Why Every Healthcare Marketer Should Be Aware of the Emotional Attitudes of Consumers

If you’re not new to my blog, you’ve heard me frequently talk about how in healthcare, we are selling a service most people don’t want to buy. Well, this phrase holds especially true when it comes to discussing how the emotional attitudes of our consumers have a large impact on our success as healthcare marketers. People fear going to a hospital. Hospitals have negative connotations to them and no one wakes up one morning excited about going to a hospital, unless of course, you are bringing a new baby into the world. 

Apart from having the fears of receiving care, patients also deal with fears surrounding bills and payment concerns. In fact, according to CNBC, a poll “conducted by the University of Chicago and the West Health Institute, found Americans fear large medical bills more than they do serious illness. The data showed 33 percent of those surveyed were “extremely afraid” or “very afraid” of getting seriously ill. About 40 percent said paying for health care is more frightening than the illness itself.” This challenge makes marketing a hospital all that more difficult, so it’s important for marketers to understand what the underlying reasons for having these negative attitudes are. 

The Affective Component of Attitudes

There are three components to consumer attitudes and ‘affective’ is the component that most commonly impacts patients. The affective component refers to an emotional element of an attitude towards a specific product, person or service. Because healthcare is such an emotional experience, no matter what type of care you are receiving, the emotional attitudes of consumers impact the success of a marketer’s strategies. Here are two scenarios that many consumers may be facing which lead to emotional attitudes:

  • They’ve had a past negative experience with a hospital. Whether they’ve had a personal experience or a loved one has, everyone has been affected by a hospital experience at some point in their lives. They may have lost a loved one at your hospital, which causes a fearful or sad emotion.
  • On the other hand, they may have had a positive experience like their child being born at your hospital. 

No matter which scenario may pertain to them, it’s essential for marketers to understand how certain experiences can alter the way consumers feel about a certain brand or facility. By understanding these consumer attitudes, marketers can then better predict how their audiences will react to a specific marketing campaign, allowing them to work more efficiently and beneficially. 

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