The Impact Of Wearable Technology For The Health And Wellness Marketer

Consumers now have direct access to many new technological devices and gadgets that put their health and wellness in their own hands. In turn, brands and medical professionals now have a new channel for connecting with end-users.

Individuals will use and trust wearable technology to proactively achieve wellness, and to manage illness

One of the early drivers for the consistent use of health and wellness wearable technology has been access to a new level of personal data that can help inform health decisions. Individuals desire this data, and studies show that because people respond to persuasion tactics they can understand, well-designed feedback has the capacity to change behavior.

Today fitness and medical wearables account for 60% of the wearable technology market, showcasing the desire consumers have to live healthier lives. Pundits affirm that data, predicting that wearables will reshape the health industry beginning with health and fitness wearables like wristbands and watches.

With the proliferation of wearable technology comes a new communication channel: wearable devices

wearable technology marketingJust as mobile became a viable channel to communicate with consumers, so will wearable technology. For the first time, brands and physicians will have 24-hour, moment-by-moment access to active customers. Brands and physicians will be able to use continuously collected personal data to create valuable communications touch points with individual customers and patients in the right way, at the right moment.

Imagine, for example, a consumer wearing a device in their shoes to track exercise and weight. Direct-to-customer experiences could include:

  • Education and awareness.
    • “Great job walking today! Did you know that runners reduce their risk of heart disease by 4.5 percent when they run an hour a day? Walkers who exert the same amount of energy reduce their risk of heart disease by more than 9 percent.”
  • Accomplishment driven relationship building.
    • “We see you’ve lost 20 pounds in the last 6 months. Download this badge and share it with your friends.”
  • Motivational moments.
    • “We see you haven’t walked for a while. Go for a walk today, and we’ll donate $1 per mile to charity organization.”
  • Sales at the right time, in the right way.
    • “You’ve walked 300 miles! Congratulations! It’s time for some new shoes. We recommend the following products…”

We are in an exciting period of time for wearable technologies. From a communications perspective, education, awareness, doctor-patient relationship building and communication, and consumer and patient call to action just scratch the surface of the communications possibilities.

Some breakthrough health and wellness wearable categories and devices to keep an eye on:

  • Health and fitness tracking: People have been tracking their fitness efforts for a long time, but today’s wearables are amplifying wellness with individual data report. In addition to the fitness tracking bracelets so many are wearing today, smart socks and smart shoes have been developed that help users meet their fitness goals, and provide coaching. Some of the up and coming technologies, like W/ME, can monitor your nervous system and provide mental health coaching.
  • Early detection: Some of the wearables hitting the market today, such as the breast cancer-detecting bra from First Warning Systems or the athletic impact-monitoring device, CHECKLIGHT by Reebok let people know when it’s time to see a doctor in the early stages of illness.
  • Personalized care for illnesses: Some wearables speak directly to patients with current conditions. Diabetics could soon have access to color-changing contact lenses that let them know when they have a change in their glucose levels. Adhesive wearable sensors have been developed that simplify remote patient monitoring.
  • Amplified surgical precision: Surgeons are using wearable technology to supercharge their performance in the operating room. Some are already using Google Glass during surgery so they can view CT scans in real-time as they perform surgery. Smart surgical gloves are also being developed that could enable surgeons to sense the electrical properties of tissues such as temperature and pressure for more precise surgeries.

What wearable technology communications opportunities do you see for health and wellness brands and the medical community? Tell us in the comments!

Photo Credit: Flickr, giuseppe.costantino