Over the last decade, marketers have repeatedly predicted the demise of email. Pointing to millennials’ preferences for texting and social media, experts have assumed that email is a Generation X and Baby Boomer technology that will inevitably become obsolete.
This attitude has influenced consumer marketing for years. More recently, as the oldest millennials have begun establishing medical careers, it has seeped into pharma marketing too. Yet, recent research proves the argument to switch digital channels simply isn’t valid. Millennials may be digital natives, but they’re often just as reliant on email as their parents.
Millennials Prefer Email for Brand Communication
Millennials are more diverse than older Americans. They’re highly educated. More than any other generation, they believe technology is what makes them unique. Having grown up with computers, the Internet, and smartphones, they rely on digital both to make life easier and to stay connected.
According to the 2016 Adestra Consumer Adoption & Usage Study, 74% of Americans across all age groups consider email an integral part of everyday life. This includes millennials, as well as Generation X, Baby Boomers, and even teens. While it’s true that millennials choose texting for personal communications, 73% still prefer email for brand communications. Only 12% prefer a combination of email and texting, and less than 6% choose direct mail.
All age groups are in and out of their email inboxes all day, including 82% of millennials. Of course, personal and professional email usage patterns differ. Also, our deployment data speaks specifically to physician email usage. Still, these numbers indicate that despite the rise of texting and social media, email remains ubiquitous.
Young Physicians Are Tech-Savvy and Connected
The oldest millennials – those born in the early 1980s – are now becoming established in their careers as healthcare professionals. They’re having a greater impact on how practices operate. They also provide feedback to pharma companies by participating in primary research. With their phones and tablets always at hand, they’re advocates for electronic health records, mobile applications, and digital patient education.
Millennial Mindset: The Collaborative Physician, a recent report from GSW, inVentiv Health PR Group, and PALIO, reveals that millennial doctors highly value collaboration with their patients, within their practices, and from pharma. They encourage patients to do online research; they seek peer insights when considering treatment options. Notably, 60% of millennial physicians are more likely to see a pharma sales rep if they offer important programs for their patients. Two of the pharma tools millennial doctors value most are discussion guides and adherence support.
What This Means for Physician Email
Millennials will represent 75% of the global workforce by 2025. Clearly, pharma marketers want to capture the attention of these up-and-coming physicians. They are the future of medicine. Their preferences will shape the practices and prescribing behavior of tomorrow.
Millennial physicians’ digital habits indicate that the email channel is still one of the best forms of brand outreach. Yet Adestra data also points to the importance of doing email right. About 68% of millennials will delete an email if it doesn’t look good on mobile; 25% will unsubscribe altogether. Reaching physicians with targeted, educational content and optimized mobile messages will be critical to the success of millennial email campaigns.