Women red health symbolHealth and wellness motivations among women cross all generations, driving them to purchase products that bolster health as they define it…not how media and stereotyping advertising have typically portrayed it, according to a survey report from Anthem Worldwide, What Women Really Want From Health and Wellness. Over all generations, 3 in 4 women say they make choices to benefit their health and wellness.

Anthem asked women about the “external voices” of health/wellness messaging versus their “internal voice.” The external represent societal expectations: over 80% of women expect to take responsibility for their family’s health, and about 70% of women say the expectation is to eat for health rather than for enjoyment. Overall, 60% of women expect to “be thin” and look good all the time, and nearly 60% also say the expectation is to enjoy exercise. Looking young, being naturally beautiful, and not getting sick or ill are also Great Health Expectations among most women, according to the poll.

When it comes to internal motivations, there is little difference across generational cohorts based on Anthem’s survey. Feeling good, being happy, achieving quality of life, being one’s “best self,” living one’s “best life” (a la Oprah), being productive, being at peace, being confident, feeling strong, and finding balance in life are motivations for well over 70% of women across all age cohorts.

Anthem identified five health archetypes among women, grouping them as:

  • New to Health
  • Deeply Engaged
  • Physical Importance
  • Emotional Importance
  • Health for Others.

Anthem Worldwide conducted an online survey among 1,475 females age 18 and over in September and October 2012. Anthem also interviewed 1,005 men and women 18 and older in June 2012 for its Health Motivations Quantitative Study. In addition, Anthem conducted 15 face to face interviews with 5 women in each of 3 generational cohorts: Millenials, Generation X, and Boomers, in May-August 2012.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Anthem bucketed four kinds of messaging that health marketers should keep in mind: make it personal, build confidence, motivate health, and be real. This last issue is a conundrum in marketing, because it speaks to authenticity — and advertising Old School isn’t built on authenticity. This requires building a trusted relationship between brand/product and consumer.

In this emerging era of HealthcareDIY, people want to do more for themselves in self-service mode, across all aspects of life. But we need partners to help us navigate our personal health journeys. Health care is tough to navigate. Marketers need to align with R&D, sales and other operational departments to ensure that product/service design, manufacturing, and ultimate consumer adoption are surrounded by the motivations and values that consumers embrace as they’re interacting with the marketplace. In health care, it will be increasingly incumbent on her to vote with her feet, and her pocketbook.