HBR Health Consumer Segmentation

Harvard Business Review has an article “What Health Consumers Want” by Caroline Calkins and John Sviokla (both from Diamond Consultants) in the December 2007 issue.  I think they sum up one of the problems that I talk about with a couple of quick comments in the beginning:

“Yet the idea that companies might profit by segmenting customers to address their varied needs seems almost foreign to the health industry.”

“Companies can uncover areas of untapped value by analyzing patterns in demand for health products and services.”

They point out that looking at people from a health and wealth perspective at the same time is very revealing.  Which certainly makes sense as many people are predicting that these two markets will come together at some future stage.  Their research pulled out four consumer groups [with my summary of their text]:

  1. Healthy Worriers – receptive to new things, willing to change, look at dynamic between wage inflation and healthcare costs, look to employers for information, overwhelmed by choices
  2. Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise – fit, health conscious, financially confident, want choices, not scared of complexity, self-service tools important, service focused
  3. Unfit and Happy – manage own money but overconfident on health issues, don’t trust MDs, need tools and incentives to drive action
  4. Hapless Heavyweights – not particularly health or financially oriented, typically overweight, need support groups and penalties

Personally, I find it nice that they point out the fact that some groups want incentives and some need penalties.  I have blogged about this a couple times as one of the simplest examples of why segmentation and message flexibility is so key.  I think the first two have a nice opposite with simplicity versus choice.

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