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Grow your over-the-counter medication business by courting Millennials

What you know about the nuances of the Millennial demographic can inform and inspire your communications strategies. And we know the specific needs of Millennials may vary by life stage. For instance, a college student might be looking for hangover cures or energy supplements for late-night study sessions, while a new mom might be focused on how to relieve her baby’s teething pain. Yet, there are common drivers for this generational group that over-the-counter (OTC) marketers should consider when developing targeted communication strategies – and the following four key characteristics of Millennials can help you grow your OTC business:

1. Millennials are more likely to seek information before they shop

Millennials are more likely than other age groups to seek information prior to a shopping trip. They often get this information online, especially from product reviews and prices.5 Campaigns to help guide them to make decisions – those that answer questions on symptoms and then provide product recommendations designed to alleviate those symptoms – could be quite effective with this target group.

2. For Millennials, word-of-mouth is the main source of OTC product information

It is common to associate the digital marketing environment and its influence when thinking of Millennials. While this is a valid assumption, word-of-mouth is equally important. In fact, it is the main source of OTC product information for Millennials.4 Keep in mind that word-of-mouth can often be a virtual recommendation from friends and family, with in-person interactions on the decline. As such, referral campaigns can be very effective with this group.

3. Millennials are becoming the biggest users of in-store clinics

The lack of a need for personal interaction is apparent even when it comes to Millennials and primary care physicians. A patient-doctor relationship is less important to this age group, leading to Millennials becoming the biggest users of in-store clinics.1 Marketers would be wise to develop programs with these clinics to help Millennials on their journeys to health and wellness, including OTC remedies to be recommended when needed.

For example, Millennials purchase vitamins/supplements2 less than older generations (Generation X and Boomers). Marketing communication in in-store clinics could help Millennials think more about adding vitamins to their repertoire and avoiding illness and therefore trips to the clinic.

4. Personalization and customization are very appealing to Millennials

Personalization and customization are very appealing to Millennials, who are willing to spend the extra money and time it takes to design and buy customized products.3 Targeted campaigns that allow Millennials to develop a customized regimen for prevention or treatment would be enticing for this group – for example, suggested health and prevention tips, including vitamins/supplements, to use during cold and flu season.

When courting Millennials as your target audience for OTC, be assured that this is a very self-directed age group that thrives on word-of-mouth and customized solutions. And keep in mind; they are more likely to search online for product information and reviews. Shaping your optimal communication strategies, especially through digital media, will go hand in hand with knowing what and who influences them.

For more information on the influence of Millennials in the development of targeted OTC communications, contact me at

1. PNC survey

2. GfK MRI
3. Roper Reports (Consumer Life)
4. AccentHealth
5. GfK FutureBuy report

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Hi Kimberli,

Well done research, one point I would like to add here is generally OTC medicines cost slightly less than prescription drugs. So this could also be a factor to drive millennials as they won’t have to shed too much out of pocket.

Again, talking about the cost looking out for treatments of common ailments over the web could help you save on doctor’s consultation fees and time involved. The more information available online about the cures more demand for OTC’s could be created.

Good day!

Jyotsna Jaiswal

Thank you Jyotsna, you bring up a great point.

thanks for this sharing!!