Market segmentation is one of the more professional ways to identify and serve the customers by improving the services delivered. Within the context of healthcare, segmentation becomes more important because healthcare service providers need to accumulate the necessary expertise in order to serve their targeted customers. Since services are perishable in nature therefore it is critical for healthcare service providers that they must accurately segment their customers in order to provide better services. As such market segmentation within healthcare is mostly done in three ways such as demographics, disease characteristics as well as geographic location. (Alan M & Johnson, 2002). However, segmentation based on cohorts is also one of the valid means of segmenting a market.
Cohort Segmentation is considered as the type of segmentation which has greater strategic significance than other types of segmentation in healthcare. (Berkowitz, 2006). Cohorts comprise of the people born in same periods and often travel through the life i.e. they experience the same kind of external events throughout their life. Generally speaking, cohorts are also considered as highly susceptible to external events as such cohorts are the generations which are bound by some external changes either through technology, war etc. it is also because of this reason that each cohort has different sets of values and beliefs which need to be taken care of if healthcare service providers tend to exploit this sort of segmentation by offering them customized marketing solution. It has also been argued that such values and beliefs tend to stay with such cohorts throughout their life their same marketing strategies can be applied to them throughout their life and as such organization better develops the characteristics and unique attributes of consumer behavior.
There 7 broader cohorts in US based on which the segmentation can take place. These 7 models of cohorts are distributed according to the different ages through which they have passed. These 7 models include the depression cohort, the World War II Cohort, Post War Cohort, Boomers-I, Boomers II, Generation X and Generation Y.
There are different marketing techniques which can be employed by the healthcare service providers based on the different cohorts. For example, one of the basic characteristics of depression cohort is their inability to pay the medical bills. Therefore, healthcare service providers, together with insurance companies, can offer them low cost options for availing healthcare services.
Similarly, World War II Cohort includes patients who learned to follow the authority as during their experiences as soldiers during the War, they have learned to obey the orders and this characteristic has remained with them almost throughout their lives. As such, marketing techniques for such patients would include designing promotional techniques which remind them of their memories of youth. Further, Post War Cohort includes those individuals who actually witnessed America rising to be the superpower of the world. They tend to idealize institutions and personalities as such the healthcare provides must offer them services of professionals who are like Marcus Welby as Berkowitz points out. The office environment shall be cheerful as well as quality care shall reflect optimism.
However, as the cohorts progress into a new era of Baby Boomers and Generation X, more and more technology is coming up to offer unique marketing contents. The current period is a period of viral marketing which employs almost unique techniques to attract the customers.
Cohort based market segmentation is increasingly popular concept in healthcare service providers as more and more service providers are offering unique marketing contents to their customers which are best suited to their values and belief systems.
1. Alan M, Z., & Johnson, ,. T. (2002). Market segmentation. Health Progress , , 3-7.
2. Berkowitz, E. N. (2006). Essentials of Health Care Marketing. New York: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.