In Western society, “women’s health” refers to “the procedures, drugs, and surgical aids utilized to address the various diseases that plague this population”. And as of August 2022, the Global Women’s Health Market is expected to rise by 7.3% by the year 2027. (1)
And yet, working moms are more likely (2) to experience burnout than working dads, women’s healthcare research and development specifically targeted at women’s health are seriously lacking, and a majority of women (3) do not feel that healthcare providers take their pain seriously. Despite the data that female bodies are not receiving adequate care, women are the ones spending $500 billion in medical expenses every year.
So what does this information mean for the future of your women’s healthcare practice?
First, we need better solutions for women’s healthcare beyond the approaches used by current medicine. What’s available to consumers is not as effective as we’ve been led to believe.
Second, there is ample opportunity for a new wave of compassionate, data-driven women’s health practitioners to step forward. Women are feeling dismissed and neglected, and we need greater access to passionate and empathetic practitioners.
We need changemakers in the women’s healthcare space. And in today’s business world, a strong brand will be essential to positioning yourself as an industry leader.
As a brand strategist, my job is to help entrepreneurs to grow their businesses through the power of an intentional brand. And at the end of the day, the more aware you are of how important your brand is, the more powerful your marketing efforts will become.
In this article, I walk you through my top 7 steps for marketing a women’s health brand during a time when differentiating yourself from the status quo has never been more important.
Tip #1 – Know the Landscape of Your Industry & Niche
With the global femtech market expected to reach $60 billion by the year 2027 (4), the importance of standing out in the women’s health industry has never been greater. In order to be successful in this heavily saturated market, you need to be aware of the many options that your ideal client may be considering in their buying process.
The best way to build this awareness is through a “competitor analysis”.
Competitor analysis is a process of analyzing the products, services, and price point as well as the aesthetic, personality, and marketing strategy of similar experts in your industry. Through this process, you will be able to identify the market gaps that present you with an opportunity to differentiate yourself.
DISCLAIMER: For most entrepreneurs, analyzing your “competitors” can cause mental and emotional resistance. Imposter syndrome, comparison-itis, and general self-doubt are common side effects.
But as is the case with all opportunities for growth, this is one area of entrepreneurial development that you’re going to want to lean into. It’s time to get comfortable, well… being uncomfortable. And here’s why.
The real value of a competitor analysis is that it provides you with insight on:
- How your brand is unique
- What are your strengths
- Who you’re best positioned to serve
- How to call in qualified leads
- What to do to continue to grow your brand
Additionally, a competitor analysis helps you discover new opportunities for collaboration, networking, and exposure to new audiences. All of which serve you in growing your business and expanding the reach of your brand.
Tip #2 – Position Yourself as a “Category of One” Brand
As you perform a competitor analysis, your goal should be to answer the question “what does my brand offer that no one else in this space is offering?” In other words, you need to be able to fill in this blank, “my brand is the only brand that ______________ in the women’s health arena”.
Brands that can confidently tout the “only” factor are also known as “category-of-one” brands. Category-of-one brands are able to grow at astounding rates because they have the clarity, specificity, and precision needed to cut through industry clutter.
As a women’s health professional who is a “solopreneur” or a CEO with a small team, you likely don’t have millions of dollars to put behind impressive marketing campaigns. Whereas most corporations focus on casting a wide net, your focus should be the opposite.
The more saturated an industry, the more important it is to niche down. While niche marketing is probably not a new topic to you, here’s a perspective on niching that might be refreshing to hear.
Niching allows you to have laser focus in your brand communication and marketing so that you position yourself as the only option for a specific type of person. Today’s consumer is so inundated with options that feel far too general. Instead of “one-size-fits-all” content, people need to feel like your brand was literally “made for them”.
By focusing your marketing efforts on creating a customized brand experience, your audience will develop the trust and confidence in your business that they need to take further action. In fact, 94% of people said they’d be highly likely to recommend a brand they were emotionally engaged with. (5)
So let yourself detach from the need to help everyone. Know that by getting focused, you’ll be 10x more effective at helping the right people. All while successfully scaling your brand.
Tip #3 – Have a Clear & Distinct Purpose
Now that you are aware of the competitive landscape of your industry, and equipped with a focused specialty, it’s time to explain to your audience why you do, what you do.
So before you even think about growing a social media following, email list, podcast audience, or YouTube community, make sure that you have a clear and distinct purpose statement for your brand.
But wait, what’s the difference between a purpose statement and a mission statement?
A purpose statement explains the reason(s) why you exist beyond making money, whereas a mission statement explains what you do (your offering) and for whom (your target audience).
When your audience knows the reason why you’re in the business of serving women, they are more likely to rally behind your brand. In the grand scheme of things, a strong and loyal community is the absolute best asset you can have when growing a brand. Because as was mentioned earlier, people are more likely to refer your brand to others when they feel a strong emotional connection.
As you develop your brand’s purpose statement, focus on these key elements:
- Be bold. Speak up about the injustices in the world of women’s health, and how you are out to create change.
- Share your story. How are you connected to the work that you do? Where does your passion come from?
- Say the things. What needs to be said that no one else is saying? Be THAT voice.
- Be passionate. When people can tell that you’re deeply invested, they will be more willing to support you.
Tip #4 – Be Transparent
Consumer trust is at an all-time low. Between the controversies of the 2020 pandemic, the ongoing Roe v. Wade battle, and the daily injustices that women all over the world face, transparency has never been more important. And in 2021, a data responsibility survey conducted in the US by KPMG highlighted that 86% of respondents felt a growing concern about data privacy. (6)
As a women’s health care professional, your work requires that you be responsible for how you handle confidential data on a regular basis. However, have you also made it a practice to inform your audience about the protocols, practices, and processes you use to protect their information?
A consumer behavior study that included 2,000 respondents suggests that people are significantly more loyal to brands that are transparent about different aspects of their business. And 94% of customers are likely to show loyalty to a brand that offers complete transparency. (7)
In order for your community to feel safe working with you as a healthcare professional, it’s your duty to eliminate any fear they may have about the security of their personal health data and information.
Tip #5 – Take a Stand
I don’t need to be the one to tell you that women face constant policing and dismissal in regards to how they care for their bodies.
But just to send this point home with extra emphasis, here’s some sobering information about the health struggles women face on a daily basis.
The Women’s Healthcare Industry
- A mere 4% of all healthcare research and development is targeted specifically at women’s health, despite women spending $500 billion in medical expenses every year. (8)
Gen Z Women:
- 68% of young women felt that schools didn’t prepare them for their first period and 49% felt ashamed about their first period. (9)
Millennial/Gen X Women
- According to 2022 research by Kantar, 76% of menopausal women in the UK do not feel represented by brands. (10)
- Only 36% of US women feel their healthcare providers take their pain seriously, according to a 2019 survey by HealthyWomen, there are growing calls to put it in the spotlight. (11)
As a women’s healthcare specialist, it’s your duty to use your professional influence to take a stand. Even if you don’t feel like it, you are in a position of power as an expert in your field.
By taking a stand against the health challenges that women regularly face, you will not only build a loyal community, but you will position yourself as a changemaker and thought leader in your industry.
Tip #6 – Avoid Stereotypes
I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but not all women like pink. Also, not all women like to be called “ladies”. Just because you are marketing to women does not mean that you should jump on the bandwagon of over-feminizing your brand.
There are many stereotypes that exist in the women’s health market. And as a brand strategist, any time I see a brand fall into the trap of these cliches, all I think is “wow, what a missed opportunity to stand out!”
So as you dive deeper into your brand-building journey, here are some pitfalls to avoid while marketing a women’s health brand.
Avoid the “talk to your partner before making this investment” language
Women actually make about 80% of the healthcare decisions (12) for their families. Empower your community to take control of their health and do what’s best for them. Remind women how important it is to have autonomy with their healthcare decisions.
Be wary of cliche stock images
Sometimes, you just need to use stock media. But as you scroll through Pexels or Unsplash, try your best to avoid unintentional stereotyping — like only showing women in the kitchen cooking, or as moms, or doing yoga.
Use gendered messaging with caution
According to a study by market research firm Fluent, 74% of women surveyed said they prefer gender-neutral marketing messages. (13) Obviously, you’re providing care for a female body. However, not everyone with a female body identifies as a “woman”.
Pink has been found counterproductive…in some cases
Breast cancer awareness advertising has a bit of a chokehold on the color pink. As a result, women associate the color pink in breast cancer ads with the threat that they could die of breast cancer, so they tune out messaging with lots of pinks. (14)
Don’t worry, not every shade and tone of pink should be avoided. But definitely put the ix-nay on these ones  :
- Salmon Pink
- Hex: #FF96A7
- Amaranth Pink
- Hex: #FFA7B3
- Light Pink
- Hex: #FFB4BC
- Hex: #FFBFC3
- Light Red
- Hex: #FFCECE
Tip #7 – Be a Safe Space
Last, but certainly not least, make sure that your brand is a place where women from all walks of life feel safe to open up and ask questions. Taking care of one’s health is such an intimate experience, and given the state of the world, many people are wary to give away their trust.
Greater representation of racial diversity is on the rise, gender is evolving, family dynamics are changing, and fat-phobia is finally seeing its timely death.
It is your responsibility to be a safe haven for all female bodies. So stay informed about the most inclusive/non-discriminatory ways to communicate with and serve your community.
To Wrap Things Up…
It is my hope that in reading this article, you came to see how your brand is so much more than a “pretty” layer that sits on the surface of your business. It truly is an ecosystem that requires your presence, awareness, and intention in order to thrive and grow.
When you are clear on what sets you apart as a professional, and what change you are trying to create in the women’s health industry, the required strategy becomes obvious. The real work of building an impactful brand lies in the power of choice.
“Who am I for others?” “What change do I want to make in the world?” “What do I want to be known for?” And lastly, (but also the most important), “What big vision is calling me forward?”
When you can answer these questions, the implementation of any strategy is simple.
If you’re looking for support in gaining the clarity you need to make a lasting impact in the lives of women everywhere, I invite you to book a Complimentary 30-minute Call. During this time, I will help you dig deeper into the legacy you want to create, and how to shape your vision into a meaningful brand that moves your industry forward.
About the Author
Tristan Thibodeau is a Brand Strategist, CEO, and Visionary behind the industry-leading brand and marketing agency, Wild Womn Haus. She mentors vision-driven influencers and entrepreneurs to build brands that disrupt industries with their unique perspectives and offerings. Through her signature 8-step brand strategy process that is proven to provide laser clarity and agile business acumen, Tristan’s clients leave confusion in the dust, double their revenue, and claim their rightful place as visionary CEOs.