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Marketing in the Healthcare Industry: Overcoming Characteristic Features and Following Trends
Marketing is an indispensable part of the success of every company in every domain of human’s life, including healthcare. From the economic viewpoint advertising in the healthcare domain can bring a regular income since it is one of the most significant concerns, which has always been existing in the world. Not only treating of the diseases, but also their prevention makes part of the healthcare system. The last one requires marketing the most. With the help of promotion various treatment and prevention centres and producers of different kinds of medicaments can encourage more people to use their services. However, the role of advertising in the healthcare domain consists not only of providing the more significant number of clients to the owners of healthcare establishments, but it also helps people to become more informed about different illnesses, to grow aware of their consequences and the ways they can be avoided. Both traditional and innovative approaches to the process of the advertising of the products and services have a place in the world of the contemporary marketing in the healthcare.
The contemporary world is characterized by the abundance of various services and their high competitiveness. The healthcare domain is not an exception, and there are many medicines and services from many providers, each of whom needs to put efforts in order to assure potential clients that his or her company provides the best products. There exist many approaches to marketing in the healthcare, which include advertisements, public relations, cooperation with other organizations and patients care (Sciulli and Missien 21). The most important feature that can draw the attention of people is the quality of the provided products and services. According to the research by Sciulli and Missien, the quality of care, the competence of workers, the variety of services offered to clients and as a result the satisfaction of the customer make the image of the establishment and affect the future success of the company (Sciulli and Missien 21). The research has also demonstrated that among the criteria that influence the choice of the hospital made by the patient, on a par with the quality of services are also the location of the establishment, its reputation, and equipment. Thus, it is important for representatives of the healthcare domain to reach for a high quality of provided services since people tend not to endanger their health.
The image of the healthcare institution affects the marketing process and, at the same time, effective marketing can improve the image of the hospital. According to Amaria, there are a few strategies of marketing in the healthcare industry (103). The research indicates that there are strategies, which implement the competitiveness between a few hospitals and the evaluation of their services in order to determine the effectiveness compared with the other one, and strategies, which implement cooperation between a few establishments (Amaria 103). Besides the factor of competitiveness, healthcare establishments focus on their products in order to promote their services. Among other marketing approaches, Amaria determines the product strategy, which consists in the promotion of services, provided by the company through advertising, emailing, word-of-mouth or other ways of marketing available in the contemporary world(105). For the accomplishment of the necessary level of sales, the hospital needs to provide the clients with the products of the high quality and unique effects (Amaria 105). The other strategy implements the variety of services and requires the use of affordable services with no fixed location, which includes emergency or polyclinic services (Amaria 105). Finally, the research emphasizes the significance of the price promotion, highlighting that every establishment needs to monitor prices on the market and to provide services of the fair cost (Amaria 106). Ultimately, the quality of the service and the variety of the offered products on a par with the affordable price can encourage more people to come to the particular hospital.
Marketing in the healthcare industry does not only aim at gaining more money through the attraction of more clients, but it also helps to evaluate the effectiveness of the provided services and to improve them. Every marketing strategy requires the examination of needs and demands of clients. Furthermore, there exists a separate type of marketing, which plays a significant role in the healthcare domain. Social marketing uses the same tools as commercial marketing, but the goal of this kind of marketing is to encourage people to participate in healthcare programmes and to become more aware of existing health issues and the ways they can avoid them when commercial marketing is concentrated mostly on the increase of sales. According to Aras, this type of marketing is relatively new, and it has been developed based on different methods (419). The research emphasizes that social marketing has arisen from the combination of two ways of achieving social awareness, which include education and the coercion (Aras 420). The social marketing implements a complex of actions, including describing of the problem, creating a social marketing programme strategy and the plan of further steps, based on the identification of target audience and its needs, evaluation of this program, and its implementation (Aras 420). The research demonstrates that there are already visible benefits from the social marketing, which are revealed in effect on people with addictions, including alcohol and drug abuse (Aras 420). Thus, the social marketing helps to draw the attention of the society to particular health problems and to motivate people for healthy behavior.
However, not all the cases demonstrate noble intentions in what concerns marketing in the healthcare industry. The consumerism characterizes the contemporary world. People are addicted to shopping, which includes buying all the kinds of products. This tendency does not pass by the healthcare domain, even if it does not rich the scale of, for example, fashion industry. The research made by Resnick reveals important trends that characterize the marketing in the contemporary healthcare industry, which encourage the development of the consumerism in this domain and attract more people to healthcare services. Resnick states that the current access to vast bases of information allows marketers to control customer’s behavior (1). Among the existing trends, provided by the research there is a personalized approach, which includes the use of the big data aimed at every customer separately (Resnick 1). This approach helps the healthcare services provider to know the action of the target audience and interests of its members, and, as a result, to predict, which services can be the most interesting for them.
Another trend proposed by the research is connectivity. According to the article, the person in the modern world expects that all the services and products can be available at any moment (Resnick 2). This tendency allows marketers to use current technologies to draw the attention of future customers. Healthcare establishments can implement Internet-sources to enable the customer to obtain the desired service or product faster and in the most comfortable way. Inventions of the contemporary world let Internet users, for example, book appointments online or purchase medicaments without leaving the apartment (Resnick 2). Thus, the connectivity is becoming a key factor that encourages people to consume more, and, therefore, it helps the healthcare providers to attract more clients.
The Internet has given many new opportunities to people in the twenty-first century, and marketers use these possibilities in all the available ways. Nowadays, usual brochures are replaced by the e-mail letters and advertisements on various websites (Thomas 134). Online services allow healthcare companies to collect the information about the customer and then provide him or her with the appropriate information that responds to the needs of the customer (Thomas 134). Furthermore, researchers demonstrate that traditional billboard and television campaigns require big budgets and they can bring much fewer benefits than digital marketing tools (Greene “Healthcare marketers reshape ad strategies”). In this way, new technologies make the healthcare domain more available for clients, who can use the Internet for direct purchases. In addition, users can look for necessary information. Besides, inventions of the modern world allow the healthcare provider to understand the customer’s needs and to implement more effective approaches to marketing.
There are also other benefits Internet users can get in the healthcare domain. The existence of social networks and various blogs allow clients to know more about the product or service, which they want to purchase. The research by Munshi emphasizes the importance of these sources as tools that let companies spread the information about their services since online sources are more efficient and can cover larger groups of people (193). Thanks to blogs clients can read reviews and comments about the other people’s experience (Munshi 191). That is why it is vital for the company to gain a good reputation and then social media sources will promote their services even without the company’s intervention. If clients write a positive feedback, the chance that other potential customers will choose this company increase rapidly.
Besides the greater magnitude, access to the information, and convenience there exist such advantages of digital marketing as lower cost and improvement of services. According to Munshi, comparing to the traditional marketing, digital technology is less expensive (193). It is cheaper to promote the company on the social networks than to print advertisements or to advertise the service or product on the TV (Munshi 193). In addition, the implementation of the digital marketing can make customer service better and quicker since the client has the possibility to create a personal account and to obtain specific tips online (Munshi 193). Thus, with modern technologies, healthcare companies can spend less money on marketing with an even better result.
Taking into consideration the fact that marketing in healthcare domain is developing every day, it is obvious that the modern world prefers to use the benefits of the technological era rather than old approaches. New methods of marketing in healthcare use both personalization and the access to the vast amount of information to create new ways for advertising products. However, there are a few aspects that create obstacles for the implementation of the contemporary approaches to marketing, based on innovative technologies. According to Thomas, first of all, the application of the new technologies requires experts in this domain, and frequently healthcare companies do not possess the necessary specialists, which makes the use of this approach without spending much more money on hiring new employees impossible (Thomas 134).
Furthermore, frequently the use of innovations makes a new concern, which consists of the ethical issue. Taking into consideration the fact, that most of the new approaches are based on the collecting of the information about the patient, the question of confidentiality arises (Thomas 134). In addition, it often occurs that the collected information leads to the faulty assumption of what the customer needs and, thus, it makes the, marketing less efficient (Thomas 134). Ultimately, the ethical, financial issues and the question of the effectiveness of the use of innovations create barriers to the use of contemporary technologies in the promotion of the healthcare companies.
Among other disadvantages of digital marketing compared with traditional methods, there is the higher vulnerability of companies. With the use of the Internet, everybody has access to all sorts of information. If the hospital has its website, it is barely possible to filter those, who visits the site. Thus, besides potential customers, competitors can use the information of the website for the profit of the other company (Munshi 194). In this way, the use of digital marketing can cause informational leakage, and the other company can easily steal the data.
Regarding certain limitations of the contemporary marketing approaches, there exist various standard ways to promote products, which are still relevant nowadays. Thomas demonstrates the importance of the packaging as the tool for attracting customer’s attention. Although healthcare is the domain, where producers often neglect packaging, it has always been a necessary element of every product. Healthcare services are more or less standardized, and a unique packaging is a way to catch the attention of the client to the product of the particular company (Thomas 68). In addition, Greene highlights the use of TV, radio, and billboards for advertising even though many marketers believe that it is an old-fashioned method. According to the article, these sources allow the advertisement to reach big masses of potential clients (Greene “Healthcare marketers reshape ad strategies”). In this way, trends, which exist for already a long time and consists in implementing a catchy name or unexpected design and the use of mass media can often be an efficient way to distinguish a standardized product among many others.
In conclusion, the domain of the healthcare requires Marketing, which can ensure the success of hospitals, medical products, and services. Marketing helps companies to attract more clients. To accomplish this goal, the healthcare institutions recourse to various methods of promotion, including traditional and digital marketing. The old approach to marketing involves TV, printed sources, radio, billboards as tools for drawing customer’s attention. The digital marketing is the innovative method which is popular in the twenty-first century and frequently replaces the traditional approach since it is believed to be a cheaper and more efficient method to promote products. Besides, there exist social marketing, which has the goal to inform people about illnesses, ways to treat and prevent them. Although there exist many discussions around advantages and disadvantages of every trend of marketing, the contemporary society has access to all the possible types of promotion and every company can choose the one that fits the needs of the institution the best.
Amaria, Bobeica Ana. “Marketing Planning in Healthcare Industry.” Economy Series, no. 2, 2013.
Aras, Radha. “Social Marketing in Healthcare.” Australasian Medical Journal, vol. 4, no. 8, 2017, pp. 418-424.
Greene, Jan. “Healthcare Marketing Turns to Education, Patient Engagement.” Modern Healthcare, 2015, www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20151030/MAGAZINE/310309995.
Lisa M., and Tracey L. Missien. “Hospital Service-Line Positioning and Brand Image: Influences on Service Quality, Patient Satisfaction, and Desired Performance.” Innovative Marketing, vol. 11, no. 2, 2015.
Munshi, Anupama. “Digital Marketing: A New Buzz Word.” ZENITH International Journal of Business Economics & Management Research, vol. 2, no. 7, 2017.
Resnick, Lindsay R. “5 Trends Shaping the Future of Health Care Consumerism —And What They Mean to Marketers.” Strategic Health Care Marketing, 2015, https://www.lindsayresnick.com/Articles/Healthcare%20Consumerism%20KBMG_SHCM.pdf
Thomas, Richard K. Health Services Marketing. Springer, 2008.