Whew! The 2012 US elections are over! Over the last two years we have been listening to campaign rhetoric, candidates bashing each other, issues beaten to death. How did we finally end up?

 

Regardless of the winners- some we are really happy about – some interesting points have come out. Points to which healthcare industry should pay heed – and wake up to –  otherwise you will be as taken by surprise as the Republicans were.

 

The demographics of the US have been changing and these changes are not slowing down nor will they be retracted.

 

The US is becoming a much more ethnically and racially diverse country. The rest of the world gets this – consider ex-US advertising – but the US is so very far behind. With this blog we will not attempt to delve into the “why” behind the blindness here except to say that the facts are simply being denied, not being accepted.

 

The latest estimate is that the US will become majority minority (get used to this term) by 2024. However, as our worlds are local you need to understand that there are counties in the US that are already minority majority. See these diagrams from the 2010 US Census:

 

The first diagram shows the ethnic/racial make-up of the US by county:

 

The second diagram shows the change in ethnic/racial make-up by county. If you believe there is no change where you live, work, or have a business you really need to re-think your theory:

 

If you want to get more detail about specific areas around the US please use this link to a NY Times interactive map. You will see the demographic make up by county all over the US – http://projects.nytimes.com/census/2010/map

 

So what? How does this apply to you? Well, the voters in this last election are your customers, your patients, your members. If you do not understand your world is changing, if you continue to act as if this evolution is not taking place then by the time you wake up it will be too late – ask the Republicans. Your brand will not relate to your constituency and your profits will reflect this quite negatively.

If you are still in denial then look at the future from the perspective of the ethnic/racial make-up of the US child population.

This diagram shows the ethnic/racial demographics of children under 18 2001 through 2009. This change contributes to the growth of minority segments in the US:

 

In this diagram there is a comparison of the ethnic make-up of children under 18 to the ethnic/racial make-up of the overall population. The child population is our future population and is more diverse than their parents:

 

This message has been preached for the last 40 years and healthcare marketing still has changed very little – again the “fat and happy” syndrome. Well, the Republicans were quite” fat and happy”. They were in complete and utter denial of the changing demographics and the values of the people underlying the demographics and they got trounced. Trounced to you means a major loss in profits. You can wait for the trouncing, stay in denial, keep your head in the sand or you can get with the program and take good care of your brand and your business and open your eyes to this opportunity.

What is more patient centric than understanding the motivations of those you serve? Part of this understanding is also being culturally competent. If you are going to truly engage patients you have to reach them where they are AND not ignore WHO they are. If you continue to ignore these changing demographics you’d might as well just stop doing business in the US.

Now that you know the facts do you know even know how to reach these segments or how to get to know them better? Now THIS is your business dilemma.

 

This is simply my opinion. What do you think?

Dyan Bryson

 

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