Like other industries, basic marketing principles, such as strategic planning and branding, apply to healthcare marketing. Nevertheless, healthcare marketing needs a different approach as compared to other industries.
Most people in the healthcare business have little or no business knowledge. They also like to see their establishment as a profession rather than a business. They are more inclined towards maintaining their reputation, almost forgetting that they need to attract clients, just like any other business.
Healthcare marketing has to be different from traditional marketing. Here are some of the ways in which healthcare marketing is different from marketing in other industries.
While advertising for healthcare, marketers have to be sensitive to connect with clients. In most cases, people looking for health-related services are anxious. They could be concerned about their health or the health of their loved ones. Connecting with someone in such a situation is quite different from connecting with someone excited about buying a new car.
To connect with someone looking for health services, health marketers need to have a warm touch. The patients need to feel that someone cares about their well-being. If the patient feels like you are taking advantage of their poor health to make money, they will no longer trust you. The marketer needs to show respect for the patient’s emotions while also expressing friendly authority. There are many ways to make a healthcare organization visible without coming out as insensitive.
2. The Concept of Exchange
In traditional financial marketing, the end goal is to benefit the company as well as its stakeholders financially. However, that is not the case in healthcare marketing. The end goal of healthcare organizations is to benefit patients. Therefore, marketing aims to sensitize the public on the importance of good health and excellent health care.
In conventional marketing, consumers get a product or service in exchange for their money. However, in health care, consumers get a service, such as laboratory tests, in exchange for their time and effort. Although money is involved, it is not the primary commodity during the exchange.
3. Limitation to Special Offers
It is common for new businesses to give introductory offers to their new clients. Although such offers exist in the healthcare industry, they are not as prevalent as in other businesses. That is because there are legal restrictions in health care, such as insurance guidelines. The guidelines limit the healthcare organizations’ ability to offer special pricing discounts to their clients.
However, some services are legally allowed. For example, it is legal to host a free educational seminar. Introductory offers are more common in services that are not covered by insurance, such as cosmetic surgeries. For instance, some cosmetic surgeons may offer free consultation sessions to their clients.
Besides legal restrictions, many healthcare organizations are against making introductory offers. Some practitioners believe that it is unprofessional, and suggests they are offering low-quality services.
The Need to Compel Clients
Most patients will assume that all healthcare organizations are equal, as long as they are licensed. Therefore, it is up to an organization to stand out from the rest and compel clients to trust them with their health. Therefore, marketing in healthcare is inevitable. Healthcare organizations have to ensure that they remain within the legal constraints and abide by all marketing ethics.