72% of men would rather clean a bathroom than go to the doctor. Let's change that.
Men hate going to the doctor. In fact, they hate it so much that 72% of them would rather do household chores than visit a doctor’s office, according to a 2019 Cleveland Clinic study. So why would anyone opt to mop floors, unclog drains, and scrub toilets over scheduling a 30-minute wellness exam? As it turns out, there’s more to it than a simple, “they just don’t like it.”
Why do men avoid the doctor?
Cold environments, squeamishness in medical scenarios, and the inconvenience of scheduling and traveling to appointments are all key factors. But the issue runs deeper still. Men often avoid going to the doctor, and sometimes lie to their physicians about their health when they do, because they’re afraid they’ll receive a bad diagnosis. And, historically, work and the ability to provide are major pillars in the pavilion of masculinity. Healthcare providers begin to see a trend in the male mentality of, “if I’m healthy enough to keep working, I don’t need to see a doctor.”
Why not target women, the dominant healthcare decision-makers?
For healthcare marketers, reaching a male audience can seem like a daunting task. How do you take an activity deemed worse than bathroom sanitation and make it appealing? And, with women typically being a household’s main healthcare decision-maker, why not continue to focus on them?
The tides of health and wellness trends are turning, and everyone, regardless of gender, is turning with them. A consumer index study shows that 64% of men are putting away their cleaning supplies and stepping into a more health-centric mindset. They’re moving beyond the gym memberships and protein powders marketed to them and toward efforts that benefit their overall wellness.
If there was ever a time to speak to men on the importance of caring for their health, it’s now.
Getting men to the doctor: A how-to guide
The question now is, how do you reach a healthcare-resistant audience? We’ve pulled together our best tips and tricks on marketing healthcare to men.
- Know the value of convenience. The importance of the convenience factor cannot be overstated. The Cleveland Clinic study also revealed that 61% of men said they’d be more likely to go to a doctor if it was more convenient. Consider changing your approach in the ongoing battle of trying to convince men to go to the doctor and bring the doctor to them. Establish partnerships with local businesses and conduct exams in their offices. Going where men are already located relieves them of the burden of finding a doctor that takes their insurance, scheduling an appointment, and taking time off work to travel to the doctor’s office and back. Another way to remove the inconvenience of traveling? Invest in your virtual visit services. The more convenient and accessible options you can provide, the better.
- Capitalize on longevity. The holistic wellness mindset is often accompanied by an awareness of the long-term. Your messaging should reflect the importance of routine appointments, like an annual physical, for maintaining a long and healthy life.
- Start early. The best way to build patient loyalty is to reach a younger audience and help them establish healthy habits early. While an older audience of men may be more actively searching out specialty care for specific conditions, the younger generation may not know where to start when it comes to working with a doctor to care for their overall health. Nurturing relationships between a primary care physician and patients is key, because primary care is the access point for all other healthcare needs.
- Emphasize proactiveness. Remind them that these check-ups are the next stop on the wellness journey they’ve already begun. Scheduling an annual physical opens the doors for colon and prostate screenings, cardiovascular workups, and yearly followups. This journey from an interest in wellness to making an appointment is key.
- Change the narrative. Every day, men are berated with “man up” messaging. They’re consistently exposed to the idea that acts of vulnerability aren’t up to masculine standards, and discussing health concerns is an undeniably vulnerable act. As marketers, we have the ability to shift that narrative, showing a clear path from an initial interest in wellness to all the benefits that healthcare can offer.
To boil it down to three key action items: Help patients start their wellness journey early, meet them where they’re at, and reiterate the value of healthcare. These are just a few tips to help bring men back into your offices, clinics, and exam rooms. Men don’t have to hate going to the doctor. Let’s show them that it’s better than cleaning the bathroom.