Perhaps you are a hospital executive or a medical practitioner who wants to bring your healthcare services or practice to the next level, which is why you are thinking of hiring a marketing agency that will help you get there. Before you start meeting with advertising firms that you found on the web, you should first ensure that the team you are eyeing has the experience and expertise in healthcare marketing and not just the traditional marketing approach.
Keep in mind that the healthcare sector is unique. Its characteristics stand in contrast to the qualities of companies and organizations in other industries. As such, the marketing of healthcare goods and services is different from the promotion that goes on in other sectors. Just because an advertising firm has been instrumental in increasing the sales of commercial products and services, it does not mean that it will help your hospital or practice be successful as well.
Instead of tapping the assistance of traditional marketing firms, you are better off using healthcare advertising agencies to create and implement your marketing strategies. Note that the latter understands your unique situation and brings healthcare-specific marketing techniques that are not applicable in other sectors.
While some traditional marketers insist that conventional marketing philosophies and techniques can readily work in the healthcare field, the reality shows otherwise. To better understand and appreciate why healthcare marketing is different, read on.
Demand for Products and Services
Marketing for other industries usually involves techniques to generate demand for a particular product or service. Traditional marketers introduce initiatives and implement activities to attract, engage, and excite potential customers. For instance, a cosmetic company may feature supermodels and celebrities using their products to entice consumers.
The strategy above essentially works for all commercial products and services, but will it work for healthcare products and services? In some cases, probably. However, for the most part, it is practically impossible to use the same marketing techniques to generate demand for healthcare products and services because of their very nature.
How can marketers create demand for medical procedures that address strokes, heart attack, or cancer through campaigns and advertisements when only a small segment of the population is affected by these conditions? Unlike other industries, there is a disconnect between the service and anticipated need in the healthcare sector that cannot be tackled by traditional marketing methods. Healthcare marketing experts understand this challenge and face them accordingly.
The Complexity of Products and Services
Promoting bags, shoes, food, exercise programs, and similar products and services is relatively easy since people know about them. Marketing specialists only need to highlight the essential advantages that make their product or service much better than the rest. They can spread information, get consumers to try the item, and implement the usual promotional methods to create awareness.
On the contrary, the majority of healthcare services, particularly those that utilize technology, are difficult to explain to an ordinary person. Some of them are even hard to conceptualize, such as reproductive care, women’s care, and senior care. People may hear these terms often, but very few clearly understand what these concepts refer to specifically.
Because of the complexity of healthcare products and services, it is clear that traditional promotional methods will not work. What is needed is a healthcare marketing firm that can translate and package these vague concepts into understandable terms.
Traditional marketing campaigns target the end users or the people who will decide to purchase and use the products or services. All marketing efforts are geared toward luring this group of people. Marketers learn as much as they can about the target users, especially their needs, likes, and preferences, so they can identify the right strategy to reach and convince them.
While end users are clear-cut in traditional marketing, it is not always the case in healthcare marketing as the user of the product or service is usually different from the individual who decides to buy it. The decision maker could be the doctor, a family member, or a health provider, but it is the patient who will eventually use the healthcare product or service. The job of a healthcare marketer, therefore, is more than just implementing a promotional campaign. It’s more about determining where to place the marketing emphasis under these conditions.
Measurement of the Desired Outcome
Healthcare marketing also differs from traditional marketing in terms of measurement of the desired outcome. In most cases, the effectiveness of a traditional marketing approach is determined by its contribution to the company’s bottom line. If the business generated more profit after the campaign, the strategy is deemed successful.
While an increase in profit can be a good measure for assessing the usefulness of certain healthcare marketing efforts, that is not always the case. In general, identifying and measuring the desired outcome of healthcare promotions are much more complicated than simply looking at profits. For example, if you are running a teaching hospital, your measure of marketing success will most likely involve an increase in the volume of research grants or the number of subjects for clinical trials instead of an increase in the number of admitted patients.
Health care marketing is fairly new. Its development stems from the reality that conventional marketing approaches are lacking when applied to the health industry, given its unique characteristics and requirements. The discussion above clearly illustrates this point. That is why hospitals, healthcare providers, medical centers, and people like you in the health sector need such a specialized marketing method to reach your goals.
Additional Reference: https://dl.uswr.ac.ir/bitstream/Hannan/131908/1/Marketing%20health%20services.pdf