Content Marketing

Winning With Women in Digital Healthcare: Three Keys to Owning the Zero Moment of Truth

schlitz_300In 1952, Schlitz Beer ran an ad that quoted a husband coming home from work consoling his wife while a thin, dark line of smoke smolders over the stove. “Don’t worry darling, you didn’t burn the beer!” (Cue the wah-wuh trumpet.)

Well today, some of us women may be burning dinner now and then, but that’s only because we have way too much else to concern ourselves with! In addition to running meetings, juggling social calendars, and raising kids, we are also managing the healthcare of our families.

Women are the primary healthcare purchase decision makers. In fact, 80% of healthcare purchases are made by women. Women make their buying decisions online. We are more likely than men (79% vs 65%) to search the Internet for healthcare information and products.

So how can healthcare brands win the hearts and dollars of the hyper-informed, digitally-savvy women of today? By understanding how we shop and how we decide, then being there when and how we need you.

ZMOT: the moments that make up our lives.
zmot_200Three years ago, Jim Lecinski from Google introduced the theory of the ‘Zero Moment of Truth,’ an entirely new way that consumers shop and make buying decisions. It is based on the older ‘first moment of truth’ marketing strategy coined by Proctor and Gamble in the early 2000s. FMOT—the first 3–7 seconds that a purchaser notices an item on store shelf—was deemed a critical point in the buying decision process at the time. But the ever-changing Internet has revolutionized consumer behavior.

Now, buying decisions happen before we ever walk in to a store, if we walk in at all. Shopping decisions happen in our ‘Zero Moments,’ the precise moments we have a need. Three years later, a new global study has concluded that the Zero Moment of Truth is deepening in its effect on shopping and expanding to a global scale.

A mom at the school bus stop searches for cough medicine after her coughing child boards the bus. A female executive looks up the new skin care line her friend just told her about over dinner. An exhausted retail manager pulls out her tablet at 1:30 AM to find out what will help her sleep. These are Zero Moments of Truth, when consumers research and decide what they are going to buy.

A Digital Diva Profile
The largest majority of ZMOT shoppers are women—more than half are moms. But how do we use the Internet, and what are we looking for?

According to the Pew Internet Project, 77% of online health seekers say they began their last session at a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Another 13% say they began at a site that specializes in health information, like WebMD.

A snapshot of the female healthcare digital consumer:

  • 62% are looking up specific disease or medical problems
  • 49% are researching medical treatments and products
  • 50% more likely to access mobile health than men
  • 1/3 of moms searched the Internet for health information once a day or every few days

Women are very peer-reliant and lean heavily on social media in the healthcare purchase journey:

  • 41% more likely than men to say they visit a social networking site at least weekly
  • 46% for medical conditions
  • 35% for fitness goals encouragement
  • More women than men follow fitness and health brands

A recent BlogHer study determined that 35% of women trust a product review from a blogger more than a user-generated review on a company website, confirming that peer opinion and reviews can be an important part of the buying process.

Own the Zero Moments in Three Steps
Healthcare brands can own the zero moments by being easily searchable, quickly digestible, and highly relevant.

1. Smart Search
So, the Zero Moment is defined as searching for what we need at that moment we need it. How can you be there? Search engine optimization and search engine marketing. If you aren’t where these consumers are when they are looking, you aren’t in their decision set.

Own the Zero Moment by exploring your search options. Understand your key words. Create enduring search strategies that evolve, yet keep your core messaging front and center. Then, measure your results and switch your game plan if it’s not working. You only get a Zero Moment once. Don’t miss it with a poorly structured SEO and SEM plan.

2. Whittled Down Website
In a Zero Moment, less is more. A healthcare brand’s website needs to serve as a quick reference for when customers are looking up your information. You get one first impression in the Zero Moment; don’t blow it with complicated navigation and a busy home page.

Clean home pages with large, interesting photography and singular messaging will help seed your brand message and potentially answer questions quickly. Think of your home page as the print ad of yesterday. What is the one thing you want your buyer to know about when she visits you? Create streamlined, logical navigation that helps build your story out from there.

Use call outs—but choose wisely. Too many subvert the ‘less is more’ principle. Are there key areas that a mom will be most interested in? Are there coupons or special offers to bring up front? What are other ways to entice her to click through once she reads your one core message?

Smart search strategy gets her to your site. Keep up the good work with a honed message and strong graphics that tell a good story. Remember—your goal is not just to make an impression—you want to own that Zero Moment point of decision.

3. Strategic Social Sharing
Once she’s searched and studied you, now she wants to credential you. Create a smart social plan that is relevant for your brand. Does a dedicated Pinterest support community make sense? Does a singular voice Twitter feed work? Should your brand host a Facebook page with conversation threads and offers and news?

Think about what makes sense for your communication goals, and then fit the social outlet that meets those most effectively.

Give her plenty of ways to talk to her peers—or at the very least hear what they are saying about you. Add reviews and comments to your site if possible. Is there an easy star rating you can apply? Are there ways to enable social sharing with feedback and comments? Be prepared to manage this feedback area with an honest and proactive approach.

We know women want to connect with each other as part of the decision process. Help them do this, and you help them decide on you.

Zero Moments for the modern woman have expanded over the last three years—and will continue to do so. Access to the ‘Zero Moment deciding factor’ is right at her fingertips. The key is to be in those moments when she needs you. And have something relevant to say. Because when mom just got home from a meeting and the kids need homework help, Dad might be the one burning dinner. So she’ll need a new healthy recipe and a cold beer, stat!


Pew Internet Project, 2014
Greenfield Online for Arnold’s Women’s Insight Team, 2013
Ipsos OTX survey, 2013

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Christina Mullen
As Director of Commercial Strategy & Innovation, Christina drives strategic best practices and leads the development of innovative “big ideas” across the digital, mobile, and social marketing environment, specifically for life sciences brand teams. With more than 20 years of experience in directing both strategic planning and creative execution, she brings a unique perspective and approach to Cadient’s clientele. Prior to Cadient, Christina served as Vice President, Creative Director for Backe Digital Brand Marketing. She developed strategic initiatives and managed all creative deliverables for GSK’s oncology division. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Millersville University and several continuing education certificates including copywriting, photography and certification in reasoning and data analysis.

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