8 min read

Contextual Marketing for Health and Wellness Brands

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People want to eat healthier, feel better and live longer. As a result, the health and wellness industry is on track to become a $5 trillion industry in 2022.

The concept of wellness isn’t new. It’s a concept that has evolved significantly over the years, and today it means different things to different people. To some, wellness is the opposite of illness or the state of being in good health.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, consumer focus on health and wellness has increased trifold pushing the wellness industry into overdrive. Perhaps, at no other time in recent history have people paid so much attention to keeping themselves and their loved ones safe and healthy. And the wellness industry has pivoted fast. There's a growing demand for wellness products and services, and plenty of companies are emerging to meet this demand.

Over the last decade or so, the global wellness movement has proliferated wildly, transforming every industry from the health sector to travel. Wellness has entered the collective psyche and has become entrenched in every aspect of society. Consumers have a broad view of wellness now. It's no longer just about fitness and nutrition but also mental health, emotional wellbeing, and even appearance.

A rise in consumer interest in wellness compounded by increasing purchasing power presents a tremendous opportunity for companies in the wellness niche. It presents the opportunity to gain a foothold in the market. At the same time, the market is getting more crowded by the day, and companies need to be strategic about how they compete.

So, the question now is: how do you market to the health and wellness-minded consumer? Let’s delve into this hot topic.

All marketing is personal.

The more you know about your customers, the better. A few decades ago, consumer markets were sales-driven. Marketers focused on changing the consumer's mind to fit the product. Nowadays, companies must be market-driven, adapting their offerings to fit their customers' needs, wants and preferences. This is marketing oriented towards creating rather than controlling a market. Most importantly, it leverages personalization to deliver value to your customers.

Consumers crave personalization.

Since consumer views of wellness are constantly evolving, it's essential to understand the market from a consumer perspective. Marketing needs to be contextual – it must be pertinent to the people it's reaching. One of the biggest mistakes wellness brands make when marketing their products and services is failing to define a target audience. Since every person is interested in living a healthy, better life, they figure that their offerings "are good for everyone."

The more you try to connect with everyone, the less engaging your marketing campaigns and brand messaging will be. Contextual marketing meets your customer where they are, and at the moment they need you the most.

The question now becomes:
how does your target consumer define wellness?

For the young and hip, wellness involves economic wellbeing and better appearance as well as getting the most out of life. In contrast, to a more mature audience, wellness is almost synonymous with better health. They think of health and wellness more holistically, as maintaining balance when it comes to physical health, mental wellbeing, and lifestyle.

You have to deliver the right message, to the right people, at the right time. When you have context and a clear understanding of your audience, you have a larger, more telling picture. You understand the little details that will make your message specific and, well, engaging.

That's the idea behind real-world contextual marketing: in an already saturated health and wellness market, the only way to differentiate your brand is by personalizing your product offerings, messaging, and marketing to your target audience.

Is 60 the new 30? The marketplace belongs to the older consumer. Collectively, they're the most affluent segment of society controlling nearly half of all US purchasing dollars. Their kids are grown up with families of their own, leaving them with higher levels of disposable income.

While marketers tend to court the 18-49 demographic, the world is actually getting older. People are living longer and aging radically different compared to previous generations. The "I've fallen, and I can't get up!" commercials of the 1980s have no place in modern marketing (or society at large). Today's retirees are starting businesses and charities, running marathons, and traveling widely.

The older demographic is active and engaged and just as deserving of the same uplifting marketing lauded on younger consumers. Older consumers are likely to transform the imagery, lifestyle, and experience associated with aging in many ways. For one, they have placed a premium on health and wellness. They’re living longer; why not lead better, healthier lives? Consumer approaches to aging are changing, and marketing tactics need to evolve in tandem.

Although the pursuit of healthy living is not unique to older generations, their approach to health and wellness is more holistic – based on the pursuit of not just "feeling well" but "being well." They are more acutely aware of the interconnection between their habits, their bodies, and the environments they inhabit. To them, self-care goes much deeper than a little “me time." When one area is out of balance, the effects could cascade throughout every aspect of their lives.

How do you deliver contextually relevant marketing?

First of all, you need to understand the psychographics of your target audience. Their buyer personas will determine how to speak to them so that your brand and messaging will resonate with them.

What marketing channels are the most effective?

Knowing how to position your message is just as important as knowing where to deliver. If your target audience is not on social media, then Facebook can’t be your sole means of communicating with them.

In contextual marketing, you need to frame the content to match the context.

Your message should be specifically tailored to them and the moment they are in when the intersection of life and your brand connect. The context of a Super Bowl ad is entirely different from one seen in the waiting rooms of radiology offices. The audience is different, and so is the environment. Context matters.

It can be difficult to differentiate between contextual and behavioral targeting. After all, the two marketing methods aim to serve relevant ads to the right audience at the right time. But, here's how they're different:

When you target an audience contextually, the focus is on matching the environment in which they find themselves. In the context of a hospital waiting room, you can offer them hope right when they need it most. Behavioral targeting, on the other hand, is determined by the persona's digital behaviors.

When you have context around your relationship with your audience, you're able to provide more personalized and relevant advertising.

All right, contextual marketing sounds great, but how does it manifest itself in practice? Here are some ways you can incorporate context in your marketing.

1. Tell a Story

You know your audience and what appeals to them. Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways you can breathe life into your marketing campaign. And again, it creates an opportunity for connection, allowing you to meet your customers where they are.

Stories are captivating, and when well-crafted, can give your products and services an identity. With a story, you can take your target audience on a journey and delight them along the way. Crafting authentic, creative, and inspirational stories helps people bond with you through emotions, memories, and experiences.

2. Communicate Your Brand’s Values

The best ads capture your brand voice and identity. They communicate the ethos behind your company and reel your audience in. The internet has democratized the marketing landscape. Attention spans are lower, and people no longer respond to catchy taglines the way they once did.

Nowadays, people respond to authenticity. Your brand’s core values lie at the heart of your company. They serve as a reminder that behind every brand is a human being. Your audience should watch the ad and think, “that product is for people like me.”

3. Dynamic Calls-to-Action

Your call to action guides your audience to the next stage of their buying journey. The more information you can provide, the better it will be for all parties involved. Remember, context is everything, so your CTAs should be tailored to the specific circumstances your audience finds themselves in.

Send them to a website, use a QR Code on screen, or don't include a CTA and double-down on the story-sell and brand building, let the message hang on their attention.

A lot of ineffective marketing to older consumers arises from fallacies about what it takes to actually engage them. As mentioned, they’re defying stereotypes and redefining what it means to age. When creating contextually targeted ads, here are a few key things to keep in mind:

1. Redefine What it Means to be Old

How old is old? Define "senior citizen," and then never use that term again. Not unless you want to come across as condescending. Across the board, older consumers are resisting the idea that one has to stop being active as soon as they retire. They're living longer than ever; why should they have to slow down?

With such an optimistic outlook on life, it’s only natural that positive marketing resonates with them. Getting old isn't just about avoiding pain and chronic health problem. It's also about staying physically active, traveling the world, and making the most out of life. And your marketing should reflect this.

2. Give Aging Populations the Information They Need to Get Proactive

A shocking 86 percent of baby boomers are researching health and wellness information online. They’re taking their health into their own hands and researching what it takes to lead a healthy lifestyle.

They’re getting proactive about their health and becoming more informed in regards to maintaining their health and physical fitness. The most powerful health and wellness marketing is educational. By creating informative ads, you prove your worth and command their attention.

Share expert advice. Credibility is crucial to a health and wellness brand. Consumers are looking for expert knowledge and scientifically backed solutions - information drives value and increases brand authority.

3. Experiences Matter

"It's not what you sell; it's how you sell it" is an old marketing adage that still rings true. The experiences you create around your brand determine how people view and relate to you. Today’s seniors aren’t just interested in staying healthy. They want to squeeze every last drop of joy and happiness out of life. Brands that inject hope and joy into their lives will forge connections that last.

Don’t let outdated stereotypes about seniors lead to ineffective marketing. With the right marketing approach, you can make every one of them feel like an individual instead of a statistic.

4. Use Targeted Content

Everyone wants to feel special, especially when they invest in a health and wellness product. Knowing your audience, what they value will help you craft a brand message that will appeal to their desires. Marketing is personal because it’s about connection.

Move from communication to conversation. Health and wellness brands should speak the right language if your target customers are to pay attention.

5. Inspire and Support

Your brand's message has to be authentic if you're to appeal to your audience. Whether it's through social media or a full TV campaign, the best marketing creates genuine connection. And when it comes to health and wellness, your purpose is to inspire and create joy. Leave the doom and gloom of consequences to insurance companies.

6. Highlight Real People

Consumers want to be treated as people, not just statistics or, worse, a transaction. Use testimonials to bolster your reputation. When you add something for people to connect to, you create a positive memory that’s much more powerful than the advertisement itself. It becomes a moment in time that people remember and talk about.

A great way to build connections is to humanize your brand. Think about how you want your audience to feel when they think about your brand and tailor your ads to this.

The global health and wellness industry is booming. And yet, it isn't easy to stand out from the crowd. To do so, you have to develop a formidable health and wellness marketing plan.

The four Ps of traditional marketing (price, placement, promotion, and product) need to be personalized to the particular needs and circumstances of your customers. Contextual marketing presents an opportunity to deliver engaging content via a platform your audience is already using. Meeting a customer where they are cultivates more meaningful relationships and enhances the overall customer experience.

Context is the reason why people take action. People engage with your brand because it helps them achieve a goal in the moment. The goal could be to learn, to escape reality for just a moment, or laugh. It's the context of the experience, not the content, that truly drives engagement.

Contextual marketing involves crafting experiences that meet your audience in their moment of need and help them accomplish the task at hand. It builds trust and fosters a sense of community and belonging. The trust created from that interaction guides the individual to the next stop on their buying journey.

More importantly, contextual marketing is non-disruptive. When you tailor your message to the consumer within their environment, they won't see the offering as an ad. They'll see it as a solution to their problem. Context is now the marketing king. The current digital environment means consumers are constantly bombarded with ads. The internet is an infinite media landscape that generates a lot of noise.

Considering context when tailoring your marketing campaigns turns your ads into a welcome experience. It's your chance to grab someone's attention and make a solid first impression. And it separates and differentiates you from the crowd.

The market is full of products that promise to restore health, ward off disease, and revitalize the body. What makes your brand different? That's the power of context marketing – it sets you apart by building a connection with your audience. Tailoring your ad environments from a contextual perspective helps capture long-term consumer interest.

Instead of campaigns, think interactions. Campaigns are for selling; interactions are for engagement. And it’s engagement that consumers want. They want to be treated as humans, not transaction points. Context marketing demands brands to see the world through the customers’ eyes. It creates a point of connection and makes your brand memorable and shareable.

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