How To Identify Target Market Characteristics for Healthcare Marketing

Characteristics for Healthcare Marketing

Identifying your target market & its characteristics is a key aspect of any marketing initiative. No matter how large or small your business is, you need to know who you’re selling to and why!
But healthcare marketing is a little different. There are things that you can and can’t do according to HIPAA regulations, and the consequences for not following them can be dire.

So how does a healthcare organization identify and serve their target market? Here’s a simple guide that will help you out.

What Are Important Target Market Characteristics In Healthcare?

Geographical Area

Define your operating area. What communities do you serve? How large is the area? Is it urban, suburban, or rural?

Your geographic area is the first thing you should define, as you don’t want to market to people who can’t use your services.


Demographics describe facts about a population. Age, gender, marital status, median income, education level all fall under demographics.

Demographic information allows you to infer a great deal about a patient population. For example, you might have a sizable Hispanic population in your area, which might make it wise to market in the Spanish language or deal with issues specific to that population.

Behavioral Characteristics

Behavioral characteristics, otherwise known as psychographics, can be considered a very general category. It consists of any information that you know about how your patient population behaves. What is their lifestyle like? Do they care a great deal about their health?

Health Literacy

This is not talked about as much, however it’s extremely important when defining who your target market is. Different patient populations have different levels of engagement with their health. A general hospital is dealing with a very different customer base than a chiropractic clinic.

How do you define health literacy for a patient population? Health literacy refers to a patient’s level of understanding about their own health and care. Take your own experiences and the experiences of others in your field: do the patients understand what’s going on, and are they taking an active role in their own care?

How Do You Find Target Market Information?

The first place you’ll want to look is the US Census Bureau. You will be able to find demographic information about any geographical area in the US, including your own. This will help you understand what your population is likely to be like.

For behavioral characteristics and health literacy, you’ll have to do some market research. Constructing a questionnaire for your patients can help you understand what they’re like and how they treat their health. If you are collecting medical data, you must follow HIPAA guidelines! Do not use this data to advertise to people or create lists for use in direct marketing. Instead, use this data to inform your initiatives and to gain an understanding about your clientele as a whole.

We can help you with market research and developing your segmenting, targeting, and positioning. Contact us and we’ll assess your healthcare marketing needs for free!