites, directory listings (such as Yelp) and Facebook.
BPD’S TAKE: The sandwich generation lives in a digital world. Driving patient volume to your hospital requires much more than a website presence. Because medical decisions often begin with a Google search and are impacted by Google reviews, it is imperative to have a comprehensive SEO and reputation management strategy. For SEO, start by ensuring you have the appropriate technical build and coding, relevant content, and links to other websites. And for reputation management, be present and active on all review sites.
4. THE SANDWICH GENERATION RELIES ON THEIR OWN RESEARCH FOR THE HEALTH OF THEIR FAMILY.
More than two-thirds of respondents indicated that they rely most heavily on their own research for the health of their family. Interestingly, only about 1 in 10 rely most heavily on the recommendation of a parent or friend.
BPD’S TAKE: Given their heavy reliance on conducting research to make healthcare decisions, there is a significant opportunity to influence the purchase behavior of the sandwich generation. The key is to ensure you have a relevant and compelling message at the time and place the research is being conducted. One good tip is to ensure your marketing is strong in the mobile space.