How Health and Wellness Brands Can Get Personal (While Respecting Privacy) | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

How Health and Wellness Brands Can Get Personal (While Respecting Privacy)


Health is personal. As consumers continue to exert control over their health and wellness, they want solutions that anticipate and prevent health issues on a personal level to enable greater self-management.

Unfortunately, data issues limit marketers' ability to tailor and target. Expired data, sensitive or privacy-impacted data, household-level data, incomplete profiles and just a general lack of richness in data sources can impede a brand's ability to effectively deliver personalized products, services and offers. No one wants to pitch a sustainable exotic meat-delivery service to a vegan!

To get the individual-level insight into who may be in-market for a direct-to-consumer healthy meal plan, exercise equipment, gym membership, a new calming app for de-stressing, personalized vitamin regimen, online mental health services, a problem-solving pharmaceutical or even a new physician, insights and analytics teams need the ability to enrich their first-party data accurately and at scale to reveal a deep, holistic picture of consumers that's fully targetable.

So, what insights are revealed when you're empowered with high-quality health and wellness data? We used the Resonate Ignite platform to examine two distinct segments to show the power of thinking beyond mere demographics.

The "Eat-Right and Exercise" Consumer

We looked at an audience of consumers who we call the "Eat Right and Exercise" segment. Their top hobby is working out, and their top daily routine is buying nutritious food. Here's a snapshot of this audience:

  • This audience skews male, and 58 percent are between 25 and 54 years old. Almost 40 percent of them have household incomes of more than $100,000.
  • Their top values include security, creativity, and influence. (Understanding values is key to creating personalized messaging and creative that speaks directly to your most valued customers and potential customers.)
  • The "Eat Right and Exercise" group prefers to shop at Costco or Sam's Club, and their favorite apparel retailers are Zappos and Land's End.
  • Their daily routine includes eating healthy while — at the same time — their top three restaurants are Pizza Hut, Papa Johns and "other pizza" restaurants. Perhaps this falls more in line with the fact that a good 44 percent of them are parents of children under 18.

Health and wellness brands looking to use these insights might want to consider offering an exclusive solution for the "Eat Right and Exercise" consumers earning $100,000 or more who value influence, as well as a lower-cost solution, to saturate the market. Likewise, brands shouldn't make the mistake of using only images of millennials or gen Zers in their creative, given that almost 30 percent of this audience are Boomers. Health and wellness brands should use imagery that centers on creativity in business or that spurred success — entrepreneurship or ideas behind top companies led by powerful, active people.

The "I'd Rather Be Playing Video Games or Baking" Consumer

Now, let's look at a second health and wellness segment, quite distinct from the "Eat Right and Exercise" crowd. In this case, we looked at consumers who we are calling the "I'd Rather be Gaming or Baking" consumer ("Gamers and Bakers"). These folks are not regular exercisers, and many never exercise. They also are either neutral or disagree with the statement that they buy food based on its nutritional value. You may guess that these are young males, but 52 percent are women. When they aren't gaming, they are baking or reading and are driven by romantic love.

The right data can show a lot more about these Gamers and Bakers. Here's a snapshot:

  • 85 percent of this segment is over the age of 25, and 72 percent earn less than $75,000. The biggest portion of the segment — 31 percent — have a household income of $25,000 to $50,000.
  • This group of Gamers and Bakers are driven by the personal values of conformity, authority, and independence.
  • They prefer to shop on eBay or at Target, and their favorite apparel retailers are Aeropostale and Vans. Their top favorite restaurants are Sonic, Buffalo Wild Wings and Taco Bell.
  • 27 percent of the Gamers and Bakers are online 40 or more hours per week, with 26 percent online 20 to 40 hours and another 22 percent online 10 to 20 hours a week.

Health and wellness brands looking to use these insights should ensure their products are easy-to-use and family friendly, keeping in mind that more than half of this segment earns less than $50,000 every year and is looking for reasonably priced offerings. Remember to earmark a sizable chunk of your advertising budget for targeting the 42 percent of consumers in this segment who are parents with children under 18, but do not make the mistake of assuming they are married.

In fact, 44 percent are single. To appeal to their personal values, align messaging and creative with the values of power and control over life. Position this segment's favorite hobbies (gaming, baking, and reading) as avenues to gain power, control, and strength.

Uncovering the Insights That Matter

Here's the thing: The audience insights that matter most are always going to depend on the brand that's looking to connect. Sometimes, it's not the differences between segments that matter as much as the similarities. In the case of the above two groups, we've established that these two audiences are seemingly opposites in everything from income earned, values, brand affinity, and much more.

However, we also have established that they have similarities. They both are less likely to shop spontaneously as 16 percent of each identify as somewhat fiscally liberal. Further, only 4 percent of each use social media to discuss health conditions and find communities of others with similar issues.

The path to finding what you really need to know about health and wellness consumers today can be fraught with useless, outdated, wasteful and even unlawful data. That is why it is so important to partner with companies that offer rich, fresh, privacy-compliant data that powers segmentation and targeting well beyond basic demographics. Ultimately, what brands today really need is to uncover the human behind the desire for health and wellness.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Ericka Podesta McCoy is CMO at Resonate.