Is Your Health System Adapting to the “Reimagined” Consumer?

The pandemic certainly changed a lot of things for a lot of people, including consumers who have new and different expectations of the companies they do business with—like healthcare organizations. 

According to a 2021 Accenture report, the values and buying motivations of consumers have “fundamentally shifted” away from the familiar incentives of price and quality. Instead, these consumers have added demands that organizations across the spectrum of industry must understand and address if they hope to attract and retain their business.

In its research, Accenture found that among the participants, “A full 50% of consumers say that the pandemic caused them to rethink their personal purpose and re-evaluate what’s important to them in life. Forty-two percent say the pandemic made them realize they need to focus on others more than themselves.”

Referring to these consumers as the “Reimagined,” Accenture notes that:  

  • “72% of the Reimagined expect companies they’re doing business with to understand and address how their needs and objectives change during times of disruption—versus 27% of the Traditional.”
  • “50% of the Reimagined say that many companies disappointed them by not providing enough support and understanding of their needs during challenging times—versus 14% of the Traditional.”

Life Reimagined

The report, Life Reimagined: Mapping the motivations that matter for today’s consumers, was based on a survey of more than 25,000 consumers across 22 countries. 

According to a press release announcing the results, “Fifty percent of those surveyed are coming out of the pandemic having reimagined their behaviors and values as consumers. They have reevaluated what is important to them in life and are increasingly focused on their personal purpose. This is having a direct impact on what, how and why they buy.”  

“As the world reopens for business, the consumer we knew is no longer. Today’s consumer desires a different relationship with a brand,” said Baiju Shah, chief strategy officer at Accenture Interactive. “Brands must reevaluate and rebuild relevance to these new buyer values, and anticipate and meet the needs of their consumers in the moment. Leaders must make a critical choice to either tune in and create experiences that matter or tune out and miss the opportunity to differentiate and create sustained growth.”

Five Drivers 

By analyzing over 80 unique factors across 14 industries, researchers uncovered five distinct areas beyond price and quality that are increasingly driving consumers’ purchasing decisions:

  • Health and safety
  • Service and personal care
  • Ease and convenience
  • Product origin
  • Trust and reputation 

“Perhaps even more notable is that these five factors, which have been historically important to the specific demographic groups of Gen Z and Millennials, have now hit a tipping point and are considered critical across the full breadth of consumer demographics,” according to the statement.
“In order to drive new value and growth, the C-suite must take action now to reset their strategies and set new standards for meeting and exceeding the expectations of consumers. Brands must now differentiate well beyond price and quality,” stated Bill Theofilou, Accenture Strategy senior managing director who leads CEO & Enterprise Strategy for the company. “Market leaders must assure consumers that their purchasing experiences will be predictable and safe, with minimal risk of harming people or the environment. The five factors serve as the new baseline for capturing the post-pandemic consumer and will be critical for those who aspire to grow as the world emerges from the shifts accelerated in the past 18 months.”

The following provides a glimpse of some of the specifics for each of the five drivers.

 Health and safety

  • “Health and safety ranked high in importance for reimagined consumers, with 71% believing it is crucial that companies prioritize health considerations for consumers and employees in all operations.”
  • “Seventy-one percent of reimagined consumers believe that companies/brands are just as responsible as governments for the health of societies.”

Customer service and personal care 

  • “More than half of reimagined consumers say they would switch brands if a brand doesn’t create clear and easy options for contacting customer service or provide clear responses about service levels related to pandemic or economic/societal issues.”
  • “Moreover, 50% of reimagined consumers say that many companies disappointed them by not providing enough support and understanding of their needs during challenging times.”

Ease and convenience 

  • “In the healthcare industry, reimagined consumers appreciate the convenience of virtual health appointments…with 51% saying they would change providers if they did not offer online appointments instead of physical visits when appropriate.”

Product origin

  • “Three-quarters (76%) say they are attracted to brands that source services and materials in highly ethical ways.”
  • “Additionally, 65% of reimagined consumers are attracted to doing business with brands that are environment-friendly.”

Trust and reputation influence 

  • “Across a wide swath of industries, a majority of reimagined consumers said they would switch providers if they did not ‘take visible actions for a positive social impact — e.g., related to inclusion and diversity, environmental protection or protecting the health of the population.’”

Switch, Stay, or Pay

Accenture also took a look at “switch, stay or pay motivators” of consumers across the industries in the study and discovered “differences that suggest an enormous white space opportunity in which to build on strengths and leverage new strategies.”

In healthcare, the firm compared how Reimagined and Traditional consumers felt about four of the drivers identified.

Health & Safety

Motivator to stay: Offering easy-access channels for consumer concerns

Willingness to switch if discontinued:

  • Reimagined: 51%
  • Traditional: 36%

Willingness to pay to retain:

  • Reimagined: 35%
  • Traditional: 13%

Ease & Convenience

Motivator to stay: Offering online appointments instead of physical visits

Willingness to switch if discontinued:

  • Reimagined: 51%
  • Traditional: 38%

Willingness to pay to retain:

  • Reimagined: 37%
  • Traditional: 16%

Motivator to stay: Providing easy and fast access to online advisory services

Willingness to switch if discontinued:

  • Reimagined: 51%
  • Traditional: 36%

Willingness to pay to retain:

  • Reimagined: 39%
  • Traditional: 13%

Trust & Reputation

Motivator: Taking visible actions for a positive societal impact

Willingness to switch if discontinued:

  • Reimagined: 50%
  • Traditional: 37%

Willingness to pay to retain:

  • Reimagined: 37%
  • Traditional: 15%

Service & Personal Care

Motivator: Offering easy-access channels for consumer concerns

Willingness to switch if discontinued:

  • Reimagined: 51%
  • Traditional: 36%

Willingness to pay to retain:

  • Reimagined: 35%
  • Traditional: 13%

Meeting the Needs of the Reimagined

Noting that companies “have stretched to meet the needs of consumers over the course of the pandemic, at great and likely unsustainable cost,” Accenture acknowledges that organizations must evaluate what they can and can’t continue to provide, and offers a “Stay/Go, Pay/No” two-by-two grid to help them decide. 

And to drive growth, the firm underscores the importance of reimagining “the entire business” through the “lens of experience,” a process which includes: 

  • Investing continuously to understand your customers’ evolving mindsets: “If you haven’t moved yet to being a listening organization, that is highly and visibly engaged with your customers every day, this would be the time to do so.” 
  • Reimagining the experiences the company delivers to meet rising motivations with speed, agility and innovation: “Now is the time to leapfrog traditional best practices and truly differentiate yourself in the industry.”
  • Structuring the entire organization to create experiences that capture consumers’ evolving demands across all aspects of operations: “Engage marketing, sales, innovation, R&D, customer service—everyone who is expected to deliver on these experiences must see and understand these new motivations.”

Evolving the business model: “Brands emerging from the pandemic might require a new business model with better pricing, different distribution channels or new revenue streams. This will allow them to continuously improve experiences and give customers exactly what they desire without sacrificing profitable growth.”

Contact us today to find out how we can help you level up your healthcare marketing strategy.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you adapt to the evolving marketing landscape and ramp up your efforts, please contact us today.

Published On: June 15, 2022

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