Monday, December 17, 2007

Adolescence healthcare market: a forgotton frontier

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The key to successful market expansion plans is uncovering new markets for existing products; identifying novel needs, wants, and desires, and addressing them with suitable products and services. Here is a market not very well addresssed, and that is the ADOLESCENCE HEALTHCARE MARKET.
Adolescence age
No one can forget one's golden age of adolescence. The adolescent vivacity, imagination, optimism, restlessness... the inexplicable forces generating a lot of energy...can one forget it at all?!!

Adolescence, biologically speaking, is the age when hormonal activity induces maturation changes in the individual. It is the age of new discoveries of the mind and body - with new behaviors - the adolescent is not yet an adult, and certainly not a child too. The age of puberty is when adolescence is said to begin.

In girls, adolescence leads to maturation changes - the girl is growing in to a young woman. Her voice gets shriller, deposition of fats in a 'rounded way' begins, development of breasts, and start of menstruation signal the arrival of adolescence. The girl starts to spend more time in front of the mirror, examining facial skin and so is a delicate age.

Boys...suddenly get aggressive, alternating between compliance and rebellion. Open sometimes and at times withdrawn, one wonders what happened to my boy?! Maturation changes makes their voices become hoarser (ie. deeper), muscular and skeletal development takes place at a rapid pace, and a moustache and beard make their first presence.

The challenges in adolescence age include:

a) mental health and right attitude development (antisocial behavior in schools and colleges give shivers to gaurdians and parents, because this is when peer groups become more important and powerful than gaurdians and parents!)
b) hormonal changes and maturation development
c) skin health (acne is the most common skin affliction)

Adolescent medicine

Adolescents face unique problems: emotional and maturation related changes. This is the age when nutrition becomes important since adolescence is associated with maturation changes and growth. Mood disorders are common among adolescent youth. Acne can drive young girls in to depression and social withdrawal. Endocrinology and gynecology become important in the management of girl adolescence health. Adolescence medicine becomes important from the ages of 9 to 11 for girls, and 11 to 13 for boys.

With the youth market becoming important in India, developed countries and emerging markets, adolescent clinics are becoming important.


While it is clear that adolescence healthcare market has its interesting sensitivities and represents a market opportunity to be addressed, the type of business model is very vital. When the adolescence healthcare market is addressed with an adolescence clinic, it is clear that the sickness dimension is being emphasised. Will such a nomenclature attract the right audience in large nos.? Or should an alternative business model be developed with a more positive image?

YOUTH WELLNESS CENTERS sound more positive, dosen't it?

There is a ready market for the taking - a market that needs to be addressed in a specific way, the market for adolescents is there. But it is useful to have a marketing communication activity taking parents and gaurdians in to confidence. After all which parent would not like to have a useful partner for strengthening the attitude and health of their adolescent children? A Youth Wellness Center manned by professionals, partnered by pharmaceutical and healthcare companies can give wellness and preventive medicine a new dimension. The social benefits of such marketing initiatives are welcome.

For eg., if a company gets a professional to endorse the use of healthcare products like Horlicks (I wonder why Horlicks should be a bedtime drink? And not be an anytime drink.) and say Brahmi (for mental sharpness), it is inevitable that the youth market will carry on the use of these healthcare products in the mature age phase too. So making inroads in to the youth market is sagacious for present and future business too!

Adolescent age group is the typical crossroads age group. What this set of prospects and customers requires is a positive health center. And there is a major youth market there for marketers to tap into.

Right now healthcare marketers are less focused on the teen (youth or adolescence) market segment, leaving the market open to personality development enterprises. With childhood and teen obesity, faulty eating habits, skin problems, emotional challenges ... pharma and healthcare marketers can make a difference to society and the financial health of their companies! (RIGHT ADOLESCENCE = GREAT FUTURE)

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1 comment:

Sunil S Chiplunkar said...

My good senior friend and well wisher Mr. S G Biligiri gave this great encouraging comment: Great!! Just read Bhima's story also. its a good idea to target teens / adolesence. Your ideas if encashed could no doubt a money spinner. Keep it up 1/linus. Great!!!

But as I (Sunil S Chiplunkar) always say, it is easy to conceive but difficult to deliver.