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5 Strategies for Healthcare Marketers Borrowed from Retail Giants, as inspired by Walmart’s latest ‘Mean Girls’ campaign

November 2, 2023

By Anne DiNapoli Block

It’s safe to say Walmart’s newly launched Black Friday Mean Girls campaign has already won the big-box holiday war. As a previous retail-marketer for more than 18 years, I’ve been in awe at the brilliance and high-bar the work is about to set. Smart audience approach to millennial-shopper parents whose cult-following of the movie will entice them to watch 10+ times. Check. Reaching their Gen Z children who are new Mean Girl-lovers just for the sake of nostalgia. Check. Smart integration of price-specific messaging that’s impactful, yet ignored due to entertainment value. Check. Celebrity influencer-led with strategic sponsored-tool usage. Check. Scalability of content across platforms that won’t exhaust over the long, two-month holiday season. Check. The list goes on…. 

The campaign has inspired our team at BPD to think about the implications for our clients in healthcare. Retail and healthcare are converging in a huge way. According to Definitive Healthcare, retailers’ role in healthcare will continue to catapult with the clinic visit growth of more than 200% in the past five years. In addition, it’s predicted that nearly ⅓ of future primary care healthcare patients will adopt usage of non-traditional players such as retailers. 

How should our clients compete?

We gathered 5 top considerations for transforming healthcare marketing with retail-like strategies. 

  1. Invest more in content marketing: Take a cue from retailers like Walmart, who smartly scale big brand platforms in content forms across channels. The messages are consistent, yet platform and audience-specific to drive more impact. As a pioneer in healthcare marketing, BPD has delivered award-winning content for many of our clients.
  1. Grow usage of audience-based data strategies: The rise of retail-media networks continues to bridge the gap for CPG’s and suppliers to reach their most valuable customers- those who have the highest potential to buy their products. For healthcare, we can earn more trust and be relevant to existing and potential patients, by adopting audience-based approaches. BPD has a proven and HIPAA-compliant way of delivering an audience-based approach with proven ROI, to qualified healthcare audiences with our Precision Marketing offering.
  1. Deliver infotainment: Healthcare is one of the most widely researched topics on platforms like YouTube. We have the opportunity to craft educational content to build trust and enhance patient experience. Investing in content that not only provides value, but entertains will keep patients coming back for more. Health conditions, new treatments, preventive care and wellness are content areas primed for education that capture attention. 
  1. Focus on patient experiences: Online and offline experiences should be an extension to the in-depth and helpful care that patients receive from care teams and providers. Take the equity of one-to-one patient care, and scale it in areas such as enhanced digital ecosystems and patient-access to differentiate service. More than 58% of retail clinic visitors attribute convenience as their number one reason for visit. Healthcare consumerism demands more meaning and convenience. 

  2. Lean into technology: The top retailers in the country were early adopters of ecommerce and invested in creating top mobile sites and apps to accommodate for the rising shift in consumer behaviors. With the rise of telehealth and wearable devices, consider the evolving need to lean into new consumer behaviors to converge patient-experience with marketing. Retailers are at the forefront of digital transformation, and top healthcare systems have the opportunity to lead our category.